Polly: Once the source of the mercury poisoning has been identified and removed, the mercury within the body’ s soft tissue must be eliminated. If it is an accidental or acute poisoning, chelators should be used immediately to mop up the mercury in the body. If it is a chronic source of mercury poisoning (like from dental “silver” fillings), a much slower removal program is warranted because the body has had time to incorporate the mercury into its enzymes and other biologically active chemicals. If the poisoning is due to dental amalgams, usually the chelators are not employed until several months after removal of the fillings. During these months, the body will remove the easily mobilized mercury pools. Afterwards, a chelator is often employed to remove the more deeply seated pools of mercury.
Chela, the prefix of the word chelation, comes from the Greek word for the claws of a lobster or crab. To chelate literally means to grab-hold using claws. Chelators have a chemical configuration with two nearby extensions (claws) that attach or grab onto another substance. A chelator holds onto other materials very tightly between its claws. The common mercury chelators are DMSA (2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic Acid), DMPS (Sodium 2, 3 – dimercaptopropane-1- sulfonate) and EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetraacetic acid). People don’ t agree on whether lipoic acid is a true chelator or not. It may fall into the category of just a substance that helps remove mercury. There are many other substances that also remove mercury. Yet they are definitely not chelators in the true sense of the word, and they do not grab onto the mercury as tightly as a true chelator would. Examples are vitamin C, MSM sulfur, cilantro, chlorella, glutathione, whey and cysteine. (Whey contains cystine and glutylcysteine. Glutathione contains cysteine.)
One might assume that it is simple to remove mercury. All that appears necessary is to infuse or ingest one or more of these chelators or mercury removal agents. However, that is only part of the answer. The manner in which these mercury removal substances are employed is very important. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.
1) Correct the levels of antioxidants, minerals, sulfates, hormones, pH, flora, amino acids and as many things as possible before starting the chelation.
2) When the mercury is removed from enzymes and other active biological sites, another metal must take its place. The mercury does not release easily if the mineral balance and stores are poor. Thus mineral status is very important. Since chelators can also remove/deplete metals like copper, zinc, magnesium and selenium from the body, mineral status is doubly important. Agents like DMSA do not irreversibly bind to mercury or other metals. Hence the mineral supplements may be taken during the time when chelation is being done as well as inbetween campaigns. In fact, Andy Cutler recommends that you do not stop taking mineral supplements while chelating.
3) The agents must be used at proper doses and in a proper schedule of administration. Isolated one dose protocols are probably not appropriate. The chelation agent must not only dislodge the mercury, but must be administered over a long enough period to usher the poison out of the body as safely as possible. (However, there are those who disagree on this point, and feel that such precautions are not necessary.)
4) The most appropriate mercury removal agent must be used. Whether to use glutathione, whey, DMPS, DMSA, EDTA, cysteine, or lipoic acid is controversial. The non-chelator agents are more likely to let go of the mercury and allow it to redeposit in the body. This constant shifting of the location of the mercury within the body is harmful. Therefore many people suggest that a person only use the true chelators like DMPS, DMSA, or EDTA. Others contend that most chelators are so strong that it is easy to stir up too much mercury. Thus they contend that it is more dangerous to use the true chelators.
5) Removing the mercury too quickly has harmed a significant number of people. This reaction to a chelator is called a “backfire.” We do not know why this happens to some people and not others. Yet it might depend in some manner on how sick the person was initially. (Eg, animals weakened by heavy metal toxicity were more likely to succumb to very high dose DMPS than healthy animals. ) Of the true chelators, DMPS seems to carry the most risk. Even a DMPS challenge is dangerous because DMPS dumps a large portion of the heavy metals in the first three hours. This can damage the kidneys. It is very important that anyone undergoing mercury chelation pay close attention to their body’ s reaction. If neurological, immunological or other suspicious symptoms develop, the protocol must be changed. Ignoring developing adverse reactions can lead to severe longterm consequences.
6) Other substances are required to minimize the shock to the body of the mercury removal. Vitamin C is often employed. Sometimes glutathione is also given to minimize the reactions of the body. Glutathione is needed to protect the nervous system. However, glutathione itself has the ability to move mercury around, and some people cannot tolerate this addition.
Mercury Detoxify But Go Slow
Debby: I have finally found a doctor who is helping me with the candida. I am having some results, but the candida isn’ t clearing completely. He ran a test to check for mercury, and I am indeed toxic. I happen to have a mouth full of silver, which can be a contributing factor to the Candida.
Tomorrow I see a dentist for removal of my fillings. Just thought I’d mention this to all of you out there struggling with the candida.
Polly: Debby, the US doctors like to take out a whole quadrant at a time. In Scandinavia the dentists work on one tooth at a time, and wait 6 weeks inbetween each tooth. After your last filling is removed, many people say to wait a couple of months before starting chelation.
Debby: Thank you for the information. I haven’ t yet discussed the exact protocol with my doctor, but already he has said one tooth at a time. So he is obviously ahead of his time in this country.
AL: The most important thing I wish someone had told me is to go slow and listen to your body. Be careful using chelators as they have caused some people many problems. You can read about this at http://www.dmpsbackfire.com.
Jane: I am reading Hal Huggins‘ newer book, Uninformed Consent, about amalgams, and he states that if you chelate too fast, you risk really harming yourself. Apparently, the immune system can collapse and let something even worse happen than what you have to begin with if the toxins overload the immune system. He even says chlorella and especially DMPS can be harmful by releasing too much at once. It is horrible if this is true, because it may take quite long to detox! I think maybe common sense should apply, and we each have to go by how we feel.
