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  Providing resources and ideas for therapies and medical developments for Parkinson's disease:

 

Mercury and Parkinson's Disease:

Mercury is toxic to the human body and specifically to motor neurons which when inflamed, disabled or killed off by mercury, is a possible causative factor for Parkinson's disease. Mercury and many other heavy metals (lead, chromium, ...) are bio-accumulative, meaning that they make their way into the body but the body can not easily dispose of it, thus accumulating over time. The primary human target areas susceptible to mercury are the brain and nervous system, the kidneys, and the cardiovascular system. Mercury sources, measurement and detoxification by chelation therapy are all discussed.

Mercury can enter the body in three forms:
  • Elemental mercury (Hg): gas or liquid state (ethyl-mercury). Gaseous state is particularly dangerous as about 80% of inhaled vapors are absorbed by the lung tissues. Poorly absorbed through skin and GI tract but it is highly fat soluble allowing it to pass through cell membranes and the blood-brain-barrier. Once embedded in the brain or organs (binds to structural proteins), it can disrupt normal function. Used in thermometers, thermostats, latex paint (prior to 1991) and dental fillings.
  • Organic mercury (MeHg or CH₃HgX): produced when elemental mercury is methylated by intestinal and oral bacteria. Combines with carbon to form organic molecules: methyl-mercury, dimethylmercury, phenyl mercury. Methyl-mercury is a very dangerous form of mercury as it is easily absorbed by the GI tract. MeHg can bind to the sulfur-Hydrogen (SH) group of cysteine, cross the blood-brain barrier to disrupt glial cells and neurons in the brain. Primarily excreted in feces but has a very low excretion rate and thus can have significant life long accumulation. Found in fish, industrial chemicals, thimerosol.
  • Inorganic mercury (Hg(II), HgCl₂, HgO, ...): produced when elemental mercury oxidizes and forms bonds with elements other than carbon. Also known as "reactive gaseous mercury", "divalent mercury" or "alkyl-mercury". Not fat soluble so it can not pass into cells or the brain but can form strong bonds with enzymes and tissue making it difficult to remove once attached. Found in cosmetic skin whiteners, fungicides (icluding wood preservatives), pesticides and antiseptics. Can be formed by metabolizing methyl-mercury. Tends to concentrate in the kidneys.

The most common toxic form being Methyl-mercury which is readily absorbed into the body through the gastrointestinal tract and has entered the aquatic food chain thanks to the output from coal burning plants making its way into the oceans. Mercury has been shown to be a neurotoxin and to cause a large influx of calcium ions into the neuron cell thus inhibiting dopaminergic neurotransmission and causes the physiological characteristics of Parkinson's disease (tremors, insomnia, muscle atrophy, muscle twitching, memory loss and degraded cognitive function) and even to neuron cell death.

Sources of mercury include:
  • dental amalgam silver-mercury fillings: inhaled mercury vapor
  • fish, especially carnivorous fish at the top end of the food chain or those with long life spans: shark, sword fish, halibut, orange roughy, king mackerel, tuna, marlin, bluefish, grouper
  • thimerosol: a vaccine preservative, an anti-fungal agent, antibacterial preservative for antiseptic ointments, creams, jellies, nasal sprays, eye drops, contact lens solutions
  • tattoo ink
  • broken CFC light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, neon signs, mercury vapor lamps
  • broken mercury thermometers, barometers, blood pressure meters
  • mining: used to remove gold
  • electrical switches

References:

Negative Facts About Mercury:

The link between mercury and ill health including Parkinson's traits is clear and established.

Mercury Toxicity Symptoms:

Note the commonality with Parkinson's symptoms. It's a Venn diagram of concentric circles.
  • fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, nervousness, emotional instability, shyness
  • poor memory and cognitive function, dementia
  • peripheral numbness or tingling, decreased sense of touch
  • slurred speech
  • hypersensitivity and allergies
  • chronic yeast or fungal overgrowth
  • physical tremors, muscle twitching
  • muscle weakness, muscle atrophy
  • reduced motor coordination, difficulty walking, reduced visual-spatial awareness
  • reduced vision and hearing function
  • cardiovascular inflammation, atherosclerosis, heart disease
  • cellular dysfunction: interference with DNA transcription and protein synthesis, destruction of endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes, alters mitochondrial function

Mercury and Neuron Toxicity:

How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Damage - University of Calgary

Amalgam Dental Fillings:

Amalgam dental fillings are composed of about 55% elemental mercury, 44% silver and 1% of trace metals like zinc, copper and tin, which together bond and form a solid metal material used to repair dental cavities. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still views the use of mercury amalgam fillings as safe and the American Dental Association (ADA) still regard mercury amalgam fillings as safe but research has shown otherwise. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared in 1988 that scrap dental amalgam material was a hazardous waste and OSHA has mandates on how to handle amalgam fillings. The act of chewing and brushing release Mercury. Acids found in foods and drinks (especially if they are hot) can cause the release of Mercury from the amalgam. It's not surprising that in 2008, Norway, Sweden and Denmark banned the use of mercury in dental fillings.

Typically the silver-mercury dental materials are shipped to dentists with the quantities in pre-measured containers ("precapsulated") so the quantity is "fool-proof" but the material quality and the mixing of the materials to form the amalgam is not and if not mixed completely with all mercury reacted with the silver, the amalgam will have the propensity to release the unbound mercury. This phenomena is more likely to occur at the greatest levels in the weeks following a restoration. Note that some dentists (typically not USA) may employ reusable capsules and may error on the ratio of the mix (a process referred to as trituration). This practice is old, subjected to exposure and oxidation, generally more error prone and time consuming and should be avoided. The mixing machines ("amalgamators") should oscillate at an optimum frequency, amplitude and duration for a given capsule length and size and at the optimum temperature, in order to form the best dental amalgam. Over-mixing creates an amalgam which is hard to form and porous and prone to fracture while under-mixing may create an amalgam which is too soft with too much free mercury. Dentists who manually mix amalgam will be prone to have an even greater risk of error.

In order to mitigate any problems with the release of mercury from amalgam dental filings, the fillings can be removed and replaced with composite or ceramic material. The tooth can also be given a crown or a root canal performed to replace the tooth with a prosthetic. Amalgam replacement must be done wisely as it has the potential to generate mercury vapor and fine particles which can be ingested, resulting is an even higher dose of Mercury poisoning. Amalgam removal should not be performed on those are or about to be pregnant. It is essential to have a mercury safe dentist who follows specific safety protocols when removing the fillings.

Mercury: The poison in your teeth: Amalgam stimulated with a tooth brush (Dr. Tom McGuire DDS)

Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique:

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has developed the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) protocol recommendations. The IAOMT website also has a searchable worldwide dentist database or check out Dr. McGuire's database for a dentist with skills to meet the IAOMT protocol for removing amalgam fillings.

Safe protocols for amalgam removal include:
  • the use of a dam around the teeth being worked on to trap debris from being ingested by the patient
  • the irrigation with cold water during removal to minimize the generation of mercury vapor
  • the use of amalgam capture separators to capture material so that it is not released into the public waste system or atmosphere
  • the use of an evacuation system to remove mercury dust and vapors from the patient's mouth
  • the use of an air supply so the patient does not breathe in mercury vapors
  • the physically coarse mechanical removal of chunks of amalgam rather than just the use of a fine drill which is more prone to generate fine particles of mercury, mercury dust and mercury vapor
  • the use of ambient high volume air filtration equipment to trap mercury dust and vapors
  • provide the patient a charcoal slurry binder (or equivalent) to rinse and swallow before and after the procedure
  • provide the patient and dental workers protective gowns
  • provide the dental workers protective face shields, head coverings, non-latex nitrile gloves and mask
  • dentist should use equipment optimized to reduce aerosols, minimize and capture vapors and particles. For example the Zyris "Isolite" dentist drill minimizes aerosol and spatter, evacuates vapors and particles and isolates the work area.

IAOMT Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) protocol. Ignore the comment about taking chlorella (1 min and 3:53 min into the video) as it is not a good chelator (pronounced KEY-lay-tor) and will move rather than remove mercury.

Amalgam fillings can be replaced with porcelain inlays or onlays bonded to the tooth. Be sure to use one of the newer bonding agents which do not contain Bisphenol A (BPA) which is a bio-accumulative, xenoestrogen endocrine disrupting chemical which has estrogen hormone like properties. This is also true in choosing composite filling materials. Choose materials which are BPA-free. Also be sure to reduce your BPA exposure by choosing glass over canned food products and don't microwave polycarbonate plastic (marked with a number 7 recycling code) food containers.
Dental materials testing panel: Clifford Consulting and Research (get tested for BPA and other dental materials)

The goal of removing mercury amalgam dental fillings is to remove a source of mercury which will constantly release low doses into your body. Another reason is that it is a prerequisite for a mercury detoxification process known as chelation therapy which is used to remove mercury from one's brain and body tissue. It is a requirement to remove amalgam fillings prior to chelation as chelation will pull mercury from amalgam fillings creating a toxic event.

