How to Rid Your Body of Heavy Metals: A 3-Step Detoxification Plan

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AFTER MY PREVIOUS BLOG ON MERCURY, I’m sure many of you are depressed and discouraged about mercury and its toxic effects. The bad news is today I am going to review more of mercury’s toxic effects and expand on what I learned at the medical conference on mercury I mentioned in my last article on mercury …

But the good news is I will provide you with a clear, three-step plan to help your body detoxify from mercury and other heavy metals and recover your health. I have used this same plan successfully and safely with hundreds and hundreds of patients over the last 10 years — and it’s the same process I used myself to overcome mercury toxicity!

But first, let’s look at the data presented at “The Impact of Mercury on Human Health and the Environment” conference.

Mercury and Autism: Part One

In my last article on mercury toxicity, I talked a little bit about the link between mercury fillings and autism. Now I’d like to discuss mercury’s effects on this condition in greater detail.

Boyd Haley, Ph.D., from the University of Kentucky Medical Center, is a vociferous opponent of dental amalgams. The toxicology literature and decades of his own research fuel his fervor.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded his research for 25 years until he began to seriously call into question the safety of dental amalgams, the use of thimerosol (another form of mercury) in vaccines, and their correlation with autism.

His work is now funded by the private Wallace Foundation, run by the son of President Truman’s vice-president, Henry Wallace, who died of ALS and who had been frequently exposed to mercury-containing fungicide on grain.

Dr. Haley believes that fish is not as big a contributor to mercury toxicity in humans as amalgams because methylmercury is generally excreted quickly while mercury vapor from amalgams is not.

At the conference he reported on the dramatic rise in autism rates. The numbers were stunning — over 900 percent in less than a generation in California and 714 percent nationwide. The dramatic increase in autism rates in California was due in part to the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine in 1990 and an increase in the overall vaccination schedule.

In 1999, thimerosol was removed from these vaccines as parents gained increased awareness of the danger it poses. You see, thimerosol is quickly converted to ethyl mercury in the body, where it moves rapidly from your blood to your brain. In the first three quarters of 2004 — five years after thimerosol was removed from vaccines — the data showed a decline in the incidence of autism in California for the first time.

Recently the vaccine court, a special branch of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims established to handle claims of injury from vaccines ruled that there was no connection between vaccines and autism. We must remember that judicial opinion is not scientific proof. Statistics and data can be manipulated and construed in differing ways depending on who does the analysis. Often what is hidden or between the lines obscures the real data, we have seen this over and over in scientific research. Studies funded by drug companies or food product companies on balance show positive outcomes compared to independently funded studies on the same products whether it is analyzing the benefits of chemotherapy, anti-depressants, blood pressure medication and even the health benefits of dairy or soft drinks. Following the money is a good rule in assessing the objectivity of scientific data.

Mostly doctors and scientists have ignored the fact that up to 95 percent of autistic children have intestinal problems, especially big swollen bellies. How can their belly problems destroy their brains, interrupt their language, and lock them in their own private world?

For example, one of the main studies quoted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) used to disprove the connection between vaccines and autism is the Danish study showing an increase in autism rates after thimerosol was removed from vaccines. However what was NOT reported in the study was that at the same time as the mercury was removed for vaccines, the Danish government mandated reporting of autism and offered free clinics and increased services for those with autism. And, suspiciously, the lead author on that study who has worked closely with the CDC recently absconded with $2 million in research grants. The Danish police are searching for him.

How the Lancet and The New York Times Got it Wrong on Dr. Wakefield’s Research

The recent retraction of the Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s publication in the Lancet showing intestinal inflammation and vaccine strains of measles virus (proven by DNA analysis) in the intestinal tracts of autistic children seemed more about inquisition and less honest scientific inquiry. He never claimed that autism was caused by vaccines, but simply made a scientific observation. That should be the impetus for further open scientific inquiry and investigation, not excommunication from the church of science. Science should not be about beliefs, but about questions. And because of the economic and public health implications of questioning the safety of vaccines we have chosen to close the door to open scientific debate, rather than inquire about increasing the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, one of the most important public health advances in medical history.

Let’s look at little more closely at the work of Dr. Wakefield and the questions it raises and direction it provides.

Mostly doctors and scientists have ignored the fact that up to 95 percent of autistic children have intestinal problems, especially big swollen bellies. How can their belly problems destroy their brains, interrupt their language, and lock them in their own private world?

Dr. Wakefield asked why. He happened to notice inflammation (or lymphoid nodular hyperplasia), in the bowels of some children with autism. Could this observation be brushed off as coincidence? Dr. Wakefield dug deeper and discovered this is common in autistic children.

In a study of 148 children with autism compared to 30 normal controls (children without autism), 90 percent of autistic children showed inflamed bowels on biopsy compared to only 30 percent of controls (which makes me wonder if many non-autistic children have bowel inflammation from poor diet and allergies as well).(i)

He also noticed the inflammation was much more severe in autistic children. Food allergens, bacteria, viruses, and toxins (such as mercury), could all be the cause. These same things are the common causes of all disease and create imbalance in every key system of the body — toxins, infections, allergens, poor diet, and stress.

Making Sense of Measles Vaccine Controversy

Other studies have linked the live measles virus from vaccinations to the inflamed gut. Living measles viruses have been identified in people with inflamed guts. How does this happen? And how does it relate to autism?

