I’m going to keep a list of the questions I’m getting asked by friends, family and others about heavy metal toxicity:
- How did you get tested and what kind of doctor did you use (mainstream/ alternative)?
- What is the best test for diagnosing heavy metals?
- How reliable is the urine challenge test?
- If I want to chelate, do I need to wake up at night?
- Where can I find Andy Cutler’s resume?
- Why should I avoid foods high in sulfur?
- What is methylation?
1. How did you get tested and what kind of doctor did you use (mainstream/ alternative)?
My tests were done by MD’s, the first one about six years ago by the famous Dr. Galland in New York City and the second one a few months ago by my general practitioner. Both doctors are the type who don’t accept insurance and charge hundreds of dollars an hour because they are open-minded. Generally I think doctors like that are referred to as Holistic or practicing Integrative Medicine.
My dad is a scientist so I grew up in a home where alternative medicine would not have been embraced. Now I think that one of the reasons it took me so long to discover the source my problems is that I only consulted MDs over the past 15 years. Had I visited a Naturopath and maybe a nutritionist, I’d have probably avoided wandering in the dark for so many years! I may have also avoided being hurt by doctors. I did a number of therapeutic trials guided by my MDs which were very intense and left me ‘never quite the same’. Those therapeutic trials include:
- powerful antibiotics to test the ‘hidden infection’ theory
- 30 days of diflucan to test the candida theory
- Medrol dose-pack to rule out lupus
- radioactive bone scan to test who the f*** knows
- CT scan to look for tumors on adrenal glands
- another CT scan at Mayo Clinic probably to rule out cancer
- two different powerful combinations of anti-parasitic chemicals (I can’t call these medications because they are poisons)
2. What is the best test for diagnosing heavy metals?
Chelation trials are the definitive test. Side effects or improvements with chelation confirms toxicity. But, all amalgam fillings must be removed before this test. If mercury is causing adrenal fatigue, it is poisoning your adrenals, pituitary and/or hypothalamus. The only way to chelate mercury out of those organs is with ALA. When you start chelation with ALA you will know whether or not mercury is causing you fatigue.
An essential elements hair test is very useful too. It’s inexpensive, easy to do and can be done right away with amalgams still in your mouth. If it shows deranged mineral transport, then there is a very large probability of mercury poisoning. There are other clues on the test that point to mercury. Hair tests will catch mercury in many cases. There are false negatives. Some with normal mineral transport turn out to respond and get better with chelation. You can order your own test (‘essential elements’ DDI test, use the AUT code for a discount) and interpret your own test results with this book.
There are some things that show up on a hair test that are helpful. It’s helpful to know your copper, arsenic and lead levels. Sometimes other metals show up. Sometimes you’ll find signs of adrenal fatigue, and other clues to your health issues.
3. How reliable is the urine challenge test?
First, the urine challenge test (my results here) is one that the average MD will not know anything about and would probably try to make you feel like an idiot for suggesting. Heavy metal toxicity is not their thing.
In some of his interviews Andy Cutler explains why challenge tests have little diagnostic utility.
- DMSA and DMPS only chelate from extracellular spaces. A one time challenge will only get a small bit of the metals there – not representative of body burden, and NOTHING from the central nervous system and brain where it makes a lot of people sick.
- Some people are more tolerant to heavy metals and some more sensitive. The tolerant ones can have high levels on a challenge test and not be sick. The sensitive ones can have a very small quantity of metals mostly in the brain and be very sick.
- Some people are not excreting metals well and will have low numbers on a challenge test but still be very toxic from the metals in their brain and organs.
4. If I want to chelate, do I need to wake up at night?
If you want to chelate safely, yes.
There are other protocols such as intravenous, but I will strongly caution anyone considering any “easier” or quick form of chelation to read Amalgam Illness before doing it. The problem with intravenous is that it pulls mercury and other metals out of the organs which is good, and all would be well if you could continue the IV for three or four days. But what happens is, you go home and the chelator gets excreted before it can finish removing the metals from your blood.
So you’ve got metals circulating in your blood and no more chelator. Then, they resettle in new places affecting new organs and you get sicker. This won’t happen to everyone of course, but it will happen to many. The doctors won’t tell you about it because they don’t even know about the havoc they wreak many times. And when they do know, they’ll just say something like “Well, it doesn’t work for everyone.”
I personally have been badly hurt by well-intentioned doctors. And they don’t really know about it because I haven’t told them. They don’t call six months later to find out how I’m doing and why I haven’t scheduled a new appointment. They’ve moved on to the next patient long ago. That’s my personal experience anyway and that’s why I prefer to follow Dr. Cutler’s protocol and not take a chance on the quick fix. I’ve tried to many of those already (not chelation treatments) and some of them have left me feeling like I never was the same again.
It’s a gaping blackhole for the doctors knowledge about the efficacy and safety of the treatments they prescribe.
I’m not talking about your average doctors either. My doctors have always been the sort that charge hundreds of dollars an hour and are theoretically well-informed. I even paid $800 to see Dr. Galland in New York. Spent almost $20,000 at the Mayo Clinic too… they all failed to put together the pieces of the puzzle when all the knowledge existed. I don’t have some exotic, never-seen-before illness. Heavy metal toxicity affects millions of people in the US.
Running through my three primary doctors over the years including Mayo Clinic, here’s where each of them failed:
- too young, lack of experience, failed to see my case as a mystery and take personal initiative to solve
- too comfortable with status quo, failed to research unusual case characteristics or take initiative
- narrowminded reliance on easy diagnosis of ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’
5. Where can I find Andy Cutler’s resume?
It’s on his website. Note he has a PhD from Princeton in chemistry. Admittedly not a beautiful website, but nevertheless, a very impressive guy. Reading his books has been very influential for me regardless of a few bad reviews on Amazon for organization and format.
6. Why should I avoid foods high in sulfur?
Mercury is known to cause intolerance to foods high in sulfur possibly because the sulfur binds Mercury enough to move it around in the body but not enough to get it out. You’ll find a low-sulfur food list here.
7. What is methylation?
Methylation is a central and vital process in the whole body and if it gets disturbed, all sorts of things go wrong. Mercury is known to disrupt this process. There are lots of different supplements that you can take to improve this, but the basic ones are: B vitamin complex, folate and vitamin B12. All of these are recommended by Cutler and you can learn the details here.