According to the ACC mercury detox protocol, any remaining bit of amalgam remaining in the tooth near the tooth root might induce the need for a root canal as chelation agents will be drawn up through the root of the tooth in an attempt to bind with the mercury. A grey stain remaining on the inside of a filling is more likely to be silver oxide and not mercury. A visible white spot revealed on an x-ray is problematic and an indication that a speck of mercury amalgam is remaining in the tooth.

Binders such as activated charcoal can be taken 20 to 30 minutes before the amalgam removal procedure starts for the purpose of attaching to any mercury particles that may be ingested. For more on binders, see below.

Dental Patient: amalgam removal

Removing dental mercury amalgam using the SMART protocol (dental dam, respiration and evacuation equipment, protective garments, etc) Dr McBride DDS

For more details and photos see the IAOMT SMART protocol for mercury amalgam removal.

Dental organizations dedicated to mercury free dentistry and safe amalgam removal:

Mercury Removal/Chelation from Human Tissue and Organs:

Mercury accumulates in body tissue and organs and generally can not be removed mechanically. Be very skeptical of those offering a vitamin cleanse to remove mercury as there is no evidence that it will be effective. The act of using a mercury binding molecule to attach itself and engulf mercury atoms in a way that it is viewed by the body as organic waste that can be expelled by the body's regular organs, the liver (including bile and GI tract) and kidneys, is known as a chelation therapy. The goal of the chelator is to bind to the toxic metal to make it non-toxic, water soluble and easily excretable by the body. Mercury is known to to have a very high affinity to sulfhydryl (SH) groups. This affinity is exploited to attach to mercury and remove it.

The chelating agents possess ligand (molecule that binds to a central metal atom by donation of one or more of its' electron pairs) that form bonds with the metal to be removed. The chelating agent forms a stable complex with the toxic metal to shield human tissue from the metal ion, thereby reducing the local toxicity. The resulting molecule can then be mobilized and excreted in urine and feces.

Chelation Agents:

Chelation AgentFDA ApprovedDescriptionToxicity (LD50) mmol/kg (lower=more toxic)
DMSAyes Dimercapto Succinic Acid (DMSA) C4H6O4S2 is considered safer and less toxic than DMPS. Goes by the trade name "Chemet" but also called "Succimer". DMSA does not enters the cells but relies on glutathione or other mercury mobilizer to push toxins out where DMSA is waiting to bind to them. DMSA is typically given for 3 days followed by 11 "off" days. The body needs the "off" days to remake glutathione. The dosage is based on body weight. Chelates lead and mercury (favors organic ethyl-mercury). DMSA targets extracellular (outside the cell) mercury, the mercury found outside the cell walls in body tissue. DMSA does not have the ability to pass through cell membranes and must team up with glutathione or ALA to grab intracellular (inside the cell) mercury. Digestible and does not result in a significant loss of essential metals like zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium. Concurrent use with EDTA is not recommended. Excretion pathway: kidneys (thus drink a lot of water to flush the resulting DMSA-Mercury compound). Half life: 4 hrs. 13.58
DMPSno 2,3-Dimercapto-1-Propane Sulfonic Acid (DMPS) is used when all other detoxification methods have been exhausted. Goes by the trade name "Dimaval". Fast acting. May be over effective on first use. Not to be used when dental amalgam fillings are still resident as saliva delivery of the chelating agent will bind to the mercury and can result in acute mercury poisoning. DMPS favors inorganic mercury. DMPS targets "extracellular" mercury, the mercury found outside the cell walls in body tissue. Avoid DMPS "challenge tests" as it creates a toxic mercury load. DMPS is legal in Germany but not FDA approved for the USA. Also a strong chelator of copper. Excretion pathway: kidneys (thus drink a lot of water to flush the resulting DMPS-Mercury compound). Half life: 8 hrs 5.22
EDTAyesEthylene Diamine Tetra-Acetic acid (EDTA) amino acid was used in the National Institute of Health (NIH) TACT trial. Considered safe by the FDA although it can be toxic to the kidneys. Kidney function should be monitored. Has the added benefit of clearing plaques in blood vessels. Does not form as strong a bond with mercry as a di-thiol chelator. EDTA was first used in the 1950's as a treatment for heavy metal (lead, mercury, copper, iron, calcium, chromium, cobalt, cadmium, magnesium, vanadium, zinc, ...) poisoning. Best used for detoxification treatment of cadmium and lead. Avoid "challenge tests" as it creates a toxic load. According to Dr. Andy Cutler PhD, it can form a dangerous compound when it binds with mercury (hgEDTA) which is even more difficult to remove.

There are two versions, NaCaEDTA (calcium EDTA) and NaEDTA (disodium EDTA) of which NaEDTA easily binds with calcium and can cause hypocalcemia induced cardiac arrest and thus should not be used on children. Calcium EDTA, which is approved to treat lead toxicity can be given as a short IV push, but disodium EDTA, which may be used as a potential treatment for vascular disease, must always be given by a slow intravenous drip, at a rate no more than 1 gram per hour, otherwise, the calcium blood level drops dangerously fast. Typically administered intravenously and not intramuscular. Available as liposomal oral EDTA:

Also available as a suppository: EDTA IV Half life: 30 - 42 minutes
10
ALAno Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) C8H14O2S2 is the only one of the common chelator agents which crosses the blood-brain-barrier and is used after chelation with other agents or in combination with other chelation agents. ALA targets "intracellular" mercury, the mercury found inside the cell walls on both sides of the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). Must wait three months after amalgam removal before starting chelation with ALA. Excretion pathway: liver. Half life: 3 hrs
Also see:
Glutathione Glutathione (GSH) is available as a neuro-protective supplement which is hard for the body to absorb and thus is more effective if given intravenously but is still ineffective due to a short half life of less than 20 minutes (ref). It has been found to be far more effective to let the body produce GSH by consumption of its precursors: N-AcetylCysteine (NAC) Glycine and Glutamate. Glutathione is also supported by a diet of sulfur-rich foods: garlic, ginger, onions, eggs, and broccoli sprouts. Glutathione is typically generated by cells in the body as a natural detoxifying agent. Mercury has an adverse effect on Red Blood Cell (RBC) glutathione making it more difficult for a mercury toxic body to excrete mercury. Glutathione is often not considered a true chelation agent because it does not contain two or more binding groups (dithiol groups), it has one. ACC protocol considers Glutathione IV a dangerous option as it will redistribute mercury causing more damage rather than remove the mercury from the body.

Supplementing the precursors to glutathione, allowing the body to generate glutathione is preferred. Glutathione has the ability to work intracellularly (inside the cell membrane) and can pass mercury to extracellular (outside the cell) chelators such as DMSA and DMPS. Typically two glutathione molecules are required to bind and chelate a single mercury atom. Glutathione excretion pathway: liver.
Also see:

Dimercaprol yes Dimercaprol (also called British Anti-Lewisite or BAL) is used to tread lead, mercury, bismuth, silver, nickel and arsenic poisoning. High doses can cause coma and seizures. Not to be used to chelate iron or cadmium because the resulting complex is toxic. 1.1
DPA yes Penicillamine (DPA) sometimes used to treat bismuth, copper, lead, mercury, and nickel toxicity. Primary adverse effect is an allergic reaction in people who are also allergic to penicillin. Tends to redistribute mercury with adverse reactions.
Also see: The enigma of parkinsonism in chronic borderline mercury intoxication, resolved by challenge with penicillamine
The d-penicillamine (dimethyl cysteine or (2S)-2-amino-3-methyl-3-sulfanylbutanoic acid) variant, also known as Cuprimine, is an oral chelator which is less toxic and preferred over the l-penicillamine variant.
DFO yes Deferoxamine (DFO) mesylate is a chelator used to treat iron and aluminum (AL) toxicity. Primarily used for AL-related diseases in renal patients.
MiADMSA no Monoisoamyl DMSA was synthesized by generating an ester of DMSA which is more lipophilic (better able to disolve in fats) when compared to DMSA making it more capable of mobilizing intracellularly bound toxic metals. Found to be more effective at chelation of arsenic and lead without redistribution when combined with DMSA.
Also see:
Emeramide (NBMI, Irminix, OSR, BDTH2) in trials NCT02486289

N1,N3-bis-(2-mercaptoethyl) isophthalamide (NBMI) (chemical name) also known as Irminix (drug name), Emeramide (INN generic drug name) or OSR (oxidative stress relief when marketed as a dietary supplement) is a new chelator and antioxidant which is hydrophobic and can pass through the blood-brain-barrier and chelate mercury from cell organelles like mitochondria. Emeramide/NBMI was developed by the biotech firm EmeraMed, passed FDA phase 1 and 2a human trials and was available for "compassionate use" (no longer). NBMI is a di-thiol chelator which forms a strong bond with mercury (will not drop and mobilize mercury - known as the kinetic property of the chelator) and is excreted through the bowel in the stool.

