Heavy Metal Toxicity Basics & Where to Start

For anyone who has heavy metal toxicity and heavy metal related illness and disease, the information I know about heavy metals is a gold mine.

Just about any type of health problem or disease can be the result of heavy metal toxicity

The best and most accurate way to know if your body has heavy metal toxicity is with a Heavy Metals IV Challenge Test using 1500mg of Intravenous EDTA and a 500 mg oral dose of DMSA followed by a 6-24 hour urine collection. If this option isn’t possible because of geographic proximity for example, then a 6-24 hour Heavy Metals Challenge Test using oral DMSA is the next best.

Blood, hair and unprovoked urine is inaccurate and misleading when not used in collaboration with a Heavy Metals Challenge Urine Collection Test. If you are under the impression that you do not have heavy metal toxicity or are basing your treatment decisions on those test results then you need to be retested. The small investment ($150-300) is worth the accurate information. In fact, the accurate information will confirm which path you need to be on for health recovery. This test may be covered by your health insurance.

Doctors Data in Chicago, Illinois is the lab that has done my heavy metals challenge tests for the last 10+ years. If you have a respectable rapport with your existing doctor then his/her staff can contact Doctor’s Data direct and order the Heavy Metals Chelation Test Kit for you. The link for your doctor’s staff is: https://www.doctorsdata.com/how-to-order/

Getting retested is a hassle and surely the last thing you want to hear, especially if you have already paid a lot of money for blood, hair and unprovoked urine testing. I strongly encourage the proper testing. Many clients I have met have been on the wrong path because of inaccurate testing methods and their trust in that faulty information. When they got properly tested they got on the path their body needed. Within about 6-12 months of personally appropriate treatment to address and eliminate the heavy metals they were already doing better.

I have had to stick my neck out on many occasions to receive the medical care I felt my body needed. While it hasn’t made me very popular, certain doctors conceded or I would find someone else who would. Over the years certain doctors have witnessed my health recovery based on choices their training and education never taught them. It forced them to call into question their medical knowledge and training and are now more receptive to the patients who follow in my footsteps. Your willingness to stick your neck out and ask for what you need may, not only be valuable for your own health recovery, but it is also likely to benefit the patients who follow in YOUR footsteps.

If accurate testing (Provoked Urine Challenge test) reveals elevated heavy metals you will need to identify and remove the sources of the exposures. Do you know how you got that heavy metal toxicity? What were and are the source of exposures? You won’t be able to control all exposures, but you should be removing and eliminating everything you do have control of.

heavy metals cosmeticsA very reliable source of information for identifying the sources of toxic exposure for a given substance can be found in the reports made available, free of charge, by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Their link is:
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/index.asp

Chelating heavy metals and toxicity from your body while you continue to be exposed is akin to using your air conditioner in a heat wave with your doors and windows wide open. Or heating in the dead of winter in Alaska with your windows and doors open. Determine, remove and eliminate current exposures.

Elevated levels of heavy metals will also require that you find the best way to remove them from your body without setbacks and without causing further damage. One course of action may be all your body needs, or you may need to combine several methods to get the best results. Your choices include:

Medical chelators (BAL, DMSA, DMPS, EDTA, Penacillamine, intravenous glutathione)
Methyl donor supplements (Alpha Lipoic Acid/ALA, Chondroitin sulfate, Glutathione, Methionine, MSM, N-acetyl cysteine/NAC, SAMe, Taurine, very high levels of Vitamin C (intravenous or 2 grams per 2-3 hour window up to bowel tolerance) or Epsom salts baths.

Please see my other articles for more detailed information about medical chelators and methyl donor supplements.

There is no “one best way” to remove heavy metals. What works for one person will be disastrous for another. Your body is unique.

As the heavy metal levels decrease your body will function differently and your mental and emotional states will balance out. These improvements will make your day to day life experience more comfortable. Keep in mind though, that as your body function changes you may need to change your chelation and methylation approach to better fit the healing needs of your body and maintain progressive movement towards better health.

Look at and consider all the options. As heavy metals and toxicity decrease, your body function will change. An appropriate chelator or methyl donor at one time may be very inappropriate, or even harmful, at another time in the healing process. Adapt as much or as little as needed to support your body in its efforts to heal.

Leave no stone unturned. Allow your body’s voice to guide which direction is most appropriate.

Healing is not a Race
Health recovery is not a race, especially when it comes to removing heavy metals and toxicity from the body. Your body, like you, can only do so much work in a given time frame. Pushing your body harder and trying to force it to do the work faster will likely cause additional problems and could be dangerous.

