REMOVAL OF MERCURY and other heavy metals--OVERVIEW
Since most people with mercury toxicity are toxic because of their amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury, and since a basic principle of detoxing is to first stop your exposure to the source of the toxicity, it makes sense to get your fillings removed as the first step in “heavy metal removal.” So I want to say something first about getting fillings removed, before going into the details
of the various protocols for removal of mercury and other toxic metals that are already in your body tissues.
Everyone who is aware of the mercury issue agrees that getting mercury/amalgam fillings removed is a very good idea.
Many, possibly most, chelation protocols advise getting fillings removed BEFORE doing any chelation. In 1998 when I had chelation done, and had my fillings removed, I was told it doesn't matter when you get the fillings removed,
i.e. I could start the chelation and have the fillings removed during the course of the chelation therapy, which is what I did.
Others caution that no chelation should be done until after fillings are removed. Some may be basing this on the idea that you should remove the source before trying to detox,
Others think there is a real danger in doing chelation while you still have fillings.
I know I have read that if any of your fillings extend below the gumline, chelation is contra-indicated until after that filling is removed.
A filling extending below the gum line weould be in direct contact with the bloodstream where the chelating agent is circulating.
Some people have dramatic improvement of their symptoms simply from having their fillings removed. It might still be a good idea for them to do some chelation, knowing that there is probably mercury hiding out in their body, as a result of having had the fillings.
Others have a dramatic worsening of symptoms after removing fillings, if they had them removed by a regular dentist, vs a mercury-free dentist.
Before I get into the discussion of the various protocols, a WORD OF CAUTION about how you get your amalgam fillings removed, if you decide to do that.
PROPER REMOVAL OF AMALGAM (MERCURY) FILLINGS--first phase of mercury removal
Many people who decide to get their mercury fillings removed, don't understand the need for doing it VERY CAREFULLY , by a mercury-free dentist. Many who have just gone to their regular dentist who put the fillings in in the first place , to have them removed,
have gotten really really sick because of being exposed to all that mercury vapor while their old fillings were being drilled out.
When I had my fillings removed, finally , once and for all, and replaced with non-metal fillings, I went to a mercury-free dentist who
-----gave me a separate air supply to breathe so I wouldn't breathe in any mercury vapor -----used a dental dam to make sure I wouldn't swallow any small particles of mercury (dental dams are commonly used by regular dentists, too, of course)
-----removed all 8 fillings on the same day (see note below for why)
----replaced them not just with non-mercury fillings, but with non-metal fillings (see note below for why)
----scheduled the filling removal for the same day as a chelation treatment, in case I got exposed to any mercury during the filling removal.
The reason for non-metal fillings, and for removing all fillings at the same time, has to do with some stuff I don't fully understand,
about the galvanic (electrical current) reactions between different teeth with metal in them.
If the teeth need to be removed on different occasions, there are dentists who will test these galvanic reactions to determine the correct order of removal to not further exacerbate your symptoms.
These galvanic reactions happen between ANY metal fillings, not just mercury, which is the reason non-metal fillings are recommended.
I believe there is more info about this in the book It's all in your Head by Dr. Hal Huggins, the dentist who started the whole process of waking people up to the dangers of mercury fillings.
CHELATION OF MERCURY FROM YOUR BODY TISSUES--second phase of removal
The basic concept of chelation is quite simple---as described on the home page,
it involves using agents that have the ability to bond with the mercury and hold onto it long enough to escort it out of the body.
(Chelation can also be done with the other heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium
There is also a form of chelation for cardio-vascular patients that helps remove calcium in the plaque buildups that are blocking arteries.
But I am focusing here on the chelation of mercury, specifically, so unless I specify otherwise,
when I say “chelation” I am referring to chelation of mercury with the added benefit of chelating other heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium..)
THE PROVOCATIVE CHALLENGE TEST
Taking an ordinary blood or urine sample will just show currently circulating levels of mercury and the other toxic metals, which will not reflect the body burden since most of the previously-acquired mercury will be hiding out in the tissues somewhere.
Therefore, practitioners use a “provocative challenge test”----administering a chelating agent, (orally or IV)
and THEN taking a urine sample, which will more accurately reflect the total body burden, because the chelating agent will be pulling mercury out of the tissues.
The levels shown in the lab reports from such tests can be quite high (see my lab reports)--
for example, high enough that if a worker in an industry with exposure to mercury had such high levels, s/he would be sent home until the levels dropped again.
The significance of such high levels in an “unchallenged” test (without the use of a chelating agent)
is different from their significance in a provocative challenge test.
You can have high enough levels in a challenge test, that would indicate you should be almost dead if they were freely circulating levels, without being almost dead.