Once NBMI binds to mercury, the mercury becomes non-toxic and is excreted through the cytochrome P-450 system pathway (a heterogeneous group of enzymes that catalyzes various oxidative reactions in the liver, intestine, kidney, lung, and central nervous system). Excretion is a slow process taking about 30 days to complete. NBMI can also bind to a lesser extent with Arsenic, Lead and Cadmium and not with essential minerals like Calcium, Magnesium or Zinc. The manufacturer claims that Emeramide/NBMI is non-toxic and does not deplete essential minerals. It also discriminates bound metals so that it does not deplete essential iron and copper bound to proteins but will chelate free iron (Fe2+) and free copper (Cu2+). Note that free iron along with hydroxyl (OH) and other free radical species, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.

NBMI raises glutathione (GSH) levels by reducing the body's consumption of glutathione used to address toxic heavy metals (ref). NBMI is also a powerful antioxidant with an ORAC value of 192,400 (by comparison Acai fruit has an ORAC value of 18,500). Note: people with suspected yeast or Candida problems, or anyone who is on antifungal medications, should not take Emeramide/NBMI until their yeast conditions were under control. EmeraMed is developing Emeramide with PCI Pharma Services to provide a quality pharmaceutical grade and purity, supply. NBMI is also available as an industrial chemical which is NOT suitable for human consumption. Shelf life: 5+ yrs. Excretion pathway: liver. Half life: 18 - 22 hrs

Videos:

Also see: Efficacy of N,N‘bis-(2-mercaptoethyl) isophthalamide (NBMI) on mercury intoxication: a randomized controlled trial (2018)

Available from Fandachem: 351994-94-0 (off brand China source) - two versions of NBMI are sold, the preferred version is synthesized with a Class 3 solvent Ethyl Alcohol (contact Ren Dylan). Not the same as that sourced from EmeraMed/PCI.

Also see: Chelation in Metal Intoxication (2010) covers chelation agents, combinations of agents, pros, cons, limitations, etc

Chelation therapy must be avoided prior, during and immediately after dental mercury amalgam replacement. Do not consider chelation prior to dental amalgam removal as the chelation agent may be delivered by one's saliva to the mouth and dissolve the mercury in the amalgam resulting in acute mercury poisoning. Also note that dental amalgam replacement can temporarily elevate mercury in the body. Thus it is considered unwise to undergo chelation for four days to a week after amalgam replacement when using DMSA or DMPS or for three months after amalgam replacement when using ALA. One should find an IAOMT SMART certified dentist who has the safety gear to keep both the patient and dentist safe from mercury vapors generated during the amalgam removal process.

All effective chelation protocols will call for the replacement of beneficial vitamins and minerals, which are also removed by the chelation agents.

The removal of mercury amalgam dental fillings with modern methods is a no-brainer as they can be safely removed without exposing the patient to harm. Chelation on the other hand does not have a clear and defined exit path for the mercury being removed and thus can impose harm on a patient. The mercury being removed from the body by chelation is often buried deep within tissues spread out among organs, fat and brain matter and the journey it takes to exit the body often includes being relocated after being dropped by the chelator compound and traveling through healthy tissue causing new mercury toxicity damage. Chelation requires balancing the type and dosage of the chelator so that the removal rate is tolerable, the toxicity of "droped" mercury is not inflammatory or hazardous, the burden on the kidney or liver excretion path is not doing organ damage and the accidental chelation of essential nutritional minerals is not detrimental. Chelation can present many hazards and requires recovery breaks for the body to heal. If chelation is causing pain, severe anxieties or depression, brain fog, head aches or discomfort, stop chelating as the dosage is too high! Chelation does not benefit the patient who is tough or is content with suffering as it may be doing damage. Go slow with light doses. If the patient body burden of mercury is high, start light and be safe. The discussion of chelation therapies below is not an endorsement of chelation, any specific chelation agent or of any one chelation protocol. When one begins chelation therapy, they are starting at the highest level of mercury burden in the body and thus should start with the lowest dosage of chelator and stay at a low dosage for many rounds. Dangers of chelation are discussed in detail below.

Mercury

Chemistry of Dithiol Chelators:

The dithiol (two thiol organosulfur compounds of S-H, Sulfer-Hydrogen) group of chelators (DMSA, DMPS, ALA, etc) work as chelation agents because they have two sulfur atoms available to bind with mercury (and drop a bond eg to Hydrogen), to form two bonds with the mercury atom. Once the bonds with the mercury atom have been made, the mercury should no longer cause harm to the body and will expose an organic shell which the body can expel.

DMSA: is a dithiol chelator which bonds to mercury and exits the body mostly via the kidneys and urine with small amounts (<1%) excreted by the liver, GI tract and feces. DMSA can not cross the blood-brain barrier but can rid the body of mercury and lower blood level concentrations of mercury. The resulting DMSA-Mercury compound is excreted by the kindneys as urine, thus DMSA chelation must be accompanied with drinking a lot of water in order to purge mercury. The result of not consuming enough water will be to retain mercury and to allow it the opportunity to be redistributed.

DMSA chemical reaction with Mercury Ratio DMSA:Hg shown is 1:1. Other ratios have been found (eg 2:2) but they are not typically long lived.
For other configurations see Mercury binding to the chelation therapy agents DMSA and DMPS and the rational design of custom chelators for mercury (PDF)

ALA: Similarly Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has two sulfur atoms which can bind to mercury. ALA can cross the blood-brain barrier to draw mercury from the brain (ref). Preparation is required so that the natural flow will be from brain (area of high concentration) to the body (where the body concentration of mercury was lowered prior by chelation with DMSA). It is essential that this concentration gradient be established prior to using ALA as ALA is capable of moving mercury in and out of the brain.
ALA chemical reaction with Mercury
Chelation of mercury (Hg) using Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) C8H14O2S2
ALA chelated mercury is typically excreted by liver in bile.

Also see:

NBMI: as a dithiol chelator it has two sulfur atoms which can bind to mercury with the distinct advantage that the spacing of its sulfur atoms is not fixed and thus can easily accommodate two bonds with a mercury atom with one NBMI molecule unlike ALA which requires two molecules to bind to two atoms of mercury. NBMI attaches to mercury to immediately render it non-toxic and requires a temperature of 230 degrees Celsius to break the bond. NBMI is also a strong anti-oxidant and scavenger of free radicals. It is lipophilic (fat soluble) and can cross the Blood-Brain-Barrier (BBB), cell membranes and enter cell organelles where metal toxicity is most damaging.

NBMI chemical reaction with Mercury

Animation of NBMI binding to mercury

 

Challenge Tests:

Many medical practitioners will want to perform a "challenge test", also known as a "provocation test" or "mobilization test", as a way to measure the level of mercury in the body and monitor chelation progress. Blood tests are transitory and only measure mercury at a given moment in time. This is also true for urine tests. A hair test will measure mercury over a longer but still short period of time. These tests ignore the reality that mercury is not typically mobile and has taken up residence in organs or fat in the body. The challenge test uses a fixed but large dosage of a chelator to dislodge mercury from the body for measurement with a blood, hair or urine test.

Each chelation agent may preferentially bind to a given metal first, thus hiding the presence of other metals. Mercury can also be tightly bound to body tissue and thus may not be removed until significant amounts of other "preferred" toxic metals have been removed first.

The ACC chelation protocol recommends against this practice as it does not follow their protocol of multiple doses spaced at the half life of the chelation agent so that mercury if dislodged from a chelator, can be picked up by the next round. The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) published a position statement also recommending against the use of this test (ref) as not "accurate or reliable" and is "of no benefit to patient outcome, may actually prove harmful".

The ER guide "Goldfrank's Toxicologies Emergencies" notes that the "provocation test" "tends to increase urinary elimination of mercury, regardless of exposure history and baseline excretion" and states that it is of "dubious value".

Symptoms of mercury toxicity can occur at any blood or urine level. Blood and urine mercury levels reflect recent exposure and do not correlate with total body burden and usually under reflect tissue levels and even more so, CNS levels.