Not only is chelation not a race, but chelation is not a competition to see how fast you can remove the heavy metals. Health recovery is not a game. Each person’s body is unique and requires very different care.

Simple Questions to Ask
1. Which heavy metals are too high in your body?

This should be determined by proper testing (IV urine provoked challenge using EDTA and oral DMSA). Heavy metals testing does not verify copper levels. You may need to get separately tested as copper can cause extremely problematic conditions in the body when it is elevated.

Nickel and mercury have a coactive relationship. If your nickel levels are high, but mercury low then your mercury levels are likely to increase, sometimes dramatically, as your nickel levels fall.

Cadmium and lead have a coactive relationship too. If your cadmium levels are high, but lead levels low, then your lead levels are likely to increase, often dramatically as your cadmium levels decrease.

These two coactive relationship patterns are not hard fast rules for everyone, but they are true for a great number of people and were true for my own body too. Pay attention to all the metal levels, not just the ones that are “scary” like mercury and lead.

Heavy metals are stored in different places and at different layers in the body. I always encourage and strongly suggest that people retest their heavy metals 4-6 months after their last chelation treatment for accurate heavy metal levels. It can take 4-6 months for heavy metals stored in the bones to download and be more accessible to chelation and chelation testing.

If at any point your original symptoms return or new symptoms arise then you should get retested immediately. Recommence chelation treatments if needed.

2. Are your two main excretory systems working properly (intestinal integrity for stool and kidney function for urine)?

Each medical chelator has a stronger affinity for different heavy metals. AND, each medical chelator uses a different excretory pathway for removing a given heavy metal from the body.

Which chelator best addresses your body’s biggest concerns?
Which chelator uses the excretory system that is most appropriate for YOUR body?

Is that excretory pathway in your body healthy enough to handle the task?
What types of additional support do your urinary and intestinal elimination systems need to handle the work? Both your weak and strong systems should be receiving additional support and help to do the huge workload of removing heavy metals and the rebuilding process.

3. What areas of your health are most effected (your physical body, mental and/or emotional states)?

It is important to know objectively which areas of your person are out of balance. The information will help you to identify if things are moving forward or declining backwards.

Pay attention to how treatments influence your problem areas and weaker systems.

Lifestyle should be a part of your decision making process to determine the best course of action. The best treatment will remove the heavy metals from your body without setbacks or further damage while also being the most suited to your budget, time, travel, work and lifestyle.

It is good to invest the time and energy in the beginning to determine the choice that fits both your body and lifestyle needs. While you may only need 1-3 years of treatment, chelation may become a way of life, for the rest of your life.

Back in 2006 I was told by professionals that my body needed 1-2 years of treatment. That was more time than I wanted to devote. I did only need 18 months of treatment to eliminate the more than 20x maximum levels of mercury, but underneath that mercury was a monumental amount of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals stored in the bones. Calcium and lead are structurally identical and the body will use and store lead in the bones if and when required. Even though they are structurally identical and used interchangeably in the bone, your body knows very well these are different materials and wants to remove the toxicity. It is now more than 10 years later and my body still requires medical chelation to eliminate the lead and cadmium. I have treatment every couple weeks now and am aware when the levels are rising too fast because my thoughts and emotional states shift and my auto-immune diseases become impossible to manage with the natural methods I know to work for my body.

Treatment needs will vary from person to person and vary based on age of exposure, duration of exposure, how and where the heavy metals were stored, body tolerance for treatment and medical conditions. Your healing will also be influenced by your body’s natural capacity to remove heavy metals with or without methyl donors which can work to enhance the effectiveness of medical chelation treatments.

One person’s miracle method will be disastrous or even dangerous for someone different

Symptoms are your body’s way of saying…“I need more help”

Pay attention to how your body is working and responding before, during and after treatment. When your body screams LOUDER then you need to stop, evaluate and make adjustments. Your body is usually whispering long before it screams. Try to hear and respond to the whispers before they become harrowing bellows. It screams because it needs help and because its needs are not being met. A scream may be experienced as pain, headaches, constipation, organ malfunction, fatigue, unreasonable anger, illogical anxiety, suicidal thoughts or any other body imbalance that is making your experience of life uncomfortable.

You may hate your symptoms, but in the effort to find solutions those symptoms are in fact your best and only ally. Those symptoms are like the raven who knows the way, calls out and wishes for you to follow.