Normally when you get a vaccine, even with an “inactivated” live virus, it just stimulates the body’s own immune system to create antibodies which will defend you in the event of a real infection. But sometimes, as in the case of autistic children, their weakened immune systems can’t handle this “inactivated” live virus, and can’t fight it off. So the live virus hangs around in the body creating inflammation on a low-grade level — both in the gut and the brain.

In fact, a study of children with developmental delay found that 75 of 91 patients with autism and inflamed bowels had live measles virus detected in samples of their intestinal tissues. Only 7 of the 70 normal patients (or controls) were found to have the measles virus in their gut.(ii)

In another study DNA analysis was performed on the measles strains found in autistic children and compared them to non-autistic children with inflamed bowels. The shocking finding was that the DNA of the measles virus in autistic children came from vaccine strains of measles (the ones made specially for vaccines), not wild types (the type of measles virus that comes from a community acquired infection).(iii)

This doesn’t mean that ALL children who get vaccinated have problems, but for some reason autistic children are unable to handle the live measles viruses used in immunizations, and it triggers an inflammatory response in the gut, and the brain. These children can’t handle the vaccine (maybe because mercury suppresses their immune system) and then the normally benign live measles virus in the vaccine takes root in the body and sends these kids into an even deeper spiral of brain dysfunction.

What is even more alarming is that vaccine strains of measles virus seem to migrate into the brains of children with autism. That means it may not be only gut related inflammation that is causing the problems, but the measles virus may take root in the brain itself. How this all happens is not clear, but the trail from vaccine to the gut to the brain is smoking hot. Vaccine measles strains have been isolated from the spinal fluid of autistic children.(iv)

Large-scale population studies show no connection between MMR or measles vaccine and autism.(v) That’s because in such large populations, the effect on children susceptible to MMR is “washed out”. If you study large groups of people, you won’t pick up small effects on genetically or biochemically unique individuals. Looking at the problem using this kind of statistical analysis is unhelpful for treating individual patients.

Oddly, in the major study “disproving” this connection, the authors noted an increase in the diagnosis in the six months after the MMR vaccine but dismissed it as unimportant because “this appeared to be an artifact related to the difficulty of defining precisely the onset of symptoms in this disorder.” If your child had autism or autistic behaviors you would you know it and/or when it started! This is yet another example of conventional science seeing what it believes, instead of believing what it sees.

Potential sources of early exposure in fetuses or infants include maternal amalgams, fish consumption, eardrops, and nasal drops. But vaccines may be more problematic than all of these.

The vaccine probably only affects a few genetically susceptible children who are biochemical and immunological train wrecks because of toxic overload. The methods of these larger population studies are not designed to ferret out the uniqueness of individuals. If they looked at all the genetic subgroups in the population, then there could be meaningful data. If they did intestinal biopsies and spinal fluid examinations on affected and unaffected kids like Dr. Wakefield, then we might get some meaningful information.

But in the absence of that we are duped into a false sense of security by studies that are destined to fail because of how they were designed. You only get the answers to the questions you ask. Don’t ask the right questions and you won’t get clear answers.

Roger Williams, the author of Biochemical Individuality said that, “Nutrition [(and medicine]) is for real people. Statistical humans are of little interest. People are unique. We must treat people with respect to their biochemical uniqueness.”

The research shows that autism is a complex, heterogeneous disorder that has multiple causes. Vaccines and mercury, when the data is examined objectively, raise enough of a question to bear further, independent and objective research. The book is not closed as many would want to have us think.

Now back to Dr. Haley.

Dr. Haley has observed that the lowest level of mercury is found in the birth hair of the most severely affected autistic children (vi).

Interestingly, the 4 to 1 ratio of autism in males to females may, in part, be due to the effects of testosterone on mercury excretion. Antibiotics also prevent excretion of mercury, and antibiotic use is higher among autistic children.

Dr. Haley also reported on data showing a synergistic effect of heavy metals. For example, the dose of lead and mercury that would cause death in 1 out of 100 people is magnified when you are exposed to both lead and mercury, leading to a lethal dose 100 percent of the time when combined, even at low levels. You can find more information on this at Dr. Haley’s website.

As compelling as Dr. Haley’s presentation was, it is only the beginning of the story that connects mercury exposure to autism…

Mercury and Autism, Part Two

Jane El Dahr, M.D., is the Chief of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. She also discussed the possible link between thimerosol in vaccines and autism. (The data she presented is available at Safeminds.org). In California, rigorous standards for reporting autism have been put in place because social benefits are tied to accurate diagnosis — so the increases there are very likely to be accurately recorded.

During the first 25 years this reporting was put in place, 6,527 cases of autism were reported. But then the rates skyrocketed. It took only 3 years during the 1990s to add another 6,596 cases. From 1987 to 1998 there was a 273 percent increase in autism cases in California!

In response, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Autism released an “Autism Alarm” stating that 1 in 166 children in the US have autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Currently, one-sixth of all children under the age of 18 have a developmental disability. That means nearly 20 percent of the population may suffer from this problem and may not be able to be productive members of society as a result.

Much of this could be due to mercury toxicity.