Also see:

Measuring Mercury Burden:

Measuring one's level of mercury toxicity is difficult as where the mercury ends up determines its harm to one's body. It is also hard to quantify the level of mercury in one's body. Mercury is bioaccumulative which means that it gets absorbed by body tissue and little is excreated. Blood tests can accurately measure the level of mercury in the blood, but the measurement has no relevance to the amount of mercury already absorbed by body tissue nor can it predict how much of the mercury in the blood will be expelled or absorbed. It will merely be a measurement of mercury in the bloodstream and can be a point-in-time indicator of the health of one's current diet or environment. Blood test limits are usually acceptable if less than 10 micro-grams/Liter. A low measurement of mercury in the blood is often mistaken for a low body burden of mercury. This is also true for urine tests as they have the same limitations as blood tests. Hair tests do have the advantage of a measurement over a greater duration of time but otherwise have the same limitations. One can get tested for mercury levels in the blood, hair, urine and feces.
List of testing companies

Tri-Test: All mercury is not equal. Elemental inorganic mercury is far less toxic than organic methyl mercury. This distinction is found in the Quicksilver Scientific mercury "Tri-Test" which measures mercury in the blood, urine and hair and distinguishes the difference in measurements for elemental inorganic mercury (Hg2) and methyl-mercury (MeHg). Most traditional tests report "total" mercury rather than individual organic/inorganic mercury levels. The "Tri-Test" results will also show a plot of urine vs blood levels to show how effective one's body is at expelling mercury.
Also see Quicksilver Metals Testing

Mercury Tri-test graph

Tri-Test results show the contribution of organic methylated mercury (MeHg) and inorganic mercury (Hgll). This also guides one's choice in chelators as DMSA favors the former while DMPS favors the latter. Clearly in this example, MeHg comprises the bulk of the total mercury burden. The total burden (HgT) is also plotted.

Mercury Tri-test

Quicksilver mercury Tri-test: includes two blood vials and urine vial, instructions and mail pouches

Cyrex: Neurological Autoimmune Reactivity Screen (Array 7): This screen test for toxic heavy metals tests one's immune reaction. Blood test examines the associations between mercury biomarkers and antinuclear antibody (ANA) positivity and concentration. The higher the ANA, the stronger the correlation with mercury levels. An autoimmune antibodies test can detect first signs of clinical toxicity by years compared to other screening tests. Your licensed healthcare professional will perform the blood draw and interpret the results. Regulations governing clinical laboratories prevent laboratory personnel from providing technical assistance to patients.

Predictive Antibodies:
  • Myelin basic protein IgG + IgA combined
  • Asialoganglioside IgG + IgA combined
  • Alph and Beta Tubulin IgG + IgA combined
  • Cerebellar IgG + IgA combined
  • Synapsin IgG + IgA combined

See Cyrex Laboratories

Cyrex: Neuro Autoimmune Reactivity

OligoScan: The OligoScan is a toxic metals scan which unlike the blood test can actually measure the mercury burden in tissue which makes the measurement much more relevant. It uses light spectroscopy (spectrophotometry) to measure the levels directly in the tissue being scanned (typically the hand).
Also see OligoScan

OligoScan heavy metal test report

Example OligoScan Heavy Metal Test Report. Note that the result values are not of standard units like micro-grams per liter so comparisons with blood tests are futile. Additional OligoScan tests can be merged into comparison reports to track progress. In this example, silver and mercury are elevated which is a key indication that amalgam dental fillings are shedding material which is being absorbed by the body. Note that early chelation rounds will probably show a slight increases in mercury as a result of mercury mobilization. It is only in the later stages of chelation, when the body burden of mercury has been significantly lowered, will the OligoScan measurements start to drop.

OligoScan hand scan

OligoScan scans four points on the hand.
Operated by Ananda Integrative Medicine

ACC Counting Rules: The Dr. Andy Cutler Chelation protocol "counting rules" applies to hair element analysis results to determine if one is mercury toxic. One can assume that hair tests only measure toxic metals as a momentary status and not the true toxic body burden measured in one's human tissue. The counting rules use the cumulative results from all metals in order to determine the mercury toxicity status. There is no mathematical basis to support this measurement rule hypothesis nor any peer reviewed research. Also hair tests do not measure the body burden of toxic metals stored in a person's organs and tissue but show the available circulating levels at a given point in time.

Counting Rules:
  1. Five or fewer bars from the middle white zone going right
  2. Five or fewer bars from the middle white zone going left
  3. Four or more bars in the red zone (either left or right)
  4. Eleven or fewer in the white and green zone (not touching the yellow zone)
  5. Missing any two of the above rules by one bar

Meeting a rule equates to being mercury toxic.

This test is applied to a Doctor's Data Toxic and Essential Elements Hair Test (not the Hair Toxic Element Exposure Profile).

Doctor's Data: Toxic and Essential Elements Hair Test

Vendors of Chelation Agents:

The following is a table of chelation agent vendors.

VendorDMSADMPSALARLANotes
Living Supplements0.25, 1, 3, 4, 6.25, 12.5, 20, 25, 50, 100 mg0.25, 1, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 25 mg0.25, 0.5, 1, 3, 5, 6.25, 12.5, 18.75, 25, 33, 50, 75, 100 mgnoDMSA and DMPS capsules includes 50 mg vitamin C unless otherwise noted. They also have an ALA / DMSA / vitamin C combo capsule (12.5 or 25 mg of both ALA and DMSA). Shipped from UK. Located in South Africa (may have to inform your credit card company to turn off fraud blocking for a purchase)
MandiMart UKyesnoyesnoUK reseller of Living Supplements DMSA and ALA.
Quicksilver Scientificnonono48 mgDetox bundle called "Push - Catch" which includes a proprietary mix of ingredients ("Liver Sauce" includes RLA) and GI binders.
Dr. McGuire's dental wellness websitenono150 mgnoThey also have vitamins and supplements for detox: Selenium, free form amino acids, vitamin C, multi-vitamin, multi-mineral
Everything Spectrumnono5, 12, 25 mgnoThey also have "Essential 4" vitamins (C:750mg,E:400IU,Mg:300mg,Zi 30mg), adrenal cortex (250 mg) and enzyme supplements
Vital Supplements llcnono3, 6.25, 12.5, 18.75, 25, 100 mgnoThey specialize in ALA supplements
Stop Aging Now (Vitamin Research Products)nono100 mgnoSold as a capsule which bundles ALA with B12, DHA, curcumin and bacopa extract and is sold as "Brain Energizer Complex"
Thorne Labsnono300 mg100 mgThey also have a heavy metal detox bundle
Woodland Hills Pharmacycustom orders. 12.5 - 500 mgnoyesnoCompounding pharmacy fills to order for specified dose and quantity. Can combine DMSA with ALA. Prescription required.
CareFirstRxcustom orders. Any mgnononoCompounding pharmacy fills to order for specified dose and quantity. Prescription required.
DMSA Chelation100 mgnononoDMSA only
DMSA Synergy100 mgnononoDMSA capsules also contain 200 mg vitamin C and 50 mg Glycine
NewRootsHerbalnono125, 250 mgnoALA only
NutraBionono300 mgnoALA only
NuVision100 mgnoyesnoDMSA includes 200 mg of vitamin C and 50 mg glycine. ALA is blended with other compounds as a brain supplement.
Vibrant Lifenono100 mgnoAlso available: Liposomal EDTA with R-Lipoic Acid and Glutathione/EDTA combination

Note that DMSA and ALA are often sold in doses of 100mg or more. This is a high dosage and not recommended for initial rounds or ever. Dosages of this magnitude for a mercury toxic person could have very harmful consequences.

One can also do an internet search for local "compounding pharmacies" in your area who can generate the dosage and quantities of a chelation agent custom made for you. Another alternative is to buy chelation compounds in bulk and make your own capsules. Customization allows mixing DMSA with ALA and essential 4 core vitamins all in one simple capsule at your own preferred dosage.

Bulk powder: Capsules and filling trays:
DMSA chelation agents

DMSA

ALA chelation agents

ALA

Dr. Andy Cutler PhD chelation (ACC) Protocol:

The ACC protocol addresses the chelation of mercury and the removal from tissue, organs and from the brain. The details of the ACC protocol are covered in the book "The Mercury Detoxification Manual", a recommended read for those considering mercury chelation. The ACC protocol can be performed by one's self or by a medical professional. This protocol involves the use of the chelation agents DMSA or DMPS and ALA taken orally in a given dosage and schedule, starting with low "microdoses" and working up to higher doses over time.. The scheduled times are during a full 24 hour day and not just a day time schedule. The schedule is dependent on the half life of the chelation agents to maintain an active level of continuous chelation and mercury removal and missing a dose by an hour or more will require a round to be stopped. The ACC protocol takes a commitment and discipline over the course of a few years.

Stage 1 - Body: The protocol begins with a general removal of mercury from the body in at least 3 or 4 rounds (one round = three 24 hour "on" days separated by a four to eleven day "off" period) using DMSA. The schedule for each round is 25 mg as stated on page 65 of the manual or 12.5 mg as stated on the ACC website (editor's note: these are conflicting but high dosages. After a round, patients often recommend a light dosage start at 1 mg or 3 mg) of DMSA every 4 hours (for example: 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm, 11pm and 3am) for three days. The dosage can be adjusted higher or lower depending on tolerance. Start with very low dosages so as to not stir up and redistribute too much mercury. Jumping to much higher dosages by more than 50% are NOT encouraged. Tolerated low dosages are best. Fatigue, kidney irritation and symptoms of mercury toxicity are the most common side effects. Repeat the 3 or 4 rounds at higher dosages until you are using a 25 mg dosage of DMSA with few side effects. The dosage should remain steady for the 3 or 4 rounds before an increase is introduced. These initial rounds will lower your body burden of mercury and create a mercury concentration gradient which favors the flow of mercury from the brain to the body rather than vice-versa. The protocol recommends that the patient "Keep the dose low and go slow". While the duration is not specifically stated, it may take many months to achieve your goals.

