The Health Hydra (3 of series): Chelation

This is part 3 of a 3-part series. The other posts are here and here.

Most people give their advice and then remind us that they are not a doctor and we should seek qualified help before applying thier suggestions. I'm going to put that right up front. DO NOT attempt to self-diagnose a heavy metal toxicity via Google; get tested, get advice, by all means check that advice against what is said on the web, including here. As with the previous post in this series, this article on heavy metal chelation is a collection of information  that I have gleaned with personal research on websites of various types. I am not a doctor; I haven't even spoken to a health professional of any stripe about ths stuff. I just find it fascinating, and thought you might agree.

As I relayed previously, heavy metals are a common toxin in modern Western life. Modern Western diets  leave us nutrient deficient; modern Western drugs damage our guts, impeding digestion and nutrient absorption; and modern Western lifestyles put us in a constant state of fight or flight which wreaks havoc with our endocrine system, raises our need for nutrients, and lowers our tolerance for toxins. It's a pickle, for sure. The health hydra must be conquered one head at a time: toxins and stress must be reduced, and nutrients, excercise and rest increased. It's a whole-life overhaul, and there are a lot of resources you can tap into if you feel you need to do it. Assuming you've gone package-free for food, kicked sugar, hacked sleep, and found some fun, you can think about ridding yourself of some toxic baggage. This is known as cleansing, and cleansing of metals is called chelation (to oversimplify a bit).

There are oral, topical and intravenous (IV) chelation methods, but most people not dealing with extreme  cases appear to have the best access/results ratio with the oral method.

It is important to have a high-protein diet before and during chelation, as the sulphur-bearing amino acids in the protein will greatly facilitate detoxification. Your ability to clear toxins will be impaired if you do not have adequate fat from unprocessed healthy oils to support digestive function.

It is probable that when metals are removed from the body both parasite and fungal populations increase. The metal toxins in the body tend to hold parasite populations in check, such that many pharmaceutical parasiticides contain serious amounts of toxic metals. Those struggling with candida albicans should be particularly aware of this; people contemplating heavy-metal chelation treatments should be tested and treated for fungi and/or parasites prior to chelating toxic metals. If you have been on the oral contraceptive pill your gut flora will be out of kilter, making you more prone to yeast overgrowth (candida).

Take probiotics; it is vital to have an optimized bowel flora for detoxification. Note that drug-induced gut imbalance is especially intractable. Nevertheless, maintain two to three bowel movements per day. If you think this is an impossible fantasy in the magnitude of flying blue dragons, have your thyroid status checked; hypothyroidism is a common cause of sluggish bowels. It is very common for mercury to affect the thyroid. If your thyroid function is fine then you should add some magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is also a frequent cause of constipation.

Ensure you have a generally healthy micronutrient base. Enzymes have certain binding sites that require a metal for them to perform their function as a catalyst. When you are deficient in magnesium, sodium, zinc and other minerals, the body does not let go of the toxic metals very easily because the body works better with toxic metals than no metals at all. Selenium and zinc are particularly important trace minerals in mercury detoxification.

Micronutrient chelators:
  • A mineral-rich diet acts as a chelating agent. Just as lead will displace calcium, calcium is an excellent nutrient to utilize for displacing mercury and lead. Utilizing a combination of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, is even more effective and will avoid an imbalance in your calcium/magnesium ratio. Good sources of bioavailable minerals are bone broth and raw sea vegetables.
  • Increasing vitamin C intake is a reasonable, cost-effective way to control toxic metal levels and the risk of the common cold.
  • Usually the people who are the most deficient in sulphur will be the most sensitive to metal toxicity and vice versa. Lead, mercury and cadmium steal sulphur amino acids (methionine, cysteine, and taurine) from important proteins. Conversely, sulphur is needed in the liver detox pathway to hook onto these metals and clear them from the body. A depletion of sulphur will also adversely affect joint connective tissue growth, since sulphur is an essential precursor to the building blocks of cartilage. B1 is one of two vitamins containing sulphur, the other is Biotin. Good sources are egg yolks, garlic, kelp, kale, turnip, raspberries, onions, cabbage, and mustard. MSM is a supplemental form of sulphur which will help your body to remove mercury.
  • Zinc is important for proper functioning in a host of major metabolic pathways. Symptoms of lead toxicity are similar to zinc deficiency symptoms because lead can bring on a zinc deficiency by destroying the zinc-dependent enzymes. Zinc is called “the intelligence mineral” as it is intimately involved in mental development.  (See the section on Zinc deficiency in Part 2.)

Dietary chelators:

Binds to heavy metals
Juiced raw organic greens
binds to metals, facilitate their clearance through the liver, and help draw them out of the body
Oat bran, apple pectin, chlorella
Montmorillinite clay
Binds extremely well to toxins and metals for clearance
specially processed fine clay
Milk Thistle (silymarin marianum)
many times more potent in antioxidant activity than vitamin E, supports the liver by protecting GSH (glutathione) which is destroyed by lead
Powdered, tea or tincture
Research has found chlorella capable of removing heavy metals (such as cadmium, lead and mercury), certain pesticides (such as DDT), herbicides, and polychlorbiphenyls (PCBs) from the body's tissues, while strengthening the immune system response. It is also a fibrous material that greatly augments healthy digestion, improving bad breath or constipation
specially processed green algae
stimulates the body's release of mercury and other heavy metals from the brain and CNS into other tissue

Nettles & Alfalfa
aid in detoxifying by denaturing the toxins, protecting and restoring normal cellular functions while promoting elimination

Whether any one patient needs all of those measures is unlikely. The overall approach appears to be that our bodies benefit from a little help in mobilising heavy metal out of our tissues, a whole lot of emphasis is put on trapping it, and the excretory pathways will need support in processing it.

Many people are sensitive to oral cilantro, like chlorella (see below). So, if you develop any nausea or discomfort after eating cilantro do not use it orally.

Chlorella will thoroughly coat your intestine and bind like a sponge to any mercury that the chelation liberates into the gut. Once the mercury burden is lowered from the intestines as a result of improved elimination, mercury from other body tissues will more readily migrate into the intestines -- where chlorella will help to remove it. Building up levels of chlorella sufficient for this detoxification of heavy metals and other chemical toxins in the blood will take 3-6 months, depending on the dosage taken. Be sure to take it with plenty of water and increase magnesium if constipation develops. (Once again we find reference to the importance of bowel regularity and the surprising effects a dearth of it can have.)

Chlorella dosages for chelation support:
Sensitivity test
If no problems, increase over 1-2 weeks to recommended dose
Minimum dose
No noticeable changes likely
Prevents hangover
Supports liver function
Maintenance dose
Noticeable improvements in energy, digestion and elimination
Positive lab test for mercury

Chlorella can be taken at any time of the day and is safe for children of all ages. However, there are a few caveats to its use:
  1. Chlorella contains iron and can actually raise iron levels excