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Heavy metals pose a significant health threat and are being released into the environment in increasing amounts [R]. They can cause fatigue, brain fog, behavioral problems, and even some forms of cancer [R]. Find out how to test for them, safely remove them from your body, and restore your health.

What are Heavy Metals?

Heavy metals are metals or metalloids (having properties of metals and nonmetals) that have a density of at least 5 g/cm3 and adversely affect the environment and living organisms if present in large of quantities [R].

Heavy metals play no beneficial role in the body and, instead, interfere with normal body processes [R]. These include:

Other metals are vitally important to health in small quantities, however, may become toxic in excess [R]:

Heavy metals are everywhere and originate from both natural and human sources, such as volcanic eruption, or coal burning and gold mining [R].

In recent years, the amount of metals in the environment has increased significantly, necessitating strategies to mitigate the harm caused by them as well as to remove them from the body [R].

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Intoxication

Arsenic and cadmium are classified as known carcinogens (causes cancer), lead is a probable carcinogen, and mercury a possible carcinogen [R].

One large observational study in 1578 healthy women found high levels of lead and cadmium in the placenta, which may affect the growth and development of the fetus. The lead was found in all cord blood and 96% of placental tissue, while cadmium was found in 95% of cord and 98% of maternal blood samples [R].

Heavy metals have been shown to bind proteins and prevent their functioning and to disrupt cellular function by interfering with necessary minerals like zinc and magnesium and causing oxidative stress [R].

Symptoms of heavy metal intoxication include:

Studies in worms have shown that these metals have synergistic toxicity, meaning that combined they are more toxic than the sum of their toxicities together [R].

The vast majority of research on heavy metal and chelation therapy focuses on these 4 metals as they are present in disproportionately higher levels in the environment than other heavy metals and have the greatest likelihood to produce health issues [R].

This article will focus on how to safely and effectively remove the “Big Four” heavy metals: lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.

Types of Toxic Heavy Metals and Why They’re Bad

Mercury Toxicity

Mercury is considered to be the most toxic heavy metal in the environment [R].

The majority of exposure to mercury is due to seafood, with additional sources including occupational exposure such as small-scale gold mining and dental amalgam installation and removal [R].

Mercury accumulates in organisms as you go up the food chain, meaning larger fish such as tuna, shark, and swordfish have proportionally more mercury than smaller fish like sardines, mackerel, and anchovies [R].

Because it’s attracted to fat (lipophilic), the metal accumulates in the fat and liver of fish, and when consumed by humans it accrues in the brain and nerves (specifically the myelin sheaths of nerves, which are made of fats) [R]. The brain, kidneys, and liver are the major storage sites for mercury accumulation.

Mercury poisoning can cause:

Chronic mercury exposure is associated with:

Higher mercury levels were found in the brain and blood of Alzheimer’s patients. In animals, low levels of mercury are able to cause cell deterioration similar to what is seen in Alzheimer’s disease [R].

Moreover, mercury levels range from 2-10 times higher in individuals with dental amalgams, and women with dental amalgams had a 13% increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease compared to women without them [R, R].

Mechanism of Harm by Mercury

Mercury increases the formation of reactive oxygen species, both directly by being a pro-oxidant and indirectly by depleting crucial antioxidants like glutathione, which leads to an increase in oxidative damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins [R].

Mercury can also bind to key amino acids and enzymes like glutathione, cysteine, and sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase. This binding disrupts cellular function [R, R].

The neurotoxic effects of mercury are likely due to its ability to increase levels of glutamate. Excess glutamate levels damage neurons leading to neuronal death [R, R].

Arsenic Toxicity

Chronic exposure to arsenic causes a variety of symptoms and health conditions.

Foods grown in contaminated soil and water are the main sources of intake for most people [R].

Also, people working in glass-making, smelting, pesticide manufacturing, and semiconductor manufacturing industries may be exposed to significantly higher levels of arsenic than the general population [R].

In recent years, there were scandals where high levels of arsenic were found in rice and apple juice. It’s recommended that babies don’t drink rice-based drinks because of this [R, R].

The primary targets for arsenic and compounds containing arsenic are the kidneys and the liver because they are generally processed by the liver and excreted in the urine [R, R].

Excessive exposure during childhood can lead to behavioral dysfunction during puberty even lasting into adulthood [R].

Arsenic exposure has also been associated with:

  • Deficits in verbal intelligence long-term memory in children [R]
  • Diabetes [R]
  • Increased fetal mortality and preterm birth [R]

Long-term exposure can cause:

  • Inflammation of the nerves, causing pain and loss of function [R]
  • Skin lesions, darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation) [R]
  • Internal cancers including bladder, kidney, liver prostate, and lung [R]
  • High blood pressure [R]
  • Increased risk of mortality [R]
  • Toxic effects on genes, which can cause mutations [R]

Mechanism of Harm by Arsenic

Arsenic exerts its toxic effect by inhibiting enzymes in the mitochondria, replacing phosphorus in various biochemical reactions, depleting thiamine (vitamin B1), and causing oxidative stress through depletion of key enzymes like glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD) [R].

