Mercury Detox: A 3-Step Plan to Recover Your Health

Mark Hyman, M.D. by Mark Hyman, M.D. | March 18th, 2010 | 28 Comments
topic: Detox, Health & Wellness, Healthy Aging, Healthy Eating

After my last blog, 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.

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 ( 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.

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.


  1. Wow, I had no idea this was even possible. I don’t think people realize how many metals are stored in our bodies. Every little bit we can get rid of helps. Thanks for all the research that went into this detox program.

    Annette | March 20th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  2. This is a really great post. I have been taking a liver support formula with aloe vera, a good multi-vitamin, a protein shake with chlorella and spirulina, and adding cilantro to my salads. Lots of water and teas too!

    It’s good to know I was on the right path…. but how does exercise fit into this?
    I practice yoga and like to weight train.. but I am a little hesitant about doing more intense cardio during a detox.

    Odalys | March 30th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  3. This is really important, thank you for posting. We need to cleanse our bodies from toxins and other chemicals that are stored. We should detoxify once in while to keep ourselves healthy.

    Sinus Relief | April 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  4. This is a very important topic in today’s world, when we are exposed to all kinds of toxicity from all angles. We shouldn’t only drink enough water to help our bodies detoxify daily, we should use quality water free from toxicities that might be present in unprocessed water.

    Anonymous | July 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  5. When I found out a friend of mine got mercury poisoning from eating too much fish, I found myself researching the topic more. I had all of my mercury fillings removed by my dentist. This is a great article to bookmark and pass along.

    shakeology | July 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  6. Interesting point about 2 bowel movements a day, didn’t know that.

    I was wondering if you agree with the dangers of mercury tooth fillings? I’ve heard that it a lot more hazardous from the body. And you should always use white fillings.


  7. I have had mercury fillings since I was a child and am still saving up to get them out. I heard there is a great clinic in Mexico that can do a great job of getting them removed for a lot less. Javier Morales is his name if you want to look him up.

    Cilantro and Chlorella are great ideas for getting heavy metals out.
    One thing I would add though is some form of zeolite to trap whatever mercury is being released by your body. I take some everyday to help control my levels of mercury. MSM is great for your liver and for detoxing too, it is a natural form of sulfur. Try it. Also accepting support and help from specialists is really important.

    Dan | August 1st, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  8. Cleansing is one of the most important things that many forget and people don’t realize that we tend to clean everything in this world except our bodies! This is also an easy to follow 3 step process for everyone. Alpha – lipoic acid is included in juvenon and a great product to help with the liver detoxification process. We must all realize that we can look better for a longer amount of time if we take the time to cleanse internally also. I hope my 2 cents has helped

    Juvenon Reviews | August 10th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  9. At homefield our most successful weight loss was a man who lost 19lb in one week. BUT the thing is can you continue at home – you really need to get inside someones head as well as their body – what ways has anyone found to make it a mental as well as a physical shift

    Suzanne Peck | August 19th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  10. When will media start paying attention to the long-term effects of mercury in the foods we eat and the water we drink. It’s hard to believe that the media and government are not particularly concerned about this. I guess we all need to take responsibility for our own health.

    Juvenon Review | August 24th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  11. Has anyone tried the product “NuMedica ChelaClear”. I found it on Ebay, but don’t know much about it. It does seem to have many of the ingrediants that assist with mercury detox. Any comments are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    NuMedica ChelaClear

    DMSA …………………………………………………. 100 mg
    EDTA (Calcium EDTA) ……………………………………. 300 mg
    Cilantro ……………………………………………… 300 mg
    Chlorella …………………………………………….. 300 mg
    Allicin (as garlic extract) …………………………….. 6,000 mcg
    NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) ………………………………… 200 mg
    Alpha Lipoic Acid ……………………………………… 200 mg

    Eddie G. | September 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  12. Hello!

    This is a very helpful blog. I’m not really familiar with mercury toxicity… Can you please site some signs and symptoms of this problem? If I’m not mistaken, I think you weren’t able to site it in the article although you had a “Diagnosing” subtitle.

    Thank you in advance.

    Tracy "Whole Body Cleanse" Coach | September 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  13. Yes, I have detoxed successfully using this method

    carry spekton | October 23rd, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  14. Thanks. I just got my amalgam fillings removed (safely) and am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the detox process. Do you know where to get a good source of DMSA?

    Angela DiGiovanni | October 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  15. Great post! Not many people realize how many metal toxins are in our bodies. Very useful info!!!

    Dr. Keith Nemec | October 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  16. “Find a biological dentist” Better would be going to a modern and forward thinking dentist with an incorporated spa retreat within the confines of their offices.

    Anonymous | January 24th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  17. 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!

    Dentist in Beverly Hills | January 30th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  18. Excellent tips provided here. I definitely recommend taking a look at having any older fillings replaced. I’ve came across several articles where Mercury toxicity is linked to Autism. Thanks for spreading this awareness.