That’s not just a guess — it’s based on the analysis of the actual doses of thimerosol received by children after the change in the vaccination schedule mentioned above. In people with a genetic susceptibility, such as a defect in the enzymes responsible for detoxifying heavy metals, prenatal and early postnatal exposure to mercury leads to neurologic damage resulting in autistic symptoms (vii).

Acrodynia, or “pink baby syndrome,” from exposure to calomel or mercury in teething powder has similar symptoms to autism, providing us yet another link between mercury exposure and autism.

Other potential sources of early exposure in fetuses or infants include maternal amalgams, fish consumption, eardrops, and nasal drops. But vaccines may be more problematic than all of these. They present a significant source of mercury exposure in Rho-gam, influenza vaccines during pregnancy, and childhood immunizations.

It has been found that the maximum exposure from these vaccines in the first six months of life is 187.5 micrograms of mercury — far exceeding limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Dr. Cave reported on the increased incidence of autism in the last 30 years — up from one out of 10,000 children to one out of 150 children and one of just 30 males in the United States.

According to the EPA, the “safe” daily level of mercury exposure for a five kilogram, two-month-old infant is 0.5 micrograms or 0.1 micrograms per kg. But these limits are set for methyl mercury primarily from fish, not for ethyl mercury from vaccines. The typical two-month vaccination schedule for a baby includes DTP, Hib, and HepB. Combined, these vaccines contain 62.5 micrograms of mercury.

That’s a whopping 125 times the EPA limits for a single day exposure!

Like lead, there may be NO safe level — and children are more susceptible to toxic effects than adults.

Dr. El Dahr said that there appears to be correlation between immune system malfunctioning in both autism and mercury toxicity. These specific immune abnormalities have been found in 30 to 70 percent of autistic children.

So what do we do about all of this mercury in our children and the resulting health problems?

Mercury in Children: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Stephanie Cave, M.D., is on the clinical faculty of Louisiana State University Medical School, and since 1996 has treated over 2,300 children with autistic spectrum disorder. Her recent book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, outlines the data and debate in this highly charged field.

Dr. Cave reported on the increased incidence of autism in the last 30 years — up from one out of 10,000 children to one out of 150 children and one of just 30 males in the United States.

The major toxicity from mercury that contributes to this epidemic, she said, is its ability to severely inhibit enzyme function and structural integrity.

At the conference, Dr. Cave critiqued a well-publicized study in the Lancet, which concluded that there was no toxic effect from thimerosol. She pointed out numerous problems with this study, including the fact that it used various amounts of thimerosol exposure and only involved 33 people.

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also reported no increased risk of autism with thimerosol (viii). But the problem with this study was that the authors were affiliated with the state-run Statens Serum Institute. Eighty percent of the Institute’s profits are from vaccines! The methodology was also called into question because of inconsistencies in their reporting system (ix).

Yet another study had even more ominous findings. A case control study of 221 children with autism and 18 controls found that after a DMSA challenge test, vaccinated autistic children had THREE times the level of mercury in their urine compared to controls (x).

The question that remains is how these kids with ASD should be treated. Dr. Cave reviewed her approach …

Besides taking a developmental history, she does a thorough laboratory evaluation, testing for numerous things. Her treatment protocols include casein- (from dairy), gluten-, allergy- and seafood-free diets, removal of amalgam fillings, and detoxification support.

Key to the treatment is careful detoxification of heavy metals after repletion of cellular nutrients, repair of gut dysfunction, and enhancement of liver detoxification chemistry. Supplements and treatments may include multivitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids, magnesium, digestive enzymes, Coenzyme Q10, and antioxidants like selenium, zinc, and vitamins C, E, and A.

She also suggests bowel ecology restoration which may include anti-fungal drugs, antibiotics, herbs, probiotics, and glutamine.

Enhancement of liver detoxification is facilitated by Epsom salt baths, magnesium sulfate creams, and oral, intravenous, or topical glutathione.

Mercury and other heavy metal detoxification is achieved after a DMSA provocation challenge of 20mg/kg with a 10-hour urine collection. DMSA is given at a dose of 10mg/kg every eight hours for three days, with 11 days off. The cycle is repeated four times, followed by another provocation challenge test.

The results of this protocol were impressive. Dr. Cave presented a number of cases where these treatments showed significant benefit and reductions in autistic symptoms!

But autism isn’t the only disease related to mercury toxicity. There are many others.

Mercury and Adult Illness: From Alzheimer’s to Heart Failure

We’ve now seen the devastating effects that mercury toxicity can have on kids. The effects on adults are no less severe.

Robert Nash, M.D., is a practicing neurologist and the Chairman of the American Board of Metal Toxicology. At the conference, he reviewed mercury-associated diseases, mechanisms, controversies, and therapeutic options.

He suggests the toxic effects of mercury spread across a broad spectrum of diseases including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neurodevelopmental diseases, nephrotoxicity, and cancer.

The mechanism of mercury toxicity in the adult brain may be related to proteins involved in mercury excretion, including glutathione, glutathione transferase, metallothionine and ApoE. Mercury depletes glutathione and ascorbate (vitamin C), and inhibits thiamine (B1) and pyridoxine (B6).

Mercury can also affect the central nervous system by concentrating in the spinal fluid, and the kidneys by reducing concentrating capacity. And it inhibits nerve growth, and passes easily through the placental barrier. The chemical can also reduce nerve function and communication, which can lead to the development of neurofibrillary tangles — a common feature of Alzheimer’s. In fact, recent findings suggest that the gene Apo E 4 may increase the risk for Alzheimer’s because it has an impaired ability to bind with mercury and transport it from the brain.

