Mark: When should you take Lipoic Acid (with or without meals, or with other supplements)?
Polly: I’ ve never heard anyone recommend specifically to take it with or without food. Lipoic acid pulls mercury out of your tissue. In particular, it can reach the mercury in your brain and nerve tissue. If you aren’ t mercury or copper poisoned, then 300 mg per day appears safe. (Lipoic acid can sometimes impede the body’s removal of copper. So make sure you are not copper poisoned before trying the lipoic acid.) Those with diabetes often take between 200 and 600 mg of lipoic acid each day. Jarrow makes a R(+) lipoic acid, which appears to be much better for diabetes than regular lipoic acid. However, be careful. If you are mercury poisoned, then you might not be able to tolerate even 10 mg of lipoic acid. That is a wide range of possible doses. Before you try lipoic acid, it is best to have the mercury fillings in your mouth removed.
(Important update. Dr Vasken Aposhian has shown that lipoic acid, glutathione, or vitamin C has no effect on the removal of mercury from the brains of rats exposed to mercury vapor. Journal of Toxicology 2003. Before this, when these books were written, everyone thought that lipoic acid would help remove the mercury from the nervous system. We don’t know what it is doing now. However, it definitely makes a difference for those who are mercury poisoned.)
Mark: I was smart enough to have my amalgams pulled out 15 years ago because I knew about all this then, BUT, the doc says mercury has a halflife of 30 years, so who knows!
Polly: Mark, there are easily mobilized pools of mercury in your body and there are pools of mercury that are harder to remove. Most of the easily removed pools will be gone within a few months of removing the metal from your mouth. For the other mercury in your body, you probably need some type of chelator. You can’t ignore this other set of mercury in your body and expect to get well.
Marilyn in Seattle: I tried lipoic acid two weeks ago. I took 100 mg 5 times spaced 4 hours apart. Wednesday I felt GREAT had the best day I have had in years. Wednesday night I had NIGHTMARES, and I mean horrible ones. All day Thursday I thought I was going to go nuts from the anxiety and my mind bouncing off the walls. By Friday I was okay and then like a masochist I took a mere 10 mg Sunday morning instant return of anxiety symptoms, and the mind ping-pong.
I gather my reaction proves I have mercury in the brain. From all the chelating stuff I have done, this was the first major psychological reaction I have had…shocked the hell out of me. I gather using DMSA in conjunction with the lipoic acid can tone down the psyche effects of lipoic acid. I know I will never do it again alone. I felt like I was going CRAZY and could not control thoughts whatsoever. I am going to start working with an MD who knows Andy Cutler’ s protocol for mercury removal, but first I have to get my kidney function tested (I have 3 kidneys and renal problems) to see if I can handle DMSA, which is contraindicated for those with renal problems.
That lipoic acid blew me away. I would say be cautious with its use. I should have started at 25mg instead of 100 mg. I now know what it does. I have had lots of physical reactions to mercury chelators — this was the first mental reaction that I’ve had and I HATED it.
Geo in Jersey: Cutler recommends taking alpha lipoic acid every 4 hours to maintain more constant blood levels. He thinks this reduces the redistribution effect. Also, I think you should take something like apple pectin or ProAlgen to soak up the mercury that is released from the ALA (alpha lipoic acid) in the gut before it can be excreted from the body.
I think it is advisable to start at a very low dose like 25 mg every 4 hours and slowly ramp up from there. You must make sure that blood (and other non-brain tissues) have less mercury than the brain or else net effect may be to increase amount in the brain and the central nervous system initially. Therefore, it may be best not to take ALA at first and instead use a chelator that does not cross the blood-brain barrier as easily, like DMSA. Then ALA can be added later in a low dose ramp up method.
Vitamin B12 And Lipoic Acid
Kathy: A German study reports that six months of lipoic acid causes a vitamin B12 deficiency.  Question? Why are we not told this with our autistic kids who are put on alpha lipoic acid to chelate mercury? Most if not all of these kids have a B-12 deficiency. What signs of B-12 deficiency would be worsened in our children? Anemia? Children who are using secretin (see autism chapter) are particularly more B-12 deficient. Thusly, what happens to these kids if depleted of B-12 in the course of chelation?
Polly: I fear that many with mercury poisoning, not just the autistic, may be low on B12 because of low sulfates, which are needed for the production of intrinsic factor. However, you must be careful about the amount and the type of B12 supplement that you use. The form of vitamin B12 recommended by the Swedish Association of Dental Mercury Patients is called methylcobalamin. Yet even this may not be tolerated. In Hal Huggins’s book, Uninformed Consent, he mentions that many of his patients are intolerant of B12 supplements. Some people suspect the intolerance has to do with the interaction of the cobalt in the vitamin B12 with the mercury. The interaction may also be responsible for the shortage of vitamin B12 in some of the tissue. Dr. Britt Ahlrot-Westerlund in Stockholm and others hypothesize that when heavy metals are present, the cobalt atom is oxidized while the heavy metal is reduced. The oxidized cobalt ruins the properties of the vitamin B12. This might make it more difficult for the vitamin to cross the blood-brain barrier. Another property of B12 is that it transfers methyl groups, so a sensitivity to B12 might also have something to do with a lack of methyl groups or other such disturbance in the body. (More is said about B12 this in the chapter on liver health from book 1 and in the chapter on vitamins and minerals in book 2 and in the autism discussion of book 5.)