Since I mentioned that I had a heavy metals test done and was prescribed chelation therapy, I have received a lot of questions about the details of the test and chelation therapy. In this article, I would like to share with you this information. Please keep in mind that I do not have any medical education and the intent of this post is just information so you can work with your doctor to understand what will work for you. This is just my own experience in case anyone is interested and could benefit from my own experience.
I took a challenge test to determine the levels of 20 heavy metals in my body. The challenge test consists of two steps. The first step is to collect urine and test it. And the second step is to fast for 12 hours, then take a chelator (a not so tasty binding agent) called DMSA (2,3 Dimercaptosuccinic Acid) on an empty stomach and collecting urine for 6 hours thereafter. I was told I could start eating after 2 hours of taking DMSA.
The picture below reflects the levels of heavy metals after the first step – i.e. before DMSA. All levels are in the green zone meaning there was nothing to worry about.
The next picture shows the levels of heavy metals after the chelator. The chelator provokes shedding heavy metals stored in the tissues and bones, which is a more accurate way to see how much heavy metals your body has accumulated over time. One of the reasons we want to avoid exposure to heavy metals is that they stay in the body for a very long time. For example, the biologic half life of cadmium is 38 years.
As you can see, after taking the chelator, lead and mercury creeped into the yellow zone. My doctor, Myrto Ashe, MD, says that these are far from the worst levels she has seen. But since I have both mercury and lead in the yellow zone and I am trying to recover from autoimmune issues, she prescribed chelation therapy.
The best policy is to reduce yur current exposure to heavy metals so you do not have to do chelation therapy often.
Sources of Mercury Exposure
The EPA lists the following products that may contains mercury:
- Automotive parts
- Dental amalgam (I had 7 of them)
- Light bulbs
- Medical pharmaceuticals
- Skin whitening cream
- Sporting equipment
For more information, visit here.
As you probably know, we are exposed to mercury by eating seafood. Visit mercury guidelines for seafood, here.
Sources of Lead Exposure
As for lead, it is harder to avoid as it is often found in drinking water, stormwater, soil, and air, which leads to widespread exposure (source). To find out if your drinking water is contaminated with lead, you can order a water test. (You can read more about the water test that I’ve done, click here.)
According to the EPA, products that may contain lead are:
- “Painted toys, furniture and toy jewelry— That favorite dump truck or rocking chair handed down in the family, antique doll furniture, or toy jewelry could contain lead-based paint or contain lead in the material it is made from. Biting or swallowing toys or toy jewelry that contain lead can cause a child to suffer from lead poisoning.
- Cosmetics (To read my post about cosmetics, click here.)
- Food or liquid containers— Food and liquids stored or served in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain can become contaminated because lead can leach from these containers into the food or liquid. (To read how to shop for lead-safe dishware, click here. For lead-free dish options, click here.)
- Plumbing products — Materials like pipes and fixtures that contain lead can corrode over time.
Types of Detoxification
- Intravenous chelation therapy with EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid). From what I read, it seems like it can be potentially dangerous and there are substantial side effects.
“Many years ago, chelation therapy was given in high doses and may have been linked to kidney damage, irregular heartbeats, and other serious consequences. Even when this treatment is given in low doses, some negative effects may occur, including high blood pressure, headache, rash, low blood sugar, and/or thrombophlebitis.
EDTA may remove vital minerals from the body along with the toxic metals. Vitamins and minerals are added to the EDTA solution to help keep them at an optimal level in the body to maintain health.” (Source)
- Oral chelation therapy with DMSA: DMSA has been found to have fewer side effects with greater efficacy. To read more about it, click here and here.
Chelation therapy can make us sick because we are shedding heavy metals back into our bodies.
My doctor prescribed a method that is least likely to make me sick but is also effective. Here is what I have to do.
- Take 250 mg of DMSA twice a week for 6 months;
- Take 500 mg of NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) twice a day;
- And after a meal once a day drink a glass of water with dissolved Glucomannan
Dr. Ashe prescribed NAC and Glucomannan to facilitate removal of shedded heavy metals from the body and to reduce the risk of re-absorbing them back into the body. You can read about NAC and Glucomannan here and here.
With this chelation therapy protocol, I have been doing detox since May 25, 2016 and have not had any side effects.
It is also important to note that eating a healthy diet helps with reduction of heavy metal absorption. Meals high in fats and oils are not good because they can help the body absorb lead. Eating foods that are rich in calcium and iron allow the body to absorb less lead. Eating foods with Vitamin C helps increase the amount of iron in the blood (source). The absorption of lead is greatest when the stomach is empty so eat regularly (source).
Please do not take this information as medical advice and work with your doctor to figure out if you need chelation therapy and which one would be the safest and most effective for you. And remember the best detox is to reduce current exposure to heavy metals so please keep reading my blog.
Re-testing After the Chelation Therapy for Heavy Metals
After I completed the prescribed chelation therapy course of 5 months, I re-tested. The picture below reflects the levels of heavy metals after the first step – i.e. before DMSA. All levels are in the green zone meaning there was nothing to worry about.
The next picture shows the levels of heavy metals after I had taken the chelator. The chelator provokes shedding heavy metals stored in the tissues and bones, which is a more accurate way to see how much heavy metals your body has accumulated over time.
As you can see lead went down from 7.1 to 5.9 and mercury went down from 6.2 to 4.7 – significant improvements!
Have you been diagnosed with high levels of heavy metals, schedule a consultation with me to learn practical ways to reduce your exposure. To learn more, visit here.
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