Lead Toxicity

Up until recent years, lead was often used in paints, ceramics, and pipes. Although its use in these products has been significantly reduced, a report found that 25% of homes in the US have significant amounts of lead-contaminated paint, dust, or soil [R].

The majority of lead poisoning cases in adults are due to occupational exposure, such as inhaling lead-contaminated dust, while lead exposure in the general population is mainly through food [R].

Lead can accumulate in the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and especially in the bones [R].

Symptoms of lead exposure on the brain include:

  • Headaches [R]
  • Poor attention span [R]
  • Irritability [R]
  • Memory Loss [R]

Lead exposure is of particular concern in pregnant women, as it easily crosses the placental barrier and enters the developing fetus. Both human and animal studies show that lead exposure during pregnancy is associated with reduced birth weight and preterm delivery, as well as cognitive deficits in the offspring [R, R, R].

Mechanism of Harm by Lead

The main mechanism by which lead exerts toxic effects is through its ability block the actions of calcium and disrupting the activity of various enzymes and proteins, including glutathione and superoxide dismutase, and causing oxidative stress [R].

Cadmium Toxicity

Cadmium is a relatively highly water-soluble metal. In smokers, tobacco is the main source of cadmium because tobacco plants tend to accumulate the metal from the soil [R].

For non-smokers, the main source is through diet and occupational exposure, including metal industries, soldering, battery manufacturing, and cadmium-contaminated workplaces [R].

Cadmium is highly toxic to the kidneys and preferentially accumulates in a specific type of cell (proximal tubular cells) [R].

Long-term exposure can cause:

  • Kidney disease [R]
  • Osteoporosis [R]
  • Disrupted calcium metabolism [R]
  • Kidney stones [R]

Mechanism of Harm by Cadmium

Although the mechanisms of cadmium toxicity are not fully understood, research suggests it causes oxidative damage indirectly by decreasing antioxidants, rather than directly creating free radicals like the other metals discussed [R].

Cadmium also tends to bind to key enzymes and proteins, preventing them from functioning normally [R].

Due to its damaging effects on the kidney, cadmium toxicity tends to disrupt calcium balance, which the kidney plays a large role in regulating [R].

How to Test for Heavy Metals

Physicians often test for heavy metals using urine, whole blood, red blood cell, and less commonly, hair, or rarely, toenail samples [R].

Blood Tests for Heavy Metals

In most cases blood testing is indicative of acute exposure rather than the total body burden (total amount of heavy metals accrued over one’s lifetime that is present in the body), however, there are exceptions [R].

Urine Testing for Heavy Metals

Urine testing is the gold standard for the “Big Four” toxic metals (mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium). However, even urine test can give an inaccurate representation of body burden for some metals, as they are often present in different forms, stored in different areas and processed by and excreted by the body differently [R].

For example, mercury is present in the body in two forms: organic (methylmercury or dimethylmercury) and inorganic (mercury salts, such as mercury chloride). Organic is largely excreted through the bile and feces, while inorganic is eliminated via the urine [R].

Therefore, whole blood is the preferred test for organic mercury body burden and urine testing is optimal for a measure of the body burden of inorganic mercury [R].

The Heavy Metals Challenge Test

A popular type of test is called the “challenge test”, or “provoked urine test,” which involves using large doses of a strong chelating agent, usually dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), to draw metals out of the body and into the urine where they can be analyzed [R].

Chelation the process by which the body naturally binds toxic heavy metals in order to prevent them from causing harm and to excrete them from the body [R].

Chelation challenge tests are associated with adverse reactions, as the influx of mobilized metals can oftentimes overwhelm the body’s detoxification pathways as well as redistribute them to different or more critical tissues during the test [R].

Other criticisms of challenge testing include the possibility of false positives and lack of a standard of protocol and laboratory reference ranges to interpret the results [R, R].

Therefore, many professional and government organizations strongly recommend against their use because of this [R].

Despite this, the test is still commonly used by some practitioners. These clinicians argue that it allows them to determine the most effective chelating agent and to detect an absorption or tolerance problems with the agent [R].

If an individual decides to go the route of the challenge test, it is advised that their excretory pathways are open and not overburdened, i.e. in conditions like constipation or kidney and liver diseases, so as to allow the metals to pass out safely [R].

Additionally, urine samples should be taken pre- and post-challenge testing to establish a reference for the individual [R].

Instead of challenge testing, heavy metal toxicity is often diagnosed with a combination of reported symptoms and urine tests that reveal metal levels above the reference range [R].

