Please meet David Hammond, author of the remarkable new book Mercury Poisoning: the Undiagnosed Epidemic. I’m still reading the Kindle version but already after reading a quarter of the book have learned some things that have transformed my understanding of the illness I’m suffering from (will post about those insights later). For now, let me just encourage you to read this superb book with me (and post your reviews on Amazon as a thank you to David). Here are the headlines of David’s story in his own words:
When I was in my mid-20s I worked in a steel mill in the desert town of Whyalla in South Australia. I stood close by as molten steel was poured from a 100-ton vat into smaller ingots of about 10 tons. After it was poured, it was my job to apply clay to seal the cracks that formed in the ingots, so that the steel didn’t leak out. Even in the middle of summer I wore a thick woolen coat and a plastic visor to protect myself against splashes of steel.
One day in the middle of a shift, I suddenly felt extremely tired and sat down behind a girder to rest. Somehow I managed to fall asleep in the midst of the chaos and noise. The foreman found me just after I had woken. He was livid as I had held up production, but he saw how ill I was and didn’t fire me. The next day I woke with a dozen ulcers in my mouth and throat, pain in the lymph glands in my groin and armpits, a metallic taste in my mouth and diarrhea that resulted in more than ten bowel movements per day.
These symptoms were constant for several months and then became intermittent. I would have a relapse every month or six weeks which would last for ten days to two weeks. A bout was preceded by a metallic taste in my mouth and depression, and then the ulcers, lymph pain and diarrhea would set in.
I went to a number of doctors and specialists but no-one could give me a diagnosis. This was in the days before the internet – so I spent a lot of time in the medical library at the local university researching possible causes. One of the possibilities was mercury poisoning, as my symptoms were consistent with mercury toxicity, but I couldn’t figure out how I could have gotten mercury poisoning from steel, which is basically iron and carbon. About ten years after I became sick I had all my amalgams replaced, but I didn’t notice any improvement in my symptoms.
Over decades, the intensity of some of my symptoms decreased, but at the same time I developed chronic fatigue and my insomnia got worse. I was extremely thirsty and would drink four or five liters of water a day. I also had a constant pain in my face from sinusitis that nothing would relieve and frequent abdominal discomfort of an unknown origin. I was anxious and avoided company.
Fortunately, about 30 years after I became sick, I read an article on a website about a new law that was to be implemented in steel mills in the US. The government had decided that cars must have all the mercury switches removed before they are scrapped. About 25 to 30% of the iron in steel comes from scrap metal, and the main source of scrap metal is cars. So now I knew how I had been poisoned and this lead to the frequent chelation group and Andy Cutler’s protocol.
Below is my hair test after I had done only a few rounds of 12.5 mg DMSA. I apparently had normal cell transport but high levels of many of the toxic elements.
After chelating for a year, some of the toxic elements decreased but nickel increased dramatically. I eventually realized this was because of my medic-alert necklace, which was crusted with a green oxide from perspiration. The necklace contained nickel which I absorbed through my skin. I replaced the necklace with a leather band, and a year later nickel had returned to a normal level.
Supplementation with numerous vitamins and minerals moved the essential elements to the right.
For the first year of chelation I only used adrenal extract for adrenal support as I couldn’t get a prescription for hydrocortisone. I finally found an online supplier that did not require a script and started at 30 mg of HC per day. This was the amount I needed to maintain my body temperature at 37.0° C. As I continued to chelate there were times when my body temperature would increase to 37.3° C and I knew it was time to reduce my dose of HC. After 2.5 years on HC I am down to 10 mg of HC per day.
Like everyone else, I was worried about taking HC and was concerned about keeping the dose to a minimum. Now I am of the opinion that it is important to dose according to symptoms, rather than an arbitrary figure. Cortisol is required for the utilization of thyroid hormones and if the dosage is not optimal I think it will delay our recovery.
After 3.5 years of chelation I guess I am 70 to 80% better.
- sleep much better, wake less and feel refreshed in the morning
- balance is normal
- thirst almost normal
- sometimes fatigue in the afternoons and post-exercise, but nothing like the complete exhaustion I use to experience
- able to drink one or two beers without adverse effects
- no sinus problems
- skin is not itchy
- no longer have periods where I can’t focus my eyes
- less impatient
- no anxiety
- only occasional postural hypotension
- less tension in shoulder/neck muscles
I was probably exposed to a higher level of mercury than most people due to my industrial exposure and dental amalgams. I anticipate that I will need to do another couple of years of chelation to remove the rest of the heavy metals in my body. Currently I am taking 100 mg DMPS and 150 mg ALA every three hours when chelating.