Schedules and Protocols
Most medical chelators have an on/off schedule. Each treatment will be followed by a break of 2-10 days before the next treatment. The reason for this is because while medical chelators have a high affinity for heavy metals, they also remove essential and trace minerals that your body needs. The breaks between each treatment allow your body to finish removing the heavy metals it has mobilized and to allow it time to rebalance and replenish the necessary essential and trace minerals.

The frequency of chelation treatments for you personally should be based on the chelating agent used, medical condition(s), the levels of heavy metals and your body tolerance to the treatment.

Methyl donor supplements are typically taken every day simply because they are enhancing and accelerating natural pathways and body function.

I do not advocate one-size-fits-all protocol schedules simply because each person and situation is entirely unique (different metals, different health conditions and different tolerance levels). However, without knowing where to start a protocol can be a good platform from which to take the plunge. If you do use a protocol, start with the absolute lowest dose level to see how your body does. You can even just try a fraction of the absolute lowest dose. You can always increase later. Once you have tried it, if there are no serious problems or setbacks then increase a little bit. If you have problems, then decrease. Always use your body function and response as a guide as to what it can and can’t tolerate.

Outside Environmental Influences
Altitude, weather, seasons, moon cycles, solar activity and more are influencing your body function. If your body responds to treatment differently each time then begin to keep a log with the dates, times and body reaction to the treatment. Then look for the patterns which will reveal themselves.

I did this and noticed my body reacted most violently with setbacks and additional problems when treatments were on the day of, or the day before or after a full or new moon. Once I identified this possible pattern I began scheduling all my appointments outside of the new and full moon phases. Suddenly my body was literally sailing through the treatments with no problems at all or only very mild discomfort.

Put all the chips on your side of the table. A body will not receive maximum benefits from treatment if it is struggling to maintain harmony due to environmental influences.

Essential and Trace Mineral Supplementation
Removing heavy metals destabilizes body mineral levels
Essential and trace minerals must be a part of your daily regime. When essential and trace minerals are not as the body needs, additional symptoms and problems will result.

At one point a few years into treatment I began having the same horrible headaches I had experienced from the ages of 20-25. The front of my head hurt, my vision was not as it should be and my mind would be racing and spinning as if it was on rocket fuel. The only thing that relieved my symptoms was being in a dark room with total peace and quiet. The symptoms would last days or weeks without letting up. Since nothing had ever made any difference when I was younger I didn’t even bother to visit doctors when it recurred.

At one point I was investigating the different types of low dose lithium supplementation. I was researching the different types of lithium, but was coming up empty handed as to how the body used each one. In an effort to find more information I began reading the consumer product reviews and came across one by a man who described the same exact headache symptoms as the ones I had. I was absolutely dumbfounded. What a blessing that he took the time to share his experience for an Amazon product purchase. I immediately purchased that type of lithium at the lowest dose I could find it. It is always easier to increase a small dose rather than adjusting down. When it arrived I took the 5mg dose. Within an hour my head problem was gone. VANISHED. Not only was it gone, but I was as relaxed as I would have been on a private island paradise. It was pure heaven. Over the following week I experimented with the dose. Too much and I experienced different problems. Not enough and I would have the headache. My body needed just enough, but not too much. As time passed I only needed the lithium when I had a headache. Some people take aspirin for a headache, I take lithium.

A few years later while reading the book Pathways to Recovery by Dr Amy Yasko I came across her findings which seemed to explain why lithium helped my body. You may find this information as important and valuable as I did.

♥ Mercury excretion lowers body levels of lithium and iodine
♥ Lead excretion lowers body levels of calcium, strontium and boron

You may need more lithium and iodine if you are or were chelating out mercury and nickel (remember that nickel and mercury have a coactive relationship).

You may need more calcium, strontium and boron if you are or were chelating out lead and cadmium (remember that lead and cadmium have a coactive relationship).

What my body needs may not be appropriate for you
What is best for you may not be good for anyone else
Listen to your body – it knows and it will let you know

There are so many essential and trace mineral options now available. They come in liquids, powders, capsules, tablets or chewables. The different types of minerals are colloidal, ionic, chelated, glycinate, ascorbate, fulvic, humic, plant/sea/juice sourced minerals, herbal teas/supplements and more.

You may think that an essential and a trace mineral is just an essential or trace mineral. That is a very false assumption, but a logical one. The body and your internal bacterial and fungal environments recognize, respond, use or reject each form of essential or trace mineral in extremely different ways.