Dr. Nash suggests that most, if not all, abnormal biochemistry in the Alzheimer’s brain can be mimicked by mercury. He further concludes that, biologically, the case of mercury as a cause of Alzheimer’s disease is more complete than that for thimerosol-related causation of autism.

According to Dr. Nash mercury toxicity and retention is enhanced by factors found in the diet, antibiotics, other toxicants such as cadmium and lead, and genetic susceptibilities. So no level of mercury exposure from amalgams can be considered without risk!

In addition to the compelling evidence linking Alzheimer’s to mercury toxicity, research shows it may also be linked to cardiovascular disease.

Two studies have reported increased risk of heart attack while another has shown no risk. And the data presented on heart failure from unknown causes is very compelling as well. Biopsy samples found 22,000 times the level of mercury in people with heart failure from unknown causes compared to controls whose heart failure was caused by virus, heart attacks, or high blood pressure (xi).

One of my patients had this exact problem. She had no reason for heart failure — but at 62, she was facing a heart transplant. When I discovered that she had mercury toxicity and treated her, she began to thrive again. Her cardiac function dramatically improved by 130 percent!

Despite all this bad news about the effects of mercury, Dr. Nash concluded on an optimistic note …

First, he suggested that there appears to be a subset of the population that cannot effectively excrete mercury and is at greater risk than the general population. This susceptibility is likely due to genetic differences, diet, exposure to other toxicants, antibiotic use, etc.

Given that susceptibility, he argued that mercury is a risk factor in many diseases — but can be safely measured. And he said that the body can be detoxified of mercury, mitigating some of its toxic effects. Of course, more studies should be done to shed light on this important topic. But we are on our way to finding answers to this important health concern.

I know some of what I have reviewed in these articles on mercury was pretty science heavy. But I wanted to take the time to share this fascinating research with you because I believe it’s so important. I want people to know that just because this topic is mostly ignored by conventional medicine and dentistry, it isn’t any less critical or relevant to our health or our children’s health.

More importantly: It CAN be treated!

In my practice, I have seen the benefits of detoxifying from mercury. My patients have recovered from dementia, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, depression, autoimmune diseases like colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, and many other problems. Of course, that doesn’t mean that mercury is THE cause of these conditions, but simply one of the many causes that has to be considered.

So now that you understand the powerful effect mercury can have on your health, let’s review how you know if you have mercury toxicity, and then how to treat it.

Diagnosing and Treating Mercury Toxicity

The first thing to understand is that identifying mercury problems and detoxifying from them (or any other kind of heavy metal poisoning) has to be done VERY carefully and under the supervision of a physician trained in the techniques of metal detoxification, but it can be done safely and effectively with an educated doctor’s assistance.

What follows is a three-step plan to find out if you are suffering from mercury poisoning and detoxifying from it. Understand that this approach has to be done carefully and systematically to make sure you get your body ready for removing the metals.

Step 1: Getting Ready for Detoxification

This process can take a few months, and I can’t stress enough how important this preparation step is. It is accomplished by optimizing your nutritional status and detoxifying ability. Once this is done you will begin mobilizing and binding the metals in your body and excreting them through your urine, bile, stool, and sweat.

Here is what I recommend to my patients.

  1. Optimize your gut function. Eliminate the common food allergens (dairy, gluten, corn, eggs, etc.), taking probiotics and enzymes for one to two months before detoxifying.
  2. Optimize your nutritional status for detoxification. Use healthy fats (omega-3 fats, olive oil, and flax oil), amino acids (which boost all your liver’s detoxification capacity), and minerals, particularly zinc and selenium (which help your body detoxify metals).
  3. Enhance your liver’s detoxification pathways. Take folate and vitamins B12 and B6 and eating sulfur-containing foods such as broccoli, collards, kale, daikon radish, garlic, onions, and omega-3 eggs.
  4. Start sauna therapy. Make sure you take adequate electrolyte and mineral replacements to prevent dehydration and mineral loss from the sweat.
  5. Optimize elimination routes for metals including your urine, stool, and sweat. Use fluids, fiber, and saunas.

Step 2: Integrate Additional Steps to Support Detoxification

At this stage you can integrate the following to support your liver detoxification pathways even more:

  • Alginate from seaweed (this binds to metal in the gut)
  • Selenium, zinc, n-acetylcysteine, lipoic acid, milk thistle, and garlic

Step 3: The Metal Detoxification Period

  • Find a biological dentist to evaluate the extent of your mercury fillings and options for replacing them.

This can be done slowly over time, but must be done VERY carefully and only under a trained biological dentist’s supervision to avoid burdening yourself with more mercury during the removal process.