Hair Testing for Heavy Metals

If done correctly, hair analysis is another reliable way to see if you have heavy metal toxicity [R]. Hair testing mainly reflects past exposure, so it should be combined with urine or blood testing to confirm heavy metal toxicity [RR].

How to Safely Chelate and Detoxify Heavy Metals

The overall goal in chelating and detoxifying heavy metals is to bind them with a strong chelator and then excrete them safely out of the body without redistributing them to other organs.

1) Supplement with Essential Minerals

During this process, supplementation with zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium is recommended, as these nutrients reduce the absorption of toxic heavy metals and their depletion results in enhanced toxic metal uptake from the gut [R, R, R, R].

2) Remove Sources of Heavy Metal Exposure

The first step in reducing the body burden of heavy metals is to reduce or remove the source of exposure, if possible. This may mean reducing consumption of high mercury seafood, testing and filtering drinking water, or quitting smoking.

3) Ensure that Excretory Organs Function Correctly

If you will use chelation to remove toxic heavy metals, it is important to ensure that your excretory pathways are open and not overburdened in order to allow the metals to pass out safely. Constipation, leaky gut, or kidney and liver diseases will prevent metals  [R].

4) Bind (Chelate) Heavy Metals

The next step is to bind heavy metals where they are stored in the body, escort them into the bloodstream, and excrete them through the liver via bile in the feces, through the kidneys via urine, or through the skin via sweat [R].

5) Detoxify Slowly or Pulse the Chelation Process

It is important to detoxify from heavy metals slowly to prevent redistribution through the body and therefore it is recommended to temporarily discontinue or lower dosages of chelating compounds if symptoms worsen and allow the body’s detoxification and excretory systems to “catch up” [R].

Moreover, it is generally advised to pulse the chelation process and to work with a qualified physician during this time.

Supplements that Help with Heavy Metal Chelation and Detoxification

1) Glutathione Protects Against Mercury Toxicity

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is produced from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid (closely related, but not to be confused with glutamine), and glycine.

Glutathione contains sulfur components that readily bind with mercury, lead, and cadmium [R].

Other compounds that have thiol groups include the amino acid cysteine, albumin, and metallothioneins. Mercury has a high affinity for thiol groups and will readily bind to the thiol-containing compound (usually glutathione) in the highest concentration [R].

Higher levels of glutathione protect against mercury accumulation [R].

Mercury has been shown to deplete glutathione levels in brain cells, red blood cells, and kidneys [R, R, R].

Glutathione protects against mercury in 4 ways:

  1. Binding to it and preventing it from causing damage to enzymes and cells [R]
  2. Preventing the mercury from entering the cell where it does the most damage [R]
  3. Helping transport and eliminate it from the body [R]. Indeed, glutathione mercury complexes are the most abundant form of mercury in both bile and urine [R].
  4. Serving as an antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide and lipid peroxides that are produced by mercury [R].

You can learn how to increase your glutathione levels in this post.

2) Alpha-Lipoic Acid Protects Against Arsenic, Cadmium, and Mercury Toxicity

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is another strong antioxidant with the ability to penetrate the cell membrane as well as cross the blood-brain barrier to chelate heavy metals stored there [R, R].

This is important as lead and mercury easily accumulate in the brain [R, R].

Alpha-lipoic acid decreases damage to cell membranes (lipid peroxidation), which can be caused by heavy metals [R].

Alpha-lipoic acid has also been shown to increase glutathione levels both inside and outside of the cell by regenerating used glutathione to make it active again [R, R].

Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid increases the production of glutathione by increasing the uptake of cysteine, the rate-limiting component of glutathione, into the cell [R].

Although no clinical trials have investigated the use of alpha-lipoic acid in chelating heavy metals, animal studies show that the compound reduces uptake of cadmium into liver cells and prevents absorption of arsenic in the intestines [R, R]

Of note, animal studies have also shown that alpha-lipoic acid has the potential to redistribute heavy metals, however, these studies have administered the compound intravenously, which may cause alpha-lipoic acid to combine with glutathione in the liver and prevent the glutathione from carrying heavy metals out of the body [R].

This effect has not been seen in human trials with alpha-lipoic acid and the vast amount of evidence strongly suggest that it can prevent the damage caused by heavy metals as well as help glutathione bind to and excrete metals [R, R, ].

Oral doses of as much as 1,800 mg/day of alpha-lipoic acid are well-tolerated with no side effects in clinical trials [R].

3) Modified Citrus Pectin Increases Lead, Cadmium, and Arsenic Excretion

Pectin is a fiber in plants. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a form of pectin that has been altered to be more digestible.