This is the good news. The bad news is that if you have enough mercury hiding in your tissues, to have such a high level showing on a challenge test, that is a LOT of mercury that is doing insidious damage at the biochemical and cellular level on a daily basis,
and you might want to get rid of as much of it as you can.
OPTIONS: PHARMACEUTICAL VS NATURAL, ORAL VS INTRAVENOUS/INTRAMUSCULAR
There are pharmaceutical chelating agents, and natural ones.
The pharmaceutical chelators can be administered orally (by mouth)
or by intravenous (IV) or intra-muscular (IM) injection.
The natural chelators are mostly taken orally.
The commonly used pharmaceutical chelators, for mercury, are DMSA and DMPS, (see glossary if you want to know what these letters stand for)
both of which also chelate lead, arsenic, cadmium, and other metals.
Commonly used substances in natural chelation protocols include cilantro, chlorella, alpha lipoic acid, NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
Some protocols give you the option of combining natural and pharmaceutical chelators.
VARIOUS REASONS FOR NATURAL VS PHARMACEUTICAL, ORAL VS INTRAVENOUS
The intravenous route with pharmaceuticals is generally agreed to be the most aggressive,
and is thought by many (especially by those who advocate it) to be more effective.
It is in any case faster. It is also more expensive.
And there are some who consider them to be potentially quite dangerous.(more details on my "controversy" page)
I chose it both times (1998 and 2011) because my symptoms were bad enough that I wanted it ALL out NOW! I don't regret having made that choice. And I am not going to say that it is therefore the best choice for everyone.
I also liked the idea of being able to monitor progress with testing, rather than going blindly and assuming/hoping progress was being made.
I was told in 1998 that the intravenous DMPS challenge test was the only way to measure body burden with any kind of accuracy. Today I am not quite so sure about the accuracy of that claim---because I have read that DMPS takes mercury primarily (75%) out of the kidneys---
leading me to wonder if it is just accurately measuring levels in my kidneys rather than my total body burden.
On the other hand, I have also read that the final repository place of the bulk of mercury vapor (which is the form of mercury you get from having fillings)
IS in fact the kidneys---in which case the claim that the DMPS challenge would accurately reflect body burden, might actually be fairly accurate.
You CAN do a challenge test with the oral DMSA. It would be a urine test with a 6-hour or a 24-hour collection,
and in fact you can do this on your own----DMSAchelation.com offers a toxic metals test kit, so you can do a pre- and post-chelation test (before and after)
without a doctor.
(They are a team of healthcare practitioners, so they sign the test requisition form--they use Doctor's Data which is the lab everyone else seems to use)
It costs $130, which is because it is for two tests, before and after; they supply the DMSA you will need to do the challenge test, with the kits.
You can also do a challenge test with the natural chelators, but since they are primarily eliminated through the bowel, it would have to be a fecal metals test.
This is what is recommended by Dr. Tom McGuire's natural chelation protocol.
ISSUE OF HOW TO CHOOSE??
So, back to the issue of how to choose.
As I said on the home page, I am not a healthcare provider and I am not giving medical advice. But I will talk a bit about the choices I have made and am making, in my own particular circumstances.
Since I don't like needles, and also since I tend to be mostly close to the “broke” end of the financial spectrum,
if I didn't have severe symptoms, I would not have opted for the intravenous route.
(Of course, if I hadn't had the severe symptoms, I probably wouldn't have done anything at all because I wouldn't have found out about all this!)
I DID have severe symptoms, so I did the intravenous route, and I am now going with oral for the rest of my chelation.
My symptoms have reduced enough that I am no longer in the “want it all NOW” mode,
In general I tend to prefer natural to pharmaceutical .
My plan is to do a month or two of oral DMSA with a challenge test at the beginning and the end, mainly because I still have high lead levels--
and then I will go with some combination of the natural chelators, to try to get the remaining mercury out of the tissues that weren't accessible to the pharmaceuticals.
I still haven't decided what combination of the natural chelators because I keep finding new information!
In the interests of keeping this page to a reasonable length, I am now giving you a "fork in the road" to choose between two separate pages, one on the pharmaceutical chelators, (intravenous and oral)
and one on the natural chelators, You can, of course, visit both.
After that, the two forks of the road will once again merge, pointing you toward a page that describes three specific natural protocols , that will be of interest not just to anyone who chooses to go the natural route,
but also for people doing the pharmaceutical route, as possible avenues of follow-up after using the pharmaceuticals
because DMPS does NOT cross the BBB (blood brain barrier), and the general consensus is that DMSA doesn't either---
so to get it out of your brain, you are going to need something other than the pharmaceuticals!
Another page, entitled “Controversy about the various chelation protocols”, will go into the issues that are controversial, not so much between mainstream and alternative viewpoints, as within the chelating community itself.
I strongly advise reading the “controversy” page before deciding on a protocol for yourself.
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