  • Get a test to assess your total body load of mercury. This is called a challenge or provocation test. This is done with a doctor’s prescription and under a doctor’s supervision. The easiest and safest way to do this is to take 500 mg of DMPS in one dose first thing in the morning after emptying your bladder, followed by a six-hour urine collection. DMPS is a prescription drug and is not FDA-approved in the US, although it has been approved and used for decades in Europe.
  • The other option is to use DMSA, which is FDA-approved. It pulls out a lot less mercury and needs to be taken at a dose of 30 mg/kg for the challenge test. I find this is not as effective to get a true reading on what is in the body.
  • Use binding agents to pull the mercury out of your body. There is a lot of controversy about the best way to do this. But after helping people detox from heavy metals for 10 years, I’ve found the safest and most effective treatment is oral DMSA. It is taken as follows: One 100 to 250 mg capsule of DMSA orally three times a day before meals. Take it for three days. Then take 11 days off. Do this for six months. Then recheck your level of mercury through the challenge test.
  • Do saunas daily — especially on those days when doing DMSA.
  • Consider getting intravenous vitamins and antioxidants for three months while undergoing this process this to administer glutathione, phospholipids, vitamin C, and B vitamins to boost detoxification. This is harder to get, but can help the process work better and help you feel better throughout the process.
  • Drink enough filtered water and fluids to make urine clear.
  • Make sure you have bowel movements twice a day. This is very important or you will reabsorb mercury from the gut. You can add ground flax seeds to shakes or foods, or take one to two 150-mg magnesium citrate capsules twice a day if you are not going regularly. You can also try even stronger laxatives if you have to such as senna or cascara.
  • Consider whey protein to boost glutathione if you are not allergic to dairy.

Understand that I am simply sharing my experience and knowledge with you here. I recognize this is a controversial area. Unfortunately, there are no large controlled studies looking at this problem. I am working on getting studies on this and other areas of systems medicine and functional medicine funded so we can have better answers. For now, we have to go with what we know and the experience and knowledge of many physicians over many years of doing this.

Realize that we DO know how to help you detoxify effectively and deal with the effects of low level mercury toxicity! While it may be difficult you MUST find a doctor skilled at dealing with heavy metal toxicity to undergo the protocol above safely.

What I have outlined in this blog are only my guidelines. They may be the same or similar to what you find others are using. What is essential is that you get assistance. I DO NOT recommend you detoxify from mercury without a doctor’s supervision!

But I DO recommend you find out if mercury toxicity is a problem for you. It is an essential step to achieving lifelong vibrant health.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Are you surprised by the links between mercury and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease?

Do you agree with childhood vaccinations? Why or why not?

Have you tried detoxifying from mercury? What was your experience?

Please let me know your thoughts by adding a comment below.

References

(i) Wakefield AJ, Ashwood P, Limb K, Anthony A. The significance of ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia in children with autistic spectrum disorder. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Aug;17(8):827-36.

(ii) Uhlmann V, Martin CM, Sheils O, Pilkington L, Silva I, Killalea A, Murch SB, Walker-Smith J, Thomson M, Wakefield AJ, O’Leary JJ.Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease. Mol Pathol. 2002 Apr;55(2):84-90.

(iii) Kawashima H, Mori T, Kashiwagi Y, Takekuma K, Hoshika A, Wakefield A. Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Apr;45(4):723-9

(iv) J.J. Bradstreet, M.D.; J. El Dahr, M.D.; A. Anthony, &nbspM.B., Ph.D.; J.J. Kartzinel, M.D.; A.J. Wakefield, M.B. Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Children with Regressive Autism: a Report of Three Cases. J. Am . Phys. Surgeons 9 no. 2 (2004) 38-45

(v) Taylor B, Miller E, Farrington CP, Petropoulos MC, Favot-Mayaud I, Li J, Waight PA. Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association. Lancet. 1999 Jun 12;353(9169):2026-9.

(vi) Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE. Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children. Int J Toxicol. 2003 Jul-Aug;22(4):277-85.

(vii) S Bernard. Autism: A novel form of mercury poisoning. Medical Hypothesis. 2001:56 (4): 462-471.

(viii) Hviid A. Association between thimerosal containing vaccine and autism. JAMA. 2003; 290: 1763-1766.

(ix) Rimland B, Bernard S. Letters. JAMA. 2004; 291:180-181.

(x) Bradstreet J. A case-control study of mercury burden in children with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Volume 8 Number 3 Summer 2003.

(xi) Frustaci A, Magnavita N, Chimenti C, Caldarulo M, Sabbioni E, Pietra R, Cellini C, Possati GF, Maseri A. Marked elevation of myocardial trace elements in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy compared with secondary cardiac dysfunction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1999 May;33(6):1578-83.

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39 Responses to How to Rid Your Body of Heavy Metals: A 3-Step Detoxification Plan

  1. Irene Smith February 12, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Glad to find your site. I have just got the results form a DMSA test which showed pre DMSA 0.48umol and following the chelating agent it was 3.15 umols, which I am advised points to a toxic load of mercury. I am a little concerned as I have read this is not the best test but it was all I could find. I see my dentist next week and have been given advice from the doctor who interpreted the test regarding selenium, iodine and vitamin C with a retest in 6 months. I’m going to follow your advice to get my body ready for the detox and support it during the same. Thanks for making people aware of this possibility.

  2. kathleen roman March 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I’m confused Doctor. Do I need to detox before I have my mercury fillings removed?

    By the way….I am so grateful for forward thinking Doctor’s like you (and Dr. Oz who brought you into America’s livingrooms!) I look forward to your advice.