Marilyn in Seattle: Hal Huggins has been anti- DMPS for a long time — says he has seen too many people get sick on it. That was me. I truly believe that if your liver/elimination systems are not functioning prime-time, then your body cannot deal with the release of mercury into the bloodstream that is prompted by the DMPS. It took me months to start to feel better after 7 treatments. Quite frankly I wish I had quit after the second one.
Chlorella did not make me feel poisoned, but it had this weird affect of causing constipation. This is an unusual reaction I gather because some people use chlorella as a bowel regulator. So I switched to ProAlgen and notice NO adverse side effects from it. I get the ProAlgen at my health food store and take it with meals.
I have a cyber-buddy who keeps warning me — detox SLOWLY — let your body handle the release of toxins. Of course I get impatient because I want to be well, but I can’ t seem to exceed body capability or else I end up flat on my arse. It will take time to detox. If you can handle DMPS, you can really reduce mercury levels in one year. If you use chlorella alone, it will take 7 years. I guess one of my karmic lessons is to learn patience.
Polly: DMPS is very dangerous for the more heavily poisoned people. It dumps the metals so quickly (a large percentage within the first three hours) that it can damage the kidneys. You could end up in the hospital with kidney failure. I hear you must be careful with Chlorella. It can actually be a source of concentrated mercury if the soil and water where it was grown have mercury or other heavy metals. It also contains a lot of sulfur that may not be tolerated. Also, since it is not a true chelator, chlorella has the potential for creating more harm than good.
Mercury and Glutathione
Polly: Mercury poisoning lowers glutathione levels in the body. Yet good glutathione levels are very important for the mercury poisoned because it protects their nervous system from being damaged by the mercury. Unfortunately, supplements of glutathione are not always tolerated because the cysteine in the glutathione moves the mercury around. (Cysteine moves aluminum and other metals around, too. There may also be other reasons, like a lack of zinc increasing cysteine’ s toxicity, or cysteine depressing thyroid.)
If cysteine levels are high, glycine and glutamine can be taken in the hopes that they will combine with the cysteine and produce more glutathione. But if cysteine levels are low, what can you do? David Quig, PhD has an interesting hypothesis. You might be able to use other aminos to blunt the adverse effects of cysteine or glutathione supplementation. These amino acids are valine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan and the branch chain amino acids. These amino acids inhibit the transport of methyl mercurycysteine into the brain. A convenient source of these amino acids is whey. It is a good source of cysteine as well as these protective amino acids. Dr. David Quig also implies that there may be need for supplemental cysteine if you are using the chelator DMSA. DMSA binds to cysteine and therefore might deplete the body of cysteine.  Taking the whey inbetween treatments may be helpful.
Andy Cutler: The problem is not the mercury being transported INTO the brain, which is insignificant. The problem is that the glutathione – SH and cysteine stirs up the large amount of mercury that is already IN the brain. People need the right amount of cysteine. About half of mercury toxic people need to eat more, and about half need to exclude it from their diets. Nobody needs as much as they get by taking a lot of whey protein. It is never appropriate to attempt to detoxify mercury with cysteine. This can’ t help and is always harmful. The purpose of taking supplementary cysteine is to get the “sulfur” level into the low end or middle of the normal range so your body works like it is supposed to while you use CHELATING AGENTS, which are effective for mercury. You must also use these chelating agents on a proper administration schedule. Any other use of them is extremely harmful to you. Unfortunately many doctors do not know how to use chelating agents properly. DMPS, DMSA and lipoic acid are chelating agents. EDTA is one but doesn’t help with mercury. Cysteine, glutathione, MSM and “high sulfur diets” are NOT chelating agents, and they can NOT remove any mercury from your brain, and are always harmful. Improper uses of the chelating agents are things like DMPS by injection, DMSA every other day, or lipoic acid daily. Proper use is described in my book Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment. See http://hometown.aol.com/andycutler.
For people who are low cysteine, whey is a good source of BCAA’ s (Branch Chain Amino Acids). For people who are high cysteine, they need a BCAA only product like the Life Extension Foundation sells. If you are low in cortisol you can’t use BCAA’s anyway, so there is no sense taking them. Whey protein is GREAT for AIDS patients. Just not good for a lot of heavy metal victims. Cysteine increases the mobility of the metals and increases the amount of toxic damage they do A LOT.
Polly: Lowered branch chain amino acids are found in fibromyalgia and in people suffering from overexposure to ammonia. That probably pertains to many of us.
Iron And Fluoride
Polly: Some people feel that iron overload can be a big factor in autism. If an accumulation of iron is present, its removal is imperative. Iron overload can damage the brain. Iron overload is much more prevalent in those with epilepsy and may be a very important underlying factor in this condition.  Iron overload is also associated with mental retardation, Parkinson disease, dementia, and ataxia. To remove iron, you can use DMSA and lipoic acid. However, IP6 seems to presently be the preferred by the people on the autism-iron chat group. Also, see this article: http://www.ironoverload.org/brain.html
There is also a group of people devoted to spreading the word about the harmful effects of fluoride in autism. Fluoride interferes with thyroid. http://188.8.131.52/autism/index.html There is growing concern that fluoride, even at low doses, is harmful to the body.