    Dentist Dublin Ohio | February 2nd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  19. Perfect! This is essential.. A useful post indeed!

    Scott | May 13th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  20. …it seems that we could not simply be aware of what toxins we can be exposed to everyday..thanks for this post..:)

    Connie Myers | May 23rd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  21. Starting with NuMedica ChelaClear tomorrow. Will be taking one capsule every 3 hours, night and day, Andrew Cutler way: Low frequent dose chelation protocol. Andrew is not particularly keen on EDTA nor NAC, cilantro or garlic, but I don’t expect them to do much harm. DMSA and Alpha-lipoic are the major components that will do mercury d-tox. Wish there will be more people sharing their experience with chelation.

    Max | October 5th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  22. Hi,

    Has anyone with mercury toxicity had any luck with this protocol?


    Eddie | February 8th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  23. Male, 42 yrs old. Kidney donor. No previous major health issues before this. Back in February I recited a tetanus booster after hurting my knee. Over the next week I began to feel very on edge and just strange. On a few occasions I began shaking violently. It was extreme, like hypothermic type shaking. I would be in a warm room and still start violently shaking as if I were on the verge of a full on seizure. This would occur while just hanging out with my kids or friends and not feeling anxious at all. Over the next week or so I began feeling very short of breath, tired and increasingly anxious. A few days later the neuropathy took hold, mainly on my left side (the shot was given in my left arm). The intense tingling and crawling sensations went down my left arm, left leg, left side of face and the top of my head. Within days the neuropathy on my face was accompanied by a large area of numbness on my cheek and mouth.

    I suspected that what was happening had something to do with the shot but I was unaware of the themirosal connection so I began to blame it on the tetanus toxoid. I told my physician about my idea of the shot causing something to happen. She on the other hand, came to the conclusion that it was just severe anxiety and depression. I was so confused and felt so helpless by then that I started to get desperate to find out what was causing it. I knew it was something physical and I even remember telling my wife and mom several times that I felt like my body had become “toxic” or was poisoned.

    Eventually the symptoms got so bad, I became very nervous about any kind of public situation. Even hanging out with family made me feel claustrophobic, very shy and aggrophobic. It was like I was going insane and I began to lose all hope.

    One night I ended up going to the ER because I was so short of breath, dizzy and shaking so violently that I was unvoluntarily clenching my teeth. I was unable to stand, laying on our bed and telling the paramedics that I suspected it was something to do with a booster shot. I’m sure they thought I was just nuts. At the hospital (Swedish hospital in Denver- terrible hospital!) I was told by the ER dr that I was just having a panic attack and that I was suffering from major depression that was caused by “renal insufficiency” based on my slightly lower kidney function (i had already explained to the fool that i was a kidney donor). All he told me was that I should see my family dr to get on an SSRI. Now I’ve got to pay $950 for his “expertise”.

    Over the next few days I became very suicidal and actually had to destroy a small caliber gun we kept in the house because I was terrified as to what I would do. This lead to me finally seeking counseling and out of desperation for staying alive, I went on Zoloft. I hate antidepressants but the small dose saved my life!!

    I ended up going to a naturopath doctor that a family friend told me about. I told him about my symptoms and he started to suggest some tests. Then, I mentioned the fact that it all began shortly after a tetanus shot and at that point he knew exactly what is was. After checking a small amount of my blood on a dark field microscope, he discovered mercury as well as a lot of small parasites (most likely the result of mercury damage to my stomach and intestines). The fact that mercury was discovered in such a small amount of blood made it obvious that I had a significant amount in my body.

    I am now on a herbal regimen and diet to help cleanse myself. I’d love to try the DMSA but I hear it is hard on the kidneys and since I have one, I’m not willing to take that risk.

    Thanks for letting me share my story. Great blog.

    David | September 15th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  24. Hi All

    What you may find of interest is the following (including doses description):

    Best regards

    ML | September 21st, 2013 | Comment Permalink

    YOGI | April 4th, 2014 | Comment Permalink
  26. Thank u for this post.
    My child (8 years old) is autistic and has lots of mercury and we are about to do another round of DMSA chelation.
    We will be doing a light DMSA chelation.
    What dose would u say is safe to try cikantro and chlorella?

    Chichipapa | April 11th, 2015 | Comment Permalink
  27. Can you take Chlorella and milk thistle at the same time as both need to be taken on an emty stomach? Or should you take milk thiste first, wait 30 minutes then take Chlorella?

    Shana | April 14th, 2015 | Comment Permalink
  28. … As for me I need a new Way of looking at things.

    My story is similar to the one that David posted on September 15, 2013.
    Tho I have both of my kidneys, I thought it was hepatitis-C. I just found out it’s not hepatitis-C, tho my white-blood cells are very low. so would Mercury in my body have anything to do with my low white-blood cells?

    Troy | January 4th, 2016 | Comment Permalink

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