The natural solution for heavy metal detox
In December 2008, actor Jeremy Piven left the cast of a Broadway show because he was suffering extreme fatigue due to high levels of mercury. His doctor connected the problem to his frequent consumption of sushi (raw fish). Swordfish, sea bass, and certain types of tuna have been found to be high in methylmercury.
Mercury – from dental fillings, vaccines, from breathing air from coal burning power plants (even as far away as China), adhesives, air conditioner filters, fabric softeners, felt, floor waxes-polishes, fungicides, mercurochrome, paints, photoengraving, psoriatic ointments, skin lightening cream, tanning leather, tattooing, wood preservatives, and from eating contaminated fish.
Lead – from contaminated drinking water; metal candle wicks; from living near an incinerator or toxic dump; breathing leaded gasoline; hair dyes, insecticides, lead crystal dishes and glassware, lead water pipes, liver, mascara, milk, evaporated milk, porcelain glazed sinks and bathtubs, toothpaste, toys, vinyl mini-blinds and lead oxide fumes from the demolition of industrial buildings.
Think you are without metals? Think again.
In a landmark study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers, with a total of 167 chemicals found in the group. Like most of us, the people tested do not work with chemicals on the job and do not live near an industrial facility.
Scientists refer to this contamination as a person’s body burden. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. Heavy metal contamination caused lowered IQ, developmental delays, behavioral disorders and cancer at doses found in the environment.1
Several different chelating agents are used to pull heavy metals out of the body. EDTA, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, is one. EDTA features four carboxylic acid and two amine groups that can all bind to metals. It attracts the metals, attaches to them, and pulls them out of the body. EDTA is never broken down in the body; it goes in and comes out as EDTA. DMPS, dimercapto propane sulfonate, is used preferentially for elevated body burden of mercury, since it binds more tightly to mercury than EDTA. On the other hand, EDTA binds lead better than DMPS. DMSA, dimercapto succinic acid, is an oral sulfur-containing chelating agent which also has a high binding coefficient for mercury. It is approved by the FDA for removing lead and mercury from the brains of children with lead or mercury poisoning; it is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. Chelating agents have a half-life of several hours. Their effectiveness comes from consecutive administration of consistent dosages, not from the magnitude of the dose.
Removal of heavy metals is preferably done with intravenous (IV) therapy. The chelating agent can also be done orally – take a pill. The oral form is appropriate for children, for persons with poor vein structure, persons who live far away, and for those who have very low levels of metals.
The IV method is more effective because it gives higher levels of the chelating agent. EDTA, for example, is poorly absorbed by the GI tract. The IV actually delivers EDTA to the cells.
In an ideal world, we do both IV and oral because the oral provides a continuous low level of chelating agents in the intestinal tract and in the blood, to continue to pull out heavy metals in between the IV treatments. The IV once a week gives you the big push.
People who are significantly ill may be advised to alternate between nutritional treatments one day a week and chelation on a different day each week so they do not lose any nutrients.
Each chelation IV takes 30-45 minutes. Heavy metal removal is a slow process; plan on a series of sessions.
We monitor blood work every month to make sure kidney and liver functions are stable and hopefully improving. We test urine weekly to make sure there is no protein, another measure of kidney health. Every 2-3 months, we do another provocation test to measure excretion of heavy metals into the stool and urine. Because science is not able to measure how much is stored in the body, it is important to measure how much is coming out of the body. Blood can be measured of course, but for the most part heavy metals are not to be found in the bloodstream, except in the case of acute heavy metal poisoning. Over a relatively short period of time, the body makes every effort to clear the metals from the blood, with lead going preferentially to bone, arsenic and cadmium to soft tissues, aluminum and mercury to fatty tissues and brain.
Often the build up of heavy metals has disrupted the neural pathways in the brain and depleted the neurotransmitters. Disorganization of thoughts, problems with planning and short-term memory disturbances can continue to be an issue.