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Kathleen,

      Yes, it is prudent to boost your innate detoxification system before you have your fillings removed. It is also wise to boost your immune system and eat an anti-inflammatory diet! Check out Dr Hyman’s UltraMetabolism or The Blood Sugar Solution for what this type of diet looks like! For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  3. Joy Walter April 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Hi
    In hindsight I must have been Hg toxic since my first filling aged 19. I certainly contracted pneumonia shortly thereafter. I also had infections following every subsequent dental appointment, barring one where that particular dentist did not use any amalgam filling.
    It came to a head early in 2012, when I became very ill following the removal of two amalgam fillings without any kind of precautions taken by the dental hospital, and after 3 weeks realised that it was not flu with bronchitis, but pneumonia. As I distrust allopathic medicine (profits and pride before people) I researched and found that pneumonia was a common result of mercury poisoning, along with sinusitis and a host of other problems, many of which I had.
    I cleared up the pneumonia with mega doses of vit C and garlic, but had another three bouts (milder than the first). That took from February until July, and I stayed weak but well for about six weeks before contracting a cold and cough, then an endless stream of URT infections, August to present day (April 2013).
    My researching has led me to the use of Zeolite (holding my breath and swallowing grit in water, usually two 5g doses daily), Chlorella and Corriander (Cillantro) alternating weeks, 2 1g doses daily, Magnesium, approx 2g daily,as Magnesium Chloride solution stirred into my copious drinking water ( I am keeping an eye on this for hypermagaemia but so far nothing but good results like more stable blood sugar and better sleep), Selenium 400mcg, and Silica 400mg, and Fulvic Acid, 2 1oz doses daily..
    The infections are ever milder, but I am not well yet, and I suspect I will need to keep up a heavy metal detox regime for months, maybe a year or more.

  4. Joy Walter April 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    PS I did not mention that I am also taking Lugol’s mixture (Iodine solution) and finding this helpful.

  5. Cindy April 4, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    I was so glad to find this site, I am to the point of btrain fog so bad I can barely function. I hope this saves my life!

  6. Cindy April 4, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    I am so glad I found this site, I am so bad off my brain fog keeps me from functioning in life.I hope this advice saves me and many others.

  7. Kassandra bowman April 6, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    I am also glad I found this website. I have never agreed with child vaccinations as I have done a lot of research about them and there links with autism. And considering that it can not be healthy to inject young children with man made chemicals. The amount of toxins and chemicals that cause cancer and many other diseases in our food and environment are astronomical and almost genicide. Specially that the natural and effective cures for cancer mostly along with other ailments are being shunned by most doctors so they can sell drugs. I found your research fascinating and I hope to study more of the holistic treatments and make more people aware of natural cures. I mostly do a lot of research and find things for common ailments such as fatigue and stomach problems by looking at the cause and not the symptom. However I hope to increase my knowledge by going back to school. Thank you for posting this information.

  8. Devora April 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Please clarify why it is necessary to detox before taking the DMPS or DMSA mercury challenge test.

    Also, I am in Los Angeles, California. Are there any local labs (Doctor’s Data is in IL!) that perform these tests?

    Thank you!

    • Avatar of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff April 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      Hi Devora,

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. To locate a practitioner of functional medicine in your area see the “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine website: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117. They may be able to answer your mercury detox questions on a more individual level.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

  9. Thoughs on ACZ Nano spray for mercury removal April 15, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Hi Dr. Hyman – I have enjoyed your medical advice/info and have done the ultrasimple 7 day cleanse!

    My question is do you have any thoughts on ACZ Nano spray for helping remove heavy metals, especially mercury.

    Please advise and thanks!

    • Avatar of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff April 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. We are not familiar with ACZ Nano Spray and cannot comment on it’e efficacy. Perhaps other readers are and can offer their experiences as a resource.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  10. Ginnie May 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    im thinking of detoxing for heavy metals for health benefits, but it sounds costly. Is there a more simple approach? I’ve seen a green smoothie recipe that is suppose to rid the body of metal. How successful is that method?

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Dear Ginnie,

      Green leafy vegetables are a wonderful addition to a plant-based protein smoothie. The most affordable way to improve your body’s detoxification is putting fresh, clean vegetables and proteins on your fork…Dr. Hyman has several books which speak to the types of food that promote natural detoxification. Stay tuned for his next release this spring!

      For now, check this article out:http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/11/15/detox-made-safe-and-simple/

      In good health,
      The Nutrition Team

  11. Brenda Styers May 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I had 29 symptoms of mercury poisoning from my amalgam fillings, the worse was meniere’s I could not function without dramimine II max dose all the time. If I tried I could not get out of bed or even talk. The movement of my jaw was enough to make me vomit horribly. I had a holistic dentist remove my amalgam fillings and the meriere’s was gone. I am so greatful. I have tried four different detox’s so far and can not tolerate them. I have just order zeolite from the internet and am hoping that will help. I get so sick every time I try to detox. I am going to add many different detox tips that I have been reading. If anyone would like more details on what all I have been through with my mercury poisoning due to the amalgam fillings, I am willing to share. I have been going to a N.D. and he says my body does not tolerate mercury. I had the fillings 30 years before the meniere’s kicked in. Amalgam fillings and mercury in the immunizations should be outlawed – it just about ruined my life. I have fought this for years now and hope I can get detoxed from the horrid stuff.

