But, the good news is I will provide you with a clear, three-step plan to help your body detoxify from mercury 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!
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.
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. You can accomplish it 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:
- 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.
- Optimize your nutritional status for detoxification. Use healthy fats (omega-3 fats, olive oil and flax oil), amino acids (which boost your liver’s detoxification capacity) and minerals, particularly zinc and selenium (which help your body detoxify metals).
- Enhance your liver’s detoxification pathways. Take folate and vitamins B12 and B6, and eat sulfur-containing foods such as broccoli, collards, kale, daikon radish, garlic, onions and omega-3 eggs, as well as supplements such as alpha-lipoic acid and nacetylcysteine.
- Use herbal support for detoxification. These include chlorella, cilantro, garlic and milk thistle.
- Start sauna therapy. Make sure you take adequate electrolyte and mineral replacements to prevent dehydration and mineral loss from the sweat.
- Optimize elimination routes for metals, including your urine, stool and sweat. Use fluids, fibers and saunas.
Step 2: Integrate additional steps to support detoxification
At this stage, you can integrate the following to support your detoxification even more:
- Dragon Naturals Cilantro Tincture. Take two drops in hot water before a meal twice a day.
- Chlorella. Start with one pill three times a day and then build up to three pills three times a day for three months if tolerated — take 30 minutes before meals and at bedtime.
- Supergarlic 6000 by Metagenics (or an equivalent product). Take one twice a day.
- Hepatothera forte (or an equivalent product). Take one capsule twice a day. These products are made by Prothera: selenium, n-acetylcysteine, lipoic acid, milk thistle.
Step 3: The metal detoxification period
- Find a biological dentist (www.iaomt.org) 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. 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 U.S., 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 in getting 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 re-check 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 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.
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 is 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 detox 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.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, M.D.