Stage 2 - Body and Brain: Once you have reached the 25 mg dosage of DMSA, one can then take 12.5 mg ALA and 25mg DMSA every 3 hours for three days "on" followed by a four to eleven day "off" period of no chelation agents. DMSA is used in stage 1 to reduce your body burden of mercury before you start taking mercury out the brain and internal organs with ALA in stage 2. If the ALA is not tolerated well, drop the dosage to as low as 3mg. The protocol details schedule changes to accommodate ALA intolerance and getting back on schedule. Note that ALA should not be taken for more than 3 consecutive days. The protocol (30mg DMSA and 12.5mg ALA, or 25mg DMSA and 17.5mg ALA - ref: ACC website) is followed until the target dosage of DMSA and ALA are reached (200 mg ALA/dose for 6 months - ref: ACC website and Detox Manual pg 71). Final dosage of ALA can be more accurately calculated as 3 mg for each kg of personal weight.

The body does not store or release mercury in a consistent fashion, which affects chelation. This manifests itself as inconsistent results and problems round to round. For this reason it is important to find a low and tolerable dosage to repeat for a long duration rather than constantly trying to raise the dosage to optimize progress.

Reintroduction of essential minerals (magnesium: 100-200 mg with meals, zinc: 50 mg/day), vitamins (C and E), essential fatty acids (omega 3) and Adrenal Cortical Extract (ACE) supplement is required to counter the adverse effects of mercury and mercury chelation. The ACC protocol has a schedule and dosage for supplements. One performs a urine or hair sample test for mercury to monitor dropping levels (hopefully). The chelation regiment is repeated until the mercury drops below an acceptably low level. Note that this is purely an indication of mercury levels as true levels in organs and the brain can not be tested. The ACC chelation protocol can last 1 to 4 years.

While this chelation protocol does not have any medical peer reviewed studies as to its effectiveness, there are plenty of medical studies on the effectiveness of the DMSA and DMPS as chelation agents for the removal of mercury. There are also studies which show how these same chelators can mobilize mercury and make the consequences of mercury toxicity worse.

Also see:
Book: Mercury detox manual

Authors: Dr. Andrew Hall Cutler PhD, PE and Rebecca Rust Lee
ISBN 978-0-9676168-4-1

Dr Chris Shade's Push Catch Protocol:

The PushCatch protocol is for addressing mercury detoxification and uses a combination of R-Lipoic Acid (RLA: nature's version of ALA) chelation, glutathione production and the enzymes that work with it. Dr. Shade feels that reliance on glutathione avoids the half life problem of pharmaceutical chelators as the body regulates the levels in the bloodstream which never go to zero. The focus of this protocol is on liver detoxification and balancing inflammatory pathways. The PushCatch protocol includes a multitude of botanicals (myrrh, dandelion, gentian, goldenrod), liver treatments (nano milk thistle, DIM, quercetin, luteolin, r-lipoic acid), binders (activated charcoal, bentonite clay, chitosan, IMD) and GI lining stabilizers (Fibregum Bio, acacia gum and BiAloe). Dr. Shade's position is that RLA is an NRF-2 (Nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2, cellular detox gene) upregulator (rather than a chelator) which makes the body produce more glutathione which leads the body to detox in a “natural” way. Dr. Shade also sees RLA as an AMPK (promotes ketosis: cardio and metabolic health) upregulator as well as a PGC-1-alpha (mitochondria biogenesis) upregulator. This protocol encourages the liver to metabolize toxins to dump them with bile into the GI tract where the toxins cling to binders so that they will be evacuated and not re-absorbed.

We feal an obligation to point out that while Dr. Shade can be seen in YouTube videos expressing the "liver sauce" and the "push catch" protocol as a method of detoxifying the body of mercury, there is no statement on the Quicksilver Scientific website or in their "push catch" product literature that makes any such claim. The binder, on the other hand, is advertised to have a high affinity for mercury. There have also been no medical studies published on the effectiveness of this product to remove mercury.

Liver Sauce ingredients: (push)

Also see:
Quicksilver: push-catch

Quicksilver: "Push-Catch" detox

Dr. Boyd Haley PhD Mercury Chelation:

Boyd Haley has a PhD in biochemistry, was an NIH funded researcher at the University of Wyoming and at the University of Kentucky and professor and is the principal developer of NBMI as a chelator for mercury detoxification and founder of EmeraMed, a biotech firm created with the goal of getting NBMI FDA approved as a treatment for mercury toxicity in both humans and animals. The protocol recommends starting with low doses (5 mg to 25 mg a day) and working on up to 300 mg (or 4 mg/kg of body weight ref) a day. Test data has shown that low doses (100 mg) of NBMI get consumed by the body while scavenging free radicals and it is at the higher doses (300 mg) that noticable mercury chelation occurs (ref). Doses can be administered 2 to 4 times a day as it has an 18+ hour half-life allowing infrequent doses. NBMI can be added to fat to improve absorption. One may even begin using NBMI transdermally by mixing it with olive oil and applying it to one's feet.

NBMI makes a strong bond with mercury and may cause cellular damage when breaking the bond mercury has with a cell and may cause an inflammatory response from the body when it signals the immune system requesting cellular repair. Symptoms may include a knotted tension feeling as the NBMI bonds and removes mercury. Mercury toxic people must start slow with low doses to avoid overwhelming the body. When mercury bonds with NBMI it renders mercury non-toxic and makes an almost unbreakable bond thus it avoids the problems of mobilization and reabsorption common with other chelators.

Also see:
Dr Boyd Haley PhD Mercury detox process

Dr. Boyd Haley PhD

Dr Tom McGuire's Mercury Detox Process:

This author wrote his book to de-mystify the process of mercury detoxification. He supports the body's ability to remove mercury in a process that is based on the premise of starting low and go slow. The book is for those who are about to have their dental amalgam fillings removed and want to follow-up and remove the accumulated mercury from their body. It covers all of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for your body to manufacture enough antioxidants, and other substances, necessary to rebuild and maintain its defense system against the continuous onslaught of mercury, toxins, oxidation, and toxic metals. The book also covers supplements that aren’t considered vitamins or minerals but are essential to overall health and provide the nutritional support for a mercury detoxification program. It dedicates a chapter to monitoring your progress, chelators and oral health.

Tom is also the author of "The Poison in Your Teeth" and "Healthy Teeth - Healthy Body".

Also see:
Book: Mercury detox process

Author: Dr. Tom McGuire DDS

Goldfrank's Toxocologic Emergencies:

This is the toxicology textbook you will find in most hospital Emergency Rooms and poison centers. The book follows the FDA advisement that dental amalgam exposure is safe and does not lead to poisoning. It does give an exemption for rare cases of immunologic hypersensitivity.

The book does cover mercury chelation with Dimercaprol (BAL) and Succimer (DMSA) and advises for acute and chronic poisoning.

  • Acute poisoning: occurs if one is exposed to an elevated dose that sends the body into an immediate toxic reaction. Symptoms typically appear within minutes and can deteriorate into a life-threatening situation.
  • Chronic poisoning: slow accumulation in the body over time, slowly damaging organs and tissue causing insidious side effects and poor health.

Dimercaprol (BAL): administer for 10 days in decreasing dosages of 5 mg/kg/dose every 4 hrs for 48 hrs, then 2.5 mg every 6 hrs for 48 hrs followed by 12 hr dosages for a week. This regiment was derived from their chelation of lead protocol and is for acute inorganic mercury poisoning. The book noted that BAL should not be used for organic mercury poisoning as it is more likely to do harm by mobilizing mercury to the brain.

Succimer (DMSA): 10 mg/kg orally 3 times a day for 5 days, then twice a day for 14 days if the GI tract is clear. The book recommends Succimer for those who are not acutely ill or who have been chronically poisoned by inorganic mercury. When chelating methy-lmercury (organic mercury), DMSA is credited with a decrease in brain and body mercury which is in contrast with ACC which limits recognized effectivity to reducing body burden only. Note that this guide recommends an extremely high chelator dosage when scaled for body weight, much higher that other protocols like ACC. High initial doses present their own dangers and should be viewed with caution.

The book acknowledges the use of DMPS and D-Penicillamine but states that BAL and DMSA are the treatments of choice and that DMSA is preferred for those who are not acutely ill.

Book: Goldfrank's Toxocologic Emergencies

Authors" Nelson, Hoffman, et al. 2019

Other Protocols:

Other protocols exist but seem incomplete.

Physician Association Protocols:

Physician chelation training and certification.