    • Laura November 8, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      Thank you for writing this! Your comment has shed light on my own problems, that seem so similar to yours. While I have not been officially diagnosed with Meniere’s, my ENT said that due to my hearing loss in one ear (along with some other factors), it is probable that I could have this disease. Additionally, a little over two years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Here’s where it gets better…. as you probably know, one recommendation for Meniere’s is to dramatically reduce the amount of iodine in your diet. Unfortunately, this directly contrasts with what is recommended for people suffering from hypothyroidism, who actually need to increase their intake of iodine. Ugh!!! It’s a total catch 22! For the last two+ years I feel like I have literally been living in a fog. I have horrible anxiety, have been depressed, unable to sleep, declining in my social interaction, irritable, etc. I was married a few months ago, and my relationship has literally been disappearing in front of me. I would be so grateful if you would share which detoxes have been ineffective for you. It would also be so helpful to know (from anyone out there!) what are the best testing methods to gauge the level of mercury poisoning… thank you!

    • Jenny Proudfoot December 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Hi Brenda,
      I am scheduled to go to a Holistic doctor in Fegruary to have my mercury fillings removed and root canal teeth removed and replaced with bridges. I am terrified about the detox process as I have Hashimotos Autoimmune disease and major memory loss during the last 1 1/2 years — Do you recommend only doing detox once all the amalgam is out (will take 4 sessions over 4 months to complete this) as I heard that if start detox before they are all out it can poison your body and damage your memory. Would love your throughts on this.
      Thanks.
      Jenny

  12. Eli May 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Hello Dr. Hyman,

    I have a crown made of porcelain fused to metal on my 2 front incisors. It’s been there for about 10 years. I do not know exactly what metal was used but I assume that there is mercury in the combination. Ever since I had that crown put I noticed my hair thinning in the front of the head, year after year. My extremities started to get very cold – even in summer time I am having a hard time staying warm(mostly in the last 6-7 years). I eat really healthy and I often review my diet to make sure I get the right/enough nutrients. Reading through articles about mercury detox I noticed that I also take most of the supplements that are recommended: alpha lipoic acid, algae, omega 3, vitamin B1 and B6, zinc and selenium,vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, glutathione and other aminoacids.
    I wonder if these are symptoms caused by mercury poisoning. If so, what can I do if I cannot afford to re-make my crown and get rid of the metal(the metal part was slightly revealed from underneath the porcelain and it has contact with saliva and food) ?
    I would really appreciate an advice! Thank you.

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      Dear Eli,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work. Unfortunately Dr Hyman cannot provide personal medical advice in this forum. If you would like to make an appointment at Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA please go to:http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/ When you are finished reading through the material you may call the office at After you have reviewed this, please contact our office to make an appointment. By phone, (413) 637-9991; by email, office@ultrawellnesscenter.com

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
      In Good Health,
      The Nutrition Team

  13. Sabrina May 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Dr. Hyman,
    I followed your site from a link from Kris Carr, I was wondering if there’s a milder specialized program for removing metals for children. I have a 4 year old and we’re traveling to Africa this September. She’ll need to be vaccinated with Yellow Fever or they won’t issue us with a tourist visa.

    Can you recommend a pathway for metal cleansing for kids?

    Thanks in advance.
    Sabrina

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      Dear Sabrina,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work. Unfortunately Dr Hyman cannot provide personal medical advice in this forum. If you would like to make an appointment at Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA please go to:http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/ When you are finished reading through the material you may call the office at After you have reviewed this, please contact our office to make an appointment. By phone, (413) 637-9991; by email, office@ultrawellnesscenter.com

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
      In Good Health,
      The Nutrition Team

  14. Beth May 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Hi Dr Hyman,

    Thanks for writing this article.

    I was wondering why it is suggested to take a 11 day break when taking DMSA, my concern is that the mobilized mercury wouldn’t be able to chelate and exit the body during that period, and mercury toxiticity effects could be felt? Or is it important to give your body regular breaks from DMSA?

    Thanks for your time,
    Beth

  15. Welner May 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I live in Las Vegas, NV and it took me a long time to find a doctor that actually understands and treats things such as mercury toxififation. He’s so good that people from California come and see him. Here’s the website http://shslasvegas.com/

    I hope everyone gets help. Some people say that once mercury goes in your body it never comes out. I think that’s a myth. I believe that if you’re going to go thru a detoxification process you’ve got to have faith is going to come out.

  16. kochaoji May 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    I’m wondering why Dr. Hyman doesn’t use IV DMPS. I’m seeing a functional medicine MD who believes this is the strongest, most effective way to remove mercury. She works with autistic kids so I’d like to believe she knows what’s best, even for sensitive patients like autistic kids, but I’ve read some negative things about IV DMPS. Some people say never ever do chelation that way, that it’s dangerous. And now after reading that Dr. Hyman does oral chelation with DMSA, I’m wondering if IV DMPS is really the best way to go. Anyone have experience with this? Would very much appreciate if someone from his staff could comment. Thank you.

  17. kate May 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Hello. My friend(25 years old) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had a mouthful of amalgams. She removed them but desease is still there of course. she lives in europe country’s name is ukraine. I want to buy dmsa in US and send it over there. The question is after taking dmsa will regular urinal test aimed on finding mercury in urine do? Or does she need some kind of a specific test? The information you gave is extremely important to us so help us please a little more. Thanks a lot and huge respect.