In children with high blood levels of lead, 15 grams of MCP a day for 28 days decreased lead in the blood, while urine lead levels increased by more than 132% (indicating lead removal) [R]. No side effects were reported.

Another study found that 15 grams of modified citrus pectin a day for five days increased urinary excretion of arsenic (130%), cadmium (150%), and lead (560%) [R].

Note: the studies were performed by the creator of MCP.

4) Sauna/Sweating Increases Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury Excretion

Sauna use increases the circulation throughout the skin and induces sweating, with blood flow to the skin increasing from 5-10% of the amount of the blood pumped through the heart at rest to 60-70% [R].

Sweating, caused by either exercise or sauna use, has been shown in many studies to excrete clinically meaningful levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, in some cases surpassing the amount excreted in urine [R, R, R, R].

Beneficial metals, vitamins, and electrolytes, such as zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin E, sodium, and chloride, are also lost during sweating. Therefore, it is crucial to consume a diet sufficient in these nutrients to counteract any loss due to sweating.

5) Vitamin C Protects Against Lead Toxicity

Low vitamin C levels have been associated with decreased glutathione levels and increased oxidative stress [R].

Vitamin C increases glutathione levels by recycling used glutathione, as in human red blood cells (DB-RCT) [R].

In rats, vitamin C supplementation increases lead excretion in the urine and feces and prevent lead absorption in the intestine [R].

Lead toxicity can lead to damage to the membranes of red blood cells, impairing their function. In 15 workers exposed to lead, one year of vitamin C (1 g/day) and E supplementation (400 IU/day) reduced lipid peroxidation in red blood cells between 47.1% and 69.4%, comparable to 19 non-lead exposed workers [R].

Dosages between 500-1500 grams a day are often used in clinical research settings, however many users greatly exceed these levels, with few adverse effects beyond diarrhea.

6) Selenium Increases Mercury Excretion

Selenium is a crucial nutrient when it comes to chelating heavy metals.

The mineral increases the activity of glutathione, and increased levels of selenium are associated with increased levels of glutathione in the blood [R, R].

In rats exposed to mercury, selenium prevented the destruction of neurons and suppression of protein synthesis caused by mercury and helped repair damaged tissue that helps conduct nerve signals (myelin sheath) [R].

In 103 mercury-exposed villagers in China, 100 micrograms of selenium daily in the form of enriched yeast increased mercury excretion and as well decreased markers of inflammation and oxidative stress compared to controls who were given the yeast without selenium [R].

Brazil nuts are often mentioned as important food to chelate heavy metals. Any chelating effect is likely due to its high concentration of selenium, with one nut containing 68-91 mcg of selenium.

7) N-Acetylcysteine Reduces Mercury and Lead Levels

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a form of cysteine that increases the production of glutathione.

In mice, N-Acetylcysteine enhanced excretion of mercury by 400% in comparison to control animals [R].

In 171 workers exposed to lead, N-Acetylcysteine reduced blood levels of lead and increased glutathione concentrations, while at the same time decreasing oxidative stress [R].

8) Zinc Prevents Cadmium and Lead Absorption and Increases Cadmium Excretion

Zinc competes with cadmium and lead for the binding sites on proteins, and zinc deficiency can lead to greater absorption of cadmium and lead [R, R].

Zinc supplementation also increases synthesis of metallothionein, a protein that binds cadmium and helps detoxify it from the body [R, R].

Moreover, supplementation with zinc protects the activity of an enzyme called δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) that is very sensitive to lead [R].

9) Calcium Disodium EDTA Increases Lead Excretion

Calcium Disodium EDTA (CaNA2EDTA) is effective in chelating lead from the body [R]. Because it is poorly absorbed orally, EDTA must be administered intravenously.

Caution is needed when chelating with CaNA2EDTA as it tends to deplete essential minerals, particularly zinc, copper, and manganese [R]. It should not be used during pregnancy or in people with kidney or liver diseases [R]

10) DMSA Increases Lead, Mercury, Arsenic and Cadmium Excretion

Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) is a water-soluble pharmaceutical chelator that contains two thiol groups, making it an especially strong chelator of heavy metals.

It can be administered orally, intravenously, or through the skin.

Chelation therapy is the use of intravenous pharmaceutical chelation agents such as DMSA, dimercaptopropane sulfonate (DMPS), or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to pull heavy metals out of the blood in cases of acute toxicity [R].

Chelation therapy is also used to treat cardiovascular disease, but a systematic review found that evidence does not support its use for such diseases [R].

Oral supplementation with DMSA has been shown in many studies to significantly and greatly increase urinary excretion of lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium [R, R, R, R].

In 17 lead-poisoned adults, DMSA increased urinary lead excretion by a factor of 12 and rapidly reversed symptoms related to lead toxicity [R].