 

Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT):

Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) was a chelation study sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) using disodium ETDTA as the chelation agent to test the safety and efficacy of chelation therapy. Primarily the study determined that it benefited those with coronary heart disease with an 18% reduced risk of a cardiac event and that vitamin and mineral supplements had little effect on the outcome. There were two studies performed, TACT and TACT2. The TACT study found EDTA (NaEDTA specifically) to be a safe chelation agent for adults. The TACT study did not address mercury or Parkinson's disease.

Also see:

 

Comparison of Chelation Therapy Protocols:

The various chelation therapy protocols are often in conflict and do not define a consensus leading to patient confusion on such an important issue. Sorry. The patient must educate themselves and chose a path. Local holistic practitioners are often not of much help either as it is easy to educate oneself to a level that only stumps the practitioner when approached with in depth questions. Choose a practitioner who is familiar with the various protocols and not just with the directions on the side of the chelation agent container.

Chealation Agent or SupplementDr Cutler (ACC)Dr ShadeDr McGuireNotes
Cilantronevernot mentionedlight dose with DMSAHalf life unknown. Dosage unknown.
Chlorellanevernot mentionedyesACC warns that it may cause mercury redistribution
Dandelionno, hard on the liveryes??Contains luteolin, a flavonoid known to inhibit inflammation
DMSAyesnot mentionedyes, but optionalACC protocol has dosage taken at half life to always have chelation agent available to pick up droped mercury. Other protocols don't cover this approach. DMSA does not pass through the Blood-Brain-Barrier (BBB) or through cell walls and must work with other chelators that do, to be completely effective.
EDTAprimarily for lead, not for mercurynot mentionedyesUsed ubiquitously by the holistic community, but not the best option for mercury detox.
ALAyesuse RLAyesALA passes Blood-Brain-Barrier (BBB) to detox brain
RLAnever, makes you ill. Use ALAyesyes
Glutathionenever, too weak. More likely to move rather than cleanse mercury.yes, nature's wayyesGets digested so it is often given intravenously (IV) or as precursor supplements. ACC seriously warns against IV glutathione.
Glycineyes??yesIncreases bile flow.
Milk Thistle (Sylmarin)yesyesyes with mealsSupports liver
Activated Charcoalonly during amalgam removalyes. Part of the UltraBinder "catch" in the protocolyesPrevent mercury re-absorption by binding to excrement

The ACC protocol is suspicious of weak chelators as they may bind to a mercury atom but then not maintain a hold to it in a strong enough bond to journey from the source to excretion from the body. The ACC protocol assumes that weak chelators will not maintain the bond to the mercury atom and will distribute and release mercury to other parts of the body where it may cause even more harm. All protocols use ALA or RLA to remove mercury from the brain where mercury is causing damage and characteristics of Parkinson's disease.

There is a huge gap in the opinion about chelating with the presence of mercury amalgam fillings. ACC protocol forbids it as they believe that chelators will remove mercury from the fillings and poison your body. The ACC protocol is cautious and does not allow for the use of DMSA until amalgams are removed and forbids the use of ALA until three months after they are removed. The ACC protocol fears that since ALA can cross the "Blood-Brain-Barrier" (BBB), it might pick up mercury atoms in the body and deliver them to the brain. ACC believes in detoxifying the body first and then the brain, all after amalgams have been removed. The Dr Tom McGuire believes in the use RLA/ALA chelators before amalgam fillings are removed to lower the mercury burden as soon as possible. He does hold off on the use of DMSA until after amalgams are removed. Dr Chris Shade does not discuss the topic.

Also see EPISODE THREE OF "THE CHELATION WARS." WHAT EXACTLY IS LIPOIC ACID?

 

Mixing and Combining Chelation Protocols:

The various protocols have not undergone FDA review, scientific tests or revision to optimize and improve the protocols. Each of the protocols has their pros and cons. If you are lucky enough to find a doctor knowledgeable in mercury detox you will find a full spectrum of treatment offerings from those who merely read the chelator carton directions to those who follow an existing protocol to those customize their own protocols. Dr Chris Shade can be found on video acknowledging that his "push-catch" protocol can be implemented concurrently with Dr Andy Cutler's ACC protocol. This has its merits as the "push-catch" "liver sauce" has many anti-inflammatory ingredients which will help counter the inflammation experienced from chelation agents used in the ACC protocol. This website does not endorse chelation or any particular chelation therapy, nor with any particular experimentation of therapies.

Dr. Chris Shade's YouTube video where he mentions that some practitioners overlay DMSA chelation on top of his push-catch protocol (see video 38:38 - 39:37 minutes)
Video: Dr. Christopher Shade Interview on Heavy Metal Detoxification

 

Supplements Based Chelation:

The pharmaceutical chelators (ETDA, DMSA, DMPS, etc) are powerful heavy metal detox agents but, if misused, can have high risks of generating more damage than if never applied. Some "over the counter" supplements can act as chelators and while they have a less powerful effect, they are not immune from hazard.

 

Sauna Based Chelation:

There are many sauna based heavy metal detoxification facilities and one has to be skeptical of many claims but research does support claims that sweating deserves consideration for mercury and toxic element detoxification. Sweating can also be acheived by endurance exercise which has been shown to be more effective than intensive exercise. One must take care not to get dehydrated or salt, potassium and electrolyte depleted as this can be hard on the kidneys.

While studies show that saunas are a valid detox method, it turns out that Ionic Footbaths did not get a positive review:

 

How the Human Body Chelates Naturally:

The human body has mechanisms to chelate mercury naturally, but it's not very effective at handling a high toxic burden. The body protects itself with the sulfer-hydrogen (SH) compounds Metallothionein and Glutathione.

Metallothionein (MT) is cysteine-rich and found intracellularly and can bind both essential and non-essential heavy metals.

Glutathione (GSH: γ-glutamyl-cysteinyl-glycine) is a natural anti-oxidant found in plants and animals. It too has a cysteine thiol group (SH) group which acts as an electron donor when binding to heavy metals (Cu, Hg, Cd, and Pb). Glutathione is poorly absorbed by the body and thus does not work well as an oral supplement. Precursors to GSH (NAC, glycine and glutamine) can be taken as supplements to suport the generation on GSH by the body. The ACC protocol recommends against the use of the GSH pathway as it mobilizes mercury and can reabsorb it in the GI tract (unless an absorbant binder is employed) while the Dr. Chris Shade protocol and some research has been in favor.

Neither are strong chelators as they form weak bonds comapared to pharmacutical chelators (eg DMSA, DMPS, ...). The half life of mercury when relying on natural, unassisted chelation by the human body, can be decades.

Note that when one is mercury toxic that glutathione will prefer bonding with mercury, allowing a buildup of other toxic metals such as aluminum and lead. Detoxifying one's self of mercury will help in the detoxification of other toxic metals.

Also see:

 

Dangers of Chelation Therapy:

Chelation therapies can remove the intended "bad" heavy metals like mercury but it will also deplete the human body of essential minerals and metals. It is essential that these be reintroduced to the body as they are essential for mental health and system regulation. It may even take longer to reintroduce the required nutrients than to remove them. Thus if done improperly, chelation can result in gradual system decline and deleterious effects.

The dosage and rate of intake of chelation agents is also important. Too much and the body may experience the toxic effects of the mercury separated from body tissue. Dosage timing is also important as chelation agents are bonding with the mercury, but stopping at the wrong time may just dislodge the mercury without excreting it, causing the mercury to potentially relocate. One study found that chelation elevated mercury in the circulatory system which in turn elevated mercury levels in motor neuron axons across the neuromuscular junction.

Intravenous chelation therapies can result in a burning sensation at the site of injection. Aggressive use if chelation agents can induce vomiting, headaches, nausea, low blood sugar symptoms and blood pressure changes.

Challenge tests with a high single dosage of a chelation agent are sometimes given by clinicians to show that they can remove mercury by showing an increase of mercury in a urine test. This is often not safe as it can result in adverse effects and a spike in mercury in the system which gets relocated rather than removed.

Chelation therapy has risks including anxiety, psychosis, brain damage and death. This is most often accomplished by doseages which are too high. The chelators can and will mobilize mercury and at times will add to the mercury toxic burden in the brain. There is no way to control the random nature in which a chelator will mobilize mercury or the location of this mobilization. The assumption is that chelation will remove mercury over a long period of time but there is no certainty as to the benefits or damage caused during this time. This webiste does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Also see:

Binders:

Chelation therapy will grab mercury from your body, bond to it so that the resulting molecule can be evacuated by the kidneys and liver. There is the danger that when evacuated by the liver through the bile duct into the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract, that mercury can be re-absorbed in the small intestine and colon. The GI tract is about 26 feet long and giver mercury a chance to be re-absorbed into the body. To mitigate this effect, binders are often taken to absorb and attach to toxins to help the GI tract fully expel them. Binders can also be taken at the time of amalgam removal in case any is ingested. Note that if a binder is taken at the same time as a chelator or supplement, the binder may remove that too. Binders should be taken on an empty stomach, between meals or in a fasted state.