    • Avatar of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff May 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Kate,

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Please reference: http://www.doctorsdata.com/home.asp for questions on metal toxicity testing. Here is another article that Dr. Hyman wrote on the topic that may be of assistance: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/20/mercury-get-this-poison-out-of-your-body/.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

      • Brian August 15, 2013 at 10:19 am #

        Dr Hyman

        I would like to know which test is more accurate the provocation test or the Tri test for mercury. Should you do both? Should we have our teenage boys tested?

        Also could you comment on MetalloClear, Metal Magnet and Pectasol.

        What do you think of the Andy Culter method?

        Thank you for the information. It gets confusing.

        • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
          Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 16, 2013 at 10:56 am #

          Dear Brian,

          Thank you for your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. He uses the provocation test.For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s virtual nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
          In Good Health,
          The Nutrition Team

  18. Melissa September 6, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve heard you mention a reduced vaccination schedule for babies and kids not only in this post but in many guest posts but not talk about what a reduced vaccination schedule would actually look like in practice. Could you provide more detail?

    Many thanks!
    Melissa

  19. Joe Garma October 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Drs. Mercola and Yu present a heavy metal detox protocol based on niacin and saunas here: http://www.garmaonhealth.com/supplements/chemical-heavy-metal-niacin-detox and I wonder if this would also be useful for mercury detoxification?

    -Joe

  20. Jake Warden October 29, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Your Autism funding should be increased by pharmaceutical companies. When it comes to Autism, putting the onus less on vaccines and more on environmental toxins (amalgam), should be a no brainer. I would truly like to help with this type of research. Also, getting funding from states that have high Autism rates could be considered. Special education therapy must be costing a fortune per child. Thanks again for this blog.

  21. Catherine Ticer December 12, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Do you have a list of doctor referrals in Northern CA that you can share with us who can oversee detoxification? Thank you!!

  22. Sara December 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    How do I find a doctor who is knowledgeable at diagnosing heavy metal toxicity and is skilled at dealing with heavy metal toxicity to undergo the protocol above safely? Thank you

  23. Dr. Donald D Perman Jr. DMD April 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    As a member of the ADA I am attempting to go public more with the information concerning the potential danger of the amalgam filling and also the danger to staff and myself being exposed to the mercury vapor on a daily basis. My goal is to put together the presentation with what I have in damaged tooth structure from years of amalgam and the adverse conditions with chronic exposure to mercury coming from amalgam. Thanks for your work and will use some of your work to get the word out. Thanks, If you have times to discuss other issues please send me a number to make contact, Don

  24. John W. June 30, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Hello!

    I do not at all mean to be argumentative, but autism rates went up in California in 2005. In fact, they haven’t gone down since we’ve been tracking it. It’s important to note that the huge jumps up you see in rates for the year 2006 are caused by reclassification of cases, because a lot of autism patients were being incorrectly diagnosed as having general learning disabilities like mental retardation, but otherwise rates have been steadily going up, never down.

    Furthermore, if thiomersal is capable of causing autism due to methylmercury, then you would expect to see rates of autism skyrocket in areas where mass mercurial toxicity events happened, and you don’t. In fact, there are no documented cases of acute or chronic mercury poisoning causing any form of autism. Not to mention, as autism is a progressive disease, studies were done using chelation therapy targeting mercury to see if maintaining extreme low levels of mercury (well below the average mercury levels, and around the non-detectable level) would halt the progression of autism if used as the sole treatment. It unabashedly, consistently didn’t work. And that’s skipping over the fact that there are much richer sources of bioavailable mercury than vaccines, and none have been linked to autism.

    Personally, what makes the absolute most sense to me is that nobody seems to know that acetaminophen has been shown to increase the rates of autism significantly. In fact, for anyone with a developing brain (see: anyone at any age except the very few with certain specific diseases; neurogenesis has been found to still occur in the neurotypical elderly on their deathbeds) paracetamol is terrible for you. Studies have shown that women who take paracetamol more than 28 days of their pregnancy give birth to children that are much less capable of gross motor skills, communication skills, and had more behavioral problems. Even worse, this effect was seen to still occur for doses as small as *once*, although the overall effect lessened as days on paracetamol decreased.

    Also, children with autism have been found to have grossly higher lead levels. The recent trend of autism would make sense with the timing of us finally getting off of leaded gasoline. All of the lead that we pumped into the atmosphere is slowly settling, but it’s settling into water supplies, it’s still being breathed in, and it’s still being sucked up by crops that we eat.

    Sorry, I started getting a little ranty there, so I’m stopping here.

  25. Joe Keleher July 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    I’d like to thank Dr. Hyman and staff for sharing so much on assistance in health issues related to toxicity. I documented recovery from what many call Morgellons Disease- https://www.academia.edu/1645880/Hell_and_Back_Again_An_Account_of_Morgellons_Disease_and_Its_Cure_From_a_Former_Sufferer and have published several related articles in Explore! medical journal (these can be viewed at: jwkeleher.com). I regularly recommend materials created by Dr. Hyman to other sufferers.

    On a personal note,I have recently returned to the Four Corners area for employment and,as there are two coal burning power plants near, would like to maintain reduced toxicity levels. I try my best to take a TONI (Toxins Out, Nutrients In) approach. I would certainly welcome any general input. Again, thanks for your efforts! Sincerely, Joe Keleher

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