Use your hunches to make initial choices and these should make sense for you, your budget and lifestyle. Remember that price is not an indication of quality. The price is the result of the company mission statement, CEO, manufacturer and the product distribution pathway before it is available to the consumer. Try your choices one at a time to see how your body responds. I prefer not to suggest any type of product because each person has different needs and will respond entirely differently to each type of mineral. Be willing to experiment with dose, empty stomach or with food, throughout the day or just once a day?

Pay attention not only to body function and its physical response, but take notice of your mental and emotional states as well as behavior which are all effected by vitamin and mineral levels in the body.

I never expected or thought there was a difference until my body clearly screamed. A different type of the same mineral (for example colloidal versus ionic versus glycinate) would have me dropping to my knees in excruciating pain or other debilitating problems. I know mothers of children with learning disabilities will witness their children’s mental, emotional and behavioral states dramatically improve with only certain types of mineral supplements.

Pay attention to body function and comfort AND to mental, emotional and behavioral states up to 48 hours after the minerals have been ingested.

A natural whole and varied food intake along with herbs, juicing, vegetable and bone broths will increase the uptake of mineral supplements in your body. Cultured foods such as naturally cultured vegetables or cultured dairy products support healthy intestinal flora, which foster beneficial feedback loops for health recovery. You take care of the good bacteria and they will help take care of you.

There are so many options. Each will affect your unique body differently. Follow your hunches. Try them out and pay attention. If you know someone who is good at muscle testing you can try that approach too. Find personally appropriate products without losing a lot of money by locating product samples and ask resellers if they will take a return if the product is a problem for your body. If family and friends are using products they rave about, then ask them if they would be kind enough to give you a few days’ worth to try. There is nothing more frustrating than being sold an expensive product that causes problems rather than eliminates them. If your body screams, stop taking it. Resist the need to finish a product if it causes problems simply because it was expensive and you don’t want to waste it (me and many others know the feeling, but it isn’t worth it).

Make sure your mineral products do NOT contain fillers, sugar or additives

I take several different types of liquid and capsule minerals. Over time these have proven to keep my body more highly functional. My body needed all the support I could give it in order to manage more complex inner problems that I could not understand. One type of liquid mineral even eradicated a medical symptom, which returns instantly if I stop taking it. If I slack off the needed minerals my body is more prone to bacterial and viral infections, I am sick more frequently and my auto-immune conditions flare up.

My last thoughts and reminders
Address and remove the toxicity in a regular and consistent manner. Healing needs to be a lifestyle not a sporadic once yearly spring cleaning when problems again begin to fester.

What is miraculous for one person will be disastrous for another. If your body screams “NO”, then you need to honor that “no”. Even if 10 people swear by it. You will probably need to change and adjust your healing routine during the health recovery process to get to the next level of healing. What works at one point in the healing process may cause problems at another. AND what didn’t work in the past may now be the solution. Pay attention to how your body is working, re-evaluate systematically and adjust as needed.

Your body has a voice and that voice is wanting to be heard. In fact, that voice should be guiding your decision making process. My article “Your body has a voice. Are you listening?” has a great simple method to help you more clearly identify and hear that voice to better respond to your body’s needs. I know and believe you are your best expert simply because you live in your body 24/7 and knows its entire history. You hold the keys to the solution you are looking for. Use them.

It is important to see and understand the bigger picture of heavy metal toxicity in order to make the most personally appropriate decisions. Should you be overwhelmed with new information and lost in finding your way back to a normal life, then call me. I am a very strong ally with a lot of knowledge, experience and wisdom on multiple levels to get you from here to healing much faster.

smaller 2Warmest,  Krista Umgelter

 

♥ Medical Chelators (BAL, DMSA, DMPS, EDTA, Penacillamine, intravenous glutathione)
♥ Methyl Donor Supplements (Alpha Lipoic Acid/ALA, Chondroitin sulfate, Glutathione, Methionine, MSM, N-acetyl cysteine/NAC, SAMe, Taurine, very high levels of Vitamin C (intravenous or 2 grams per 2-3 hour window up to bowel tolerance) or Epsom salts baths.
♥ Methods for chelation administration such as transdermal, suppository, capsules, powder or liposomal means
♥ How to mobilize heavy metals for more effective chelation treatments
♥ Adjunct treatments to consider and include for health recovery to remain in a forward progressive direction towards best outcomes
♥ Heavy metal toxicity and its effects on infertility, miscarriage and birth defects
♥ When, how or if to remove your mercury dental fillings
♥ Where to get more information regarding heavy metals and toxicity
♥ Testing methods for heavy metals