Binders include activated charcoal, bentonite clay, zeolite (sodium aluminosilicate) and chitosan as well as combinations of the aforementioned substances. Activated charcoal tends to remain in the GI tract as is true of large particles of zeolite. Small "nano" particles of zeolite on the other hand will pass into the bloodstream and travel through the body and act like a chelator and will posess the same mercury redistribution pitfalls as a chelator.

Zeolite is a porous volcanic mineral with a unique and complex honeycomb crystalline structure which can trap toxins. Before using for human consumption, zeolite must be cleansed of the metals it has trapped in its cavities over the years in nature. Zeolite also uses its natural negatively charged mineral structure to draw toxins to it.

Also see:
  • Critical Review on Zeolite Clinoptilolite Safety and Medical Applications in vivo (2018)
    • "daily intake of activated clinoptilolite suspension was effective in removal of toxic heavy metals from the body via urine"
    • "great danger exists in removing the physiologically important electrolytes from the serum in a classical detoxification process, this has not been observed in clinoptilolite trials both in humans and animals..."
    • "In conclusion, clinoptilolite materials tested in the scientific literature proved to be generally safe for in vivo applications even though each material seems to retain its own physical-chemical characteristics and exerts specific biological effects that cannot be readily transferable to other materials. Different particle sizes, surface areas, and cation compositions may induce different biological effects and exert different levels of effectiveness."
    DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01350
  • Lipid Peroxidation Induced by Expandable Clay Minerals (2009)
    "structural iron plays a major role in lipid peroxidation by clays", in other words, if the clay contains iron, one may experience the harmful effects of the oxidative burden caused by the iron. It's an obvious statement that clay is not bad, its what's in the clay that can be harmful.
    DOI: 10.1021/es9007917

Commercial products: (not a product endorsement)
Quicksilver Scientific: Ultra Binder

Quicksilver Scientific: Ultra Binder

Genetic Link To Deficiency To Clear Heavy Metals Like Mercury:

If one has a glutathione transferase (GST) polymorphisms, they may have a decrease in the body's ability to clear heavy metals like mercury. Patients with GST enzyme abnormalities may want to consider receiving glutathione to expedite excretion of chelated metal. Patients with the GST polymorphisms also tend to excrete mercury later in their course of treatment than other heavy metals. This can produce early false negatives for mercury, due to preferential excretion of lead and other metals.

See our page on genetic links and look at SNPs rs3957357 and rs1695.

Also see:

 

Suplementing Your Body During Chelation:

While DMSA and ALA may not directly remove lighter nutrient minerals, those high in mercury often experience low levels of magnesium and zinc. The ACC protocol suggests the following four "core" supplements while chelating:

SupplementACC DoseDVDescription
Vitamin C (buffered) 1000 - 2000 mg 3X or 4X/day
or
250 - 500 mg/chelator dose
90 mg The buffered variety is easier on the stomach and helps avoid heartburn.
Dr. McGuire: 1000 mg 3X/day
Warning: doses of greater than 2000 mg/day may lead to kidney stones and severe diarrhea (WebMD)
Vitamin E 1,000 IU/day 15 mg
30 IU
Note that too much vitamin E can accumulate in body fat, cause blood thinning and bleading. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protexts cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Vitamin E refers to a group of eight compounds: alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol of which there are synthetic and natural formulations. Gamma-tocopherol is the most prevalent form of vitamin E and is found in plant seeds, vegetable oils and nuts (pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts). Gamma-tocopherol has anti-inflammatory effects and is linked to a reduction in cancer and cardiovascular disease risk.
Warning: high doses can be associated with increased concentration of creatine in the urine (creatinuria) and increased risk of bleeding.
Magnesium-L-Thorate 100 - 200 mg 3X or 4X/day 420 mg For more information see magnesium supplements
Warning: doses greater than 350 mg/day may lead to irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, and may build up in the body causing coma and death (WebMD)
Zinc 50 mg/day 11 mg Considered an essential mineral which can not be fabricated by the human body. Supplementation of zinc often results in copper deficiency as the two compete for absorption. Zinc supplementation may require copper supplementation (zinc/copper supplement ratio: 15/1).
Warning: high doses of 100mg/day or more for 10 or more years doubles the risk of developing prostate cancer. Doses of 10,000 mg or more can be fatal (WebMD
The essential four vitamins

The Everything Spectrum "four core" ESential 4 vitamins for chelation replenishment:

  • Vitamin C: 750 mg
  • Vitamin E: 268 mg
  • Magnesium: 300 mg
  • Zinc: 30 mg

Optional supplements:

SupplementACC DoseDVDescription and Dose
Omega 3 15 ml fish oil/day
or
45 ml flax oil/day
Helps with focus, concentration and mood.
Dr. McGuire: 1000 mg 3X/day
Warning: doses of over 3,000 mg may increase the risk of bleeding
Adrenal Cortex (not Adrenal Medulla or just Cortex) 50-250 mg 3X/day Only needed to counter low adrenal function. See "Monitoring Your Body" in the next section.
Warning: IV injections are not considered safe. Side effects include alergic reactions, irritability and insomnia. May lower immune resistance. May have a debilitating effect on your hormonal system.
Vitamin A 25,000 IU/day 5000 IU Helps with immunity. Too much vitamin A can be toxic to the liver and kidneys and cause headaches and rashes.
Warning: doses greater than 10,000 (3,000 mcg) per day are generally seen as unsafe and hard on the liver. High levels of vitamin A are associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture (WebMD)
Molybdenum 500 - 1000 mcg/day 45 mcg Helps prevent copper absorption. Important when taking ALA as ALA reduces copper excretion in the bile.
Warning: doses should not exceed 2,000 mcg/day. High doses may result in Gout
phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) 1000 - 2000 mg/meal Liver: Increases bile flow, help disolve cholesterol.
Brain: help with poor concentration and attention deficit, depression
Milk Thistle (Silymarin) up to 750mg/day with meals Liver: Helps with liver function by promoting glutathione production. Recommended by ACC, Dr. McGuire and Dr. Shade protocols.
Dr. McGuire: 100 mg 3X/day
Warning: may have estrogenic effects. May also cause an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) (Mayo clinic)
Glycine 1000 - 3000 mg/day with meal Liver: Helps increase bile flow. Precursor to Glutathione.
Dr. McGuire: 825 mg/day
taurine 500 - 1000 mg/day with meal Liver: Helps increase bile flow
Brain: helps with anxiety.
Warning: may make bipolar disorder worse (WebMD)
l-tyrosine 1000 - 3000 mg/day Brain: help with poor concentration and attention deficit, anxiety, depression
B12 1 - 12 mg/day 6 mcg Brain: help with poor concentration and attention deficit, depression.
Warning: not to be used without professional medical supervision by those who have Leber disease, megaloblastic anemia, polycythemia vera, an alergy to cobalt or cobalamin or by those who have recently received a coronary stent (WebMD)
Potassium 3500 - 4700 mg A study of the use of DMSA on children found DMSA to elevate the urinary excretion of essential minerals, especially potassium. The first round of DMSA chelation doubled the amount of potassium excreted in urine compared to the baseline. Potassium is available in bananas, fruits and vegetables. (Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: Part A - Medical results)
melatonin 3 - 50 mg Insomnia: take one dose one hour before bed time. Available in time-release formulas. Only take if you have trouble getting to sleep.
Warning: Melatonin can make depression, diabetes, blood pressure and seizure disorders worse. May also interfere with immunosuppressive therapies (WebMD)

Dr. Tom McGuire Recommended Brain Supplements:

Brain SupplementMcGuire DoseDescription and Dose
ALC
Acetyl-L-Carnitine
500 mg 1X - 2X/day Helps with anxiety and depression. Protective antioxidant. Improves neuronal metabolism. Stimulative effect may affect sleep if taken in the evening. Take with plenty of water. Found in beef, chicken and dairy.
Warning: may cause diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, headaches, insomnia, higher blood pressure and psychosis in people with bipolar disorder. May adversely interact with drugs and supplements. (WebMD)
DHEA
Dihydroepiandrosterone
25 - 50 mg/morning Essential for nurturing growth and function of neuron dendrites. Helps with mood, energy, cognitive function, memory and sleep. Dr. McGuire recommends health professional supervision.
Warning: possible side effects include hair loss, increase in testosterone, high blood pressure, fatigue, head ache, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, increase in LDL cholesterol (WebMD)
DHA
Docosahexanoic
150 mg 2X/day A component of Omega 3 fatty acids supplement. Supports nerve cell membranes and brain health. Regulates calcium in the brain.
Warning: may increase sensitivity to aspirin, increase risk of bruising and bleeding, lower blood pressure, increase blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes (WebMD)
Ginkgo Biloba 120 mg 2X/day Leaf extract helps with blood flow and slows blood clotting. Seed and plant extract are likely unsafe, poisonous and could cause seizures and death.
Warning: Not recommended for those taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (a type of antidepressant), those who have a blood clotting disorder or are pregnant. Side effects include stomach upset, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions. Should not be taken by those who experience seizures, bleeding disorders, diabetes and might cause severe anemia in people have G6PD enzyme deficiency. (WebMD)
NADH
Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide
2.5 mg/day increasing to 5 mg
Anxiety becomes a problem > 10 mg
Boosting NADH in the brain will boost the production of neurotransmitters. NADH is synthesized from niacin and helps transform tyrosine into dopamine. Helps with Parkinson's disabilities.
Found in meat, fish and poultry.
Warning: should not be used over the long term (longer than 12 weeks) or at doses over 10 mg/day (WebMD)
PS
Phosphatidylserine
100 mg/day Helps with memory, learning and cognitive factors. PS is important for the healthy function of neurons and other brain cells.
Warning: should not be used over the long term (longer than 3 months) or at doses over 300 mg/day (WebMD)
PC
Phosphatidyl Choline
250 - 400 mg/day Helps brain and nervous system with toxic protection.
SAMe
S-Adenosylmethionine
200 mg/day increasing to 400mg Helps with mood. Natural anti-depressant. Don't take within 4 hrs of sleep. Take on an empty stomach and with plenty of water.
Warning: SAMe might make Parkinson's symptoms worse. Also linked to making bipolar disorder and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, worse (WebMD)

Dr. McGuire's guide has detailed information on brain supplements and a tolerance testing regiment.

The body is use to obtaining nutrients with food and thus it is most natural to the body to take supplements with meals. Consumption of water is also very important as it helps flush waste and toxins from cells, helps eliminate toxins from the bloodstream and supports kidney and liver function.

 

Monitoring Your Body During Chelation:

It is important to monitor your body with frequent blood tests while chelating to make sure you are not damaging any organs. Dr. McGuire's guide recommends blood tests, fecal tests and a symptom evaluation every three months to monitor your detox program (chapter 8).

OrganTest MarkerDescriptionRange
LiverALT (Alanine Transaminase)enzymes indicating damage. Heavy weight lifting can also release enzymes and elevate ALT due to muscle damage< 41 units/L
LiverAST (Aspartate Aminotransferase)enzymes indicating damage. Heavy weight lifting can also release enzymes and elevate AST due to muscle damage< 40 IU/L
LiverGGT (gamma-glutamyl transferase)liver and bile duct system. Less affected by heavy weight lifting than ALT and AST0 - 30 IU/L
LiverALP (Alk Phos or Alkaline Phosphatase)bile duct system40 - 130 U/L
LiverAlbumin generated by liver3.5 - 5.2 g/dL
LiverBilirubin level of Bilirubin waste processed by the liver0.1 - 1.0 mg/dL
KidneyACR (Albumin to Creatinine Ratio)protein should be in blood not urine!< 1.4 mg/dL
KidneyCreatinineprotein0.67 - 1.17 mg/dL
KidneyGFR (glomerular filtration rate)calculated90 - 137 mL/minute
KidneyBUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)Liver releases BUN into the bloodstream, removed by the kidney and excreted in urine. If the BUN level is too high, the kidney is not functioning. A high protein diet can also elevate BUN8 - 20 mg/dL
ThyroidTSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)Produced by the pituitary gland in your brain0.4 - 4.0 mU/L
ThyroidT3/Free T3 (triiodothyronine)Hormone generated from T4 which regulates body temperature, heart rate and metabolism. Most of the T3 in your body is bound to protein. The T3 that isn’t bound to protein is called free T3 and circulates unbound in your blood. Total T3 is the sum of bound T3 and free T3Total T3: 75 - 200 ng/dL
Free T3: 0.2 - 0.5 ng/dL
ThyroidT4/Free T4 (Thyroxine)Hormone generated by the thyroid which regulates body temperature, heart rate and metabolism. The T4 that isn’t bound to protein is called free T4 and circulates unbound in your blood. Total T4 is the sum of bound T4 and free T4Total T4: 4 - 11 ng/dL
Free T4: 0.8-1.8 ng/dL
Adrenal glandACTH (Adrenocorticotropin hormone)Generated by the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to make cortisol.AM: 10 - 50 pg/ml
PM: 5 - 10 pg/ml
Adrenal glandDHEA-sulfate (Dehydroepiandrosterone)3 - 5 ng/mL (women)
7 - 10 ng/mL (men)
Adrenal gland (cortex)cortisollevel changes throughout the day0.5 - 10 ng/mL
dependent on time of day
Adrenal gland (cortex)ALD (aldosterone)Sodium, potassium and chloride levels are also an indicationng/dL
BloodWBCWhite blood cell count4.0 - 10.9 10e3 cells/mcL
BloodWBC: Neutrophil %White blood cell differential: Neutrophil percentage
Increase from baseline may indicate infection
40 - 60 %
BloodWBC: Lymphocytes %White blood cell differential: Lymphocytes percentage
Increase from baseline may indicate infection
20 - 40 %
BloodWBC: Monocytes %White blood cell differential: Monocytes percentage
Increase from baseline may indicate chronic inflammation
2 - 8 %
BloodWBC: Eosinophils %White blood cell differential: Eosinophils percentage
Increase from baseline may indicate an allergic reaction
0.2 %
BloodWBC: Basophils %White blood cell differential: Basophils percentage0.5 %
BloodWBC: NeutrophilWhite blood cell count: Absolute Neutrophil count (ANC)
Discontinue chelating if ANC varies 1.5 from baseline: sign of neutropenia
1.90 - 8.60 10e3 cells/mcL
BloodWBC: LymphocytesWhite blood cell count: Absolute Lymphocytes count0.53 - 4.40 10e3 cells/mcL
BloodWBC: MonocytesWhite blood cell count: Absolute Monocytes count0.10 - 10.0 10e3 cells/mcL
BloodWBC: EosinophilsWhite blood cell count: Absolute Eosinophils count0.00 - 0.87 10e3 cells/mcL
BloodWBC: BasophilsWhite blood cell count: Absolute Basophils count0.00 - 0.20 10e3 cells/mcL
BloodRBCRed blood cell count3.8 - 5.2 10e6 cells/mcL

It has been suggested in the ACC detoxification protocol that when experiencing both adrenal and thyroid problems, one should address the adrenal problems first. Adrenal support for those experiencing lethargy, can be helped by taking the supplement adrenal cortex (without adrenal medulla which contains adrenaline which can cause mood and behavior disorders).

 

Monitoring Mercury Chelation Progress:

It is important to monitor how much mercury is being removed by the chelation therapy. You have reached the successful completion of treatment when the chelator is no longer removing mercury because there is no more to remove.

The ACC protocol suggests a hair test and has published a book specifically on the topic of interpreting hair analysis results. The Detoxification Manual also covers "counting rules" to help interpret the test results and to help determine if you still have toxic levels of mercury remaining. This protocol also suggests that if you are feeling the discomfort of chelation, that mercury is still being removed from your system.

Dr. Chris Shade's Quicksilver website sells a mercury "Tri-Test" which is available to doctors and tests mercury in the urine, hair and blood to determine the body's mercury burden and its ability to eliminate it. It is a unique test that measures methyl mercury and inorganic mercury separately.

The Dr. Tom McGuire protocol uses a fecal test every three months at the end of a three day chelation period. This protocol has chosen a fecal test because 90% of the eviction of mercury is through bile and the intestine. He also does not believe in employing the hair test as he feels that it measures organic methyl mercury and will not include the elemental mercury indicative of the mercury contributed by amalgam fillings. Note that it is not safe to chelate while mercury amalgam fillings are still present in one's teeth. When the mercury level tested reaches a low steady-state measurement, you have reached completion.

Neither blood, urine stool or hair tests are good at measuring the body burden of mercury lodged in mostly fatty tissue, they mearly measure the mercury circulating at any given time due to mercury ingested. The OligoScan mentioned above measures body burden directly. While the OligoScan measures mercury in one's hand, there is nothing short of an autopsy which can measure mercury in the brain and nervous system.

Adrenal Cortex

Adrenal Cortex: combats chelation fatigue


Chelation Pros:
  • The extraction of mercury from the human body will help reduce its neurotoxic effects.

Chelation Cons:
  • While some chelation agents are determined to be safe by the FDA, the chelation agents can invoke an allergic reaction, nausea, dizziness, headache and discomfort in some patients. Chelation agents bind to mercury and mobilize it so that the kidneys and liver can excrete it. The kidneys and liver can also be damaged during the process. There is always the danger that the chelation agent will "drop" the mercury in an undetermined and unexpected part of the body including motor neurons where it may cause new damage. High levels of chelation can disrupt and disperse enough mercury to be considered toxic.