Caution is warranted with DMSA, as it has also been shown to excrete beneficial metals like zinc, iron, calcium, copper, and magnesium as well, so it strongly advised to supplement with these after therapy [R].

11) DMPS Increases Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, and Cadmium Excretion

Dimercaptopropane sulfonate (DMPS) is another pharmaceutical chelator, like DMSA, with two thiol groups.

Oral absorption of DMPS is about 40% higher than that of DMSA [R].

Like DMSA, DMPS increases excretion of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in the urine, with the former more effective in excreting mercury from the brain and the latter more effective in excreting mercury from the kidney [R, R, R, R].

In mice, DMSA was more effective in removing cadmium than DMPS [R].

Also like DMSA, DMPS increase urinary excretion of necessary nutrients like copper, selenium, zinc, and magnesium, necessitating supplementation with them before or after treatment [R].

In one trial with autistic patients, a few children developed worsening of symptoms [R]. The researchers thought that this was likely due to the redistribution of recently mobilized metals without the ability to excrete them sufficiently [R].

In addition, adequate hydration and bowel regularity are essential, as during chelation therapy, mobilization and chelation of metals should not exceed the ability to excrete them, otherwise they will be redistributed throughout the body where they have the potential to cause more harm than their initial storage site.

Chelating Compounds With Non-Human Evidence

12) Garlic

Garlic has been shown to protect against the damaging effects of heavy metals and help with their excretion.

When rats were given garlic at the same time as cadmium and mercury, accumulation of the heavy metals in the liver, kidneys, bone, and testes was decreased and the activity of certain key enzymes was partially restored [R]. In addition, cadmium excretion was increased.

In rats given mercury, cadmium, and lead in addition to 7% raw garlic in their food, accumulation of the heavy metals was decreased in the liver, with the greatest effect seen for cadmium [R].

13) Chlorella

In mice, diets consisting of 5% and 10% of Chlorella significantly increased urinary and fecal excretion of mercury, and decreased mercury levels in the brain and kidneys, without affecting glutathione levels [R].

14) Cilantro

In mice, cilantro supplementation alongside lead administration resulted in significantly fewer lead deposits in the bones [R].

In humans, a study (RCT) on 32 children aged 3-7 years with lead-exposed parents found that cilantro extract given for 14 days decreased lead concentration in blood while increased its excretion in urine. However, it didn’t increase significantly more than the placebo group [R].

15) Activated Charcoal

While there are studies showing activated charcoal’s ability to bind mercury, lead, and nickel in industrial waste, no studies that have measured its chelation abilities in the human body [R].

16) Methionine

Methionine may help with chelating metals because of its sulfur group.

When methionine was added to the diet of rats, it significantly increased fecal excretion of lead [R].

17) Taurine

Taurine is a sulfur-containing compound.

When taurine was given to mice, it protected against oxidative damage in the brain caused by cadmium and improved the antioxidant status in the animals [R].

Another study in rats found that taurine supplementation prevented damage of brain tissue due to arsenic [R].

Taurine has also been shown to protect against lead toxicity in rat ovaries and mercury toxicity in the hearts and livers of rats, without affecting excretion of either metal [RRR].

18) Carnosine

Carnosine is a molecule made of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine with strong antioxidant properties [R].

Carnosine is able to chelate cadmium and mercury and prevent heavy metals from harming cell membranes [R].

In rats, carnosine supplementation was able to prevent kidney damage from lead and increased glutathione levels [R].

Other Supplements That May Be Effective:

Experiences of People who Removed Heavy Metals from their Bodies

Many users have reported that N-Acetylcysteine supplementation improves symptoms of depression, reduces brain fog, and provides a slight energy boost. I supplement with N-Acetylcysteine regularly, but I do not exceed 1 g/day as I tend to experience gastrointestinal discomfort and headaches beyond this dosage, which I suspect are due to increased mobilization of metals exceeding my ability to excrete them.

Users report mixed results when supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid, with some noting increased energy and feelings of general well-being and reduction in nerve pain, while others report an increase in fatigue and mental fogginess, to which some attribute to redistribution of mercury.

One individual claimed to have removed heavy metals by taking 1 g/day of DMSA (in addition to N-Acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid) for 3 days every 2 weeks, which eliminated chronic Candida infections and persistent anxiety and brain fog. Another DMSA user noted that just 50 mg of DMSA resulted in psychosis lasting for a month.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • Greg

    I had a mercury issue years ago and cheated it with Cutlers method. Now mercury is basically 0 in my body. But almost 10 years later, I have significant levels of arsenic and lead. My 2 cents is to avoid the natural chelators if you have a real, confirmed, long term issue with heavy metals. I just feel worse taking garlic, Curcumin, chollerela, citrus pectin. EDTA seems to sort of make me feel better, but I thought I read a study that it can put more metals into your brain. DMSA is the most effective day for lead, but it is such a rough experience. It lowers neutrophils too, flaring up infections. DMPS seems the best alternative for now. I keep trying to fix my gut, but I don’t make much progress, until I do a chelation session. Lead is known to cause gut issues, constipation, etc. The IMD product seems promising, but more research and reviews would make more confident. Good luck, it’s difficult but if you have legitimate long term heavy metal issues, I truly believe you need to get most of it out, to improve your health.

  • Sam B

    I have some NAC. How can i make sure the mercury won’t just get absorbed by my gut, and redistributed into my kidney and brain? Please advise.

  • Roz

    Marilyn, DMSA can be obtained through a prescription from your doctor. In my province, it can also be obtained from a naturopath. It is quite effective but also has its drawbacks. I have used it and I know that it provides results. I never did do a follow up treatment after the initial test though as I figured that given the amounts of heavy metals detected, the one-time dose would be enough to have removed most or all of the metals. I am currently underway to getting retested as I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and would like to rule these things out as potential contributors to my pain.

  • Leo

    Hello, how can I get rid of excessiv copper? Doctor said that my copper is to high (Hair Analysis) but not that high to prescribe me medication, but i am sure that the copper is causing my problems. Is taking zinc enough to flush out the copper?

    1. Gladys Akpan

      Did you find how to get rid of copper. My son’s copper is high as well.

  • Benjamin Cowles

    How do you know it was the sardines?

  • michael

    Hello my fellow Rockers of the Heavy Metal …Anybody have any luck yet on chelating gadolinium out of their bodies? If so, what were your symptoms before you did it compared to after? How high were your tested levels and what test did you use? How long after your exposure did you discover problem and detox it? Its way past time to get a real haircut, loose the leather pants, and break up the band.

  • Marilyn

    @ Jody I didn’t completely answer your question. I think it’s the IV chelating that they are saying is unethical. Here is another idea I just learned about on Dr. Mercola, L methylfolate, or 5-MTHF at a higher dose for detoxing metals. You wouldn’t have to buy his brand, there are less expensive brands even at the 5000 mcg dose he is recommending for detoxing mercury and other metals, as well as glyphosate.

  • Marilyn

    @ Jody Here are some thoughts as I have been doing a lot of research on heavy metal detox, and just started my own last week. If you have the funds, there are people who can coach you through the process. I watched a very long video on YT by a coach named Wendy Myer and read some of her stuff and have ordered Panaseeda coriander seed oil and a mineral supplement based on her recommendations. I have also learned about the Cutler protocol which seems to make sense, but have not found a source of DMSA. All that said, I had a bottle of EDTA already and decided to make my own suppositories based on some testimonials I read. I used EDTA 600 mg, glutathione 500mg, and a liver rescue supplement I had in a base of coconut oil. (1 capsule of each per suppository). I used that three days in a row at night (as a suppository) and took activated charcoal orally and one morning I also took Pectasol C. For those three days I felt like something was a bit off with my brain, I had difficulty finding words and feeling focused. As soon as I stopped, I felt great. I have also found out that many of the supplements I already take are mild chelators: Biosil, NAC, chlorella (knew that), alpha lipoic acid, MSM, so I figure I have been chelating for years without realizing it. I think the bigger guns must have a bigger impact, such as the EDTA and DMSA (haven’t tried the latter though).

  • Jody

    I know this is old but I had to reply. I am even MORE confused after reading this along with all the comments. I read the link above saying The National Council Against Health Fraud believes that chelation therapy is unethical and should be banned? I have lead and mercury. I used DMSA for about 8 rounds but the depression got me. I dont know what to do at this point.

    If anyone reads this and has some ideas, feel free to post. I am trying to figure out the best route to take next.

    1. jeremy grogan


      It seems to me from my own experience, that staying with natural based supplements as chelators and binders are best, and not to do the chemical chelators such as EDTA, DMPS, or DMSA, as they tend to put a high burden on the organs, in particular the kidneys. I released so much metal with the EDTA, I had problems with my vision while it was circulating throughout my body, and I have also suffered kidney damage because of the high burden the metal places on the organs, and sometimes the body cannot keep up with the rate that we release the chemicals or metals we try to detox.

      I have been living with heavy metal poisoning since 2011 when I had a surgery to repair bone that was broken, the orthopedic surgeon mixed nickel plated stainless steel with titanium, and needless to say it really got to me, as a matter of fact it nearly killed me. Every persons body is unique, so what works well for one person might not work well for you.

      I have dealt with depression, and I believe the depression has been an over all result of the actually being poisoned, and then attempting to chelate and remove that metal causes me even more depression. Glutathione is a big one for me, so I handle it the best way I know how, a little bit at a time, and whatever I can do to counter act those negative effects, even if it is trying to watch a movie, or talk with someone. I get tempted to give up, because I get tired of dealing with it over and over, but I would personally suggest to you to not give up. Go low, and slow, and when you start to feel better after you have done a small amount of chelating then try it again after you’ve gotten some rest, it is going to be a long hard process, so don’t give up.

      Find a way for you to chelate a little at a time, and take your binders like chlorella, clay, and charcoal, and try to sweat when you can, and eat as best as your diet will allow you to being sick. Get plenty of rest, and be ready for a long hard battle, try a day or two of chelating, then the rest of the week off, start low and slow. For what it’s worth, look at where you are now, compared to where you were when you started. It’s going to take a long time to get all the metal out, be patient with it, and try not to over do it, because it can cause more harm than good. I’ve been living with it for 7 years, and I do feel better now than when I was at my sickest, it just takes time.

  • David

    I had mercury toxicity issues from my dental filling, compromised fish/seafood and vaccines. I have been using organic selenium yeast and it has been beneficial for my mercury levels and it was a very affordable. My inflammation and fatigue is a thing of the past. One does not really understand how terrible heavy metal toxicity can be until you personally go through it.

  • Theresa Geiger

    what did you do for it?

  • Lee novak

    I see advice here that one should not try to remove mercury from their body unless they have had all their fillings removed.

    I had over 30 fillings and still have 7 left. Trying to replace the amalgam with resin can cause more contamination plus you may weaken the tooth and it may fracture later.

    Here’s the deal. Even if you have some amalgam in your mouth, that is not the problem. You need to remove the mercury in your cells first as that is where the true harm is being done. Yes you may leach out a very slight amount from your filling but not nearly the rate it will be removed from your soft tissues.

    Once you have removed all or most of the soft tissue mercury you can just continue to take chelators at the lesser amount as maintenance to keep the fillings erosion in check.

  • Penny

    The quack watch comment guy is an idiot. Stephen Barrett is a liar in my opinion and quoted that stupid article proves you simply cannot do your own research, think independently or even do basic internet research. How embarrassing

  • Walter K

    My mistake – amalgam was mentioned as a source. The warning not to chelate with it in place needs to be added though as far as I can tell.

  • Walter K

    I scanned this list and did not see dental amalgam listed as not only the largest source of mercury for many people but also a required warning to not use ANY chelator of any form if you have dental amalgam anywhere in your mouth. You will make yourself sicker if you do.

  • Brendan

    Did you do chelation or just saunas? I was poisoned by gadolinium as well. I’m currently on a whole food plant base diet and doing daily sauna sessions and did you have any symptoms from the gadolinium?

  • Suzannah White

    Martha – Biosil (silica supplement) is good at removing Aluminium. Please make sure you take Pectasol C (modified citrus pectin) as well because it will bind/excrete the mobilised Aluminium. Look for Wendy Myers heavy metals detox video on YouTube for more details.

  • Jason Hommel

    A good way to get ala into the body is green smoothies, in a blender. To this, you can add orange peel. You also don’t mention iodine, a wonderful detoxing metal; an essential metal. I suggest swinging by my FB and reading my iodine note, with plenty of references.

  • Mike

    I had high gadolinium levels from an MRI. I sweated everyday using an infrared sauna for half a year and my gadolinium levels are now zero. I did a heavy metal challenge test before and after, and gadolinium is part of the list of elements analyzed.

  • Swanson Richard

    The contrast agent used with MRI’s contains Gadolinium which is highly toxic and produces terrible symptoms. It collects in the brain, the bones and the liver. Does anyone know of a specific chelator for this heavy metal?

  • An-Marie

    What is low dose pulsed chelation ? For example with alpha lipoid acid or NAC ? Thanks !

  • Mike

    I took this daily for 3-4 months for aluminium reduction:
    – 2x 250mg silica, bamboo (tabashir); Lindens brand
    – 5x 9mg silica; vegetal orthosilicic acid; Flora brand
    – 5x 800mg malic acid; Nature’s Life brand

  • Martha

    Hello Mike,
    I’m wondering if you could let us know where you purchased the silica that you used to detox aluminum. Thanks!

  • Sean

    Might be good to add natural chelator too like Lactoferrin (mostly for high iron levels) and Diamotaceous Earth.

  • John Macgregor

    After belonging to various anti-mercury cults, it’s nice to have had a long break & to get a fresh look via Joe’s research.

    Reading back on my old ‘mercury diaries’, chelating the HMs did improve my health in quite a few areas. Now I feel like giving it another shot.

    The Cutler/ALA/DMSA (both oral) approach works for me. Cutler has many citations in his books, for those interested. Tho, yes, he is abusive to anyone who disagrees with him, which is unfortunate.

    Mercury (in the thimerosal preservative) has supposedly been removed from flu vaccines now, except multi-shots. However if I were contemplating a flu vaccine, I would triple check.

    The Cutler followers caution greatly against doing challenge tests or chelation via injectable DMPS. many stories from people whose lives have been ruined this way, Oral is much safer.

  • Sita Clark

    I believe it is critical to present this information with information about specific genetic mutations like MTHFR and CBS. When looking at heavy metal toxicity, the first questions should be “where did it come from?” AND “why is my body unable to get rid of it?” In my experience (with myself and my child), MTHFR mutations can impair the methylation pathway’s ability to remove toxics. You can begin gentle chelation simply by supplementing the deficient nutrients (primarily B12, B6 and methylfolate). The CBS mutation however can make people very sensitive to the sulfur-based supplements and pharmaceuticals you mention. What I always thought was a detox reaction turns out to have been my CBS mutation turning sulfur into ammonia. Last time I have had great luck with a tincture called NDF made by BioRay (the chlorella in it is high sulfur but you take it in such small quantity that it hasn’t bothered me). NDF is expensive but it does have clinical trials showing that it works really, really well (better than the chemical chelators in removing arsenic). I have found a less expensive alternative brand but I haven’t tried it yet (and am not remembering what it is at the moment).’s Ammonia Support can also help those with CBS mutation to deal with the resulting ammonia. It has been a godsend for me.

  • Dr. Areti Kontogeorgou-Fitsioris Clinical Ex. Physiologist, NMD

    In nowadays, there is a plethora of electronic information on any health subject with or without documentation. We are blessed to be exposed to them and even more blessed because we can practice critical thinking. However, when it comes to health and public safety we need to be really careful, as blockers and as Physicians. Please talk about any health info/treatment with experienced Medical providers, or with Physicians who are trained in these therapies like NMDs (Naturopathic Medical Doctors). I do not want to be the devil’s advocated but I need to say that chelation therapies work really well and they are safe when they applied under supervision by trained NMDs. I witness many positive results as a student Clinician in Bastyr CLinic in Seattle. I would kindly advise all of you to bring your questions to your NMDs or well-trained Docs in this area (chelation therapies). There is a small number of research articles, but very promising, on PubMed for those who want more info. I can provide some of them upon request. Before, I finish I’d like to apologize for my poor syntax and grammar. I will not be able to follow this interesting conversation but I will be able to answer any comment on my messenger on my professional FB

  • James Wagner

    Andy Cutler as far as I’m aware, never cited a single research paper or study. He made many claims without reference or citation, and when questioned on his claims would become aggressive. One of these days I’m just going to collect every single thing Andy has said, and validate or debunk it through citation and be done with it. He did push ahead a lot of uneducated and dangerous ideas, not based on science or fact but his own speculation, such as feeding large amounts of folic acid to those with a double MTHFR mutation, saying he didn’t believe MTHFR was significant, this would lead to a large build up of anti-folate waste material.

    Either way, his pushing forward the concept of redistribution is enough of a contribution to medicine for a lifetime. It’s still not being practiced in mainstream medicine, but those who are doing it at home are far safer for it. I do believe he highballed the estimated half life, he didn’t use any hard numbers or calculations figuring this out, he even admitted this, that optimally 15 minutes would be the appropriate half life redoing period but was impractical as it would limit ones ability to eat or sleep.

  • gwen

    hey, you might wanna add this 🙂
    (PS: Quicksilver Scientific sells IMD for this purpose)

  • Sam

    Charcoal and bentonite clay are good, BUT they will remove other beneficial trace minerals, they will deplete your body.

  • Sam

    I just had a hair analyses done after consuming Crown Prince Sardines (a can or two) everyday for a few month. My Arsenic is through the roof 95th percentile and Mercury 68th percentile, total 68th percentile. Doctor’s Data Lab. Just beautiful….

    These companies should be hanged for reselling the poison. They should test the food they’re reselling for heavy metals. They do have the money for this test.

  • Mike

    I had levels of Aluminium 4 times higher than normal. I returned to normal levels after 3-4 months by supplementing with Silica and Malic Acid which are Aluminium chelators (I have since stopped consuming processed cheese and deodorants containing aluminium)

  • JJ

    You can add gadolinium to your list of heavy metals. This material is used in injected MRI contrast, eg Optimark. Two injections within six months made me very ill, as if I had flu. My advice: just say no to contrast.

    Also, if you have mercury fillings, do not attempt chelation unless they are removed first.

  • Ted

    Read the literature more. Low dose pulsed chelation with ala is safest. Double thiol chelates are safer and avoid pooling than excess glutathione which does can and does pool metals in lover and kidney. I researched to validate ACC chelation. Cilantro and selenium are contraindicated when doing double thiol chelation for ex.

  • Living Healthy 4 God

    A major exposure to mercury is vaccines, especially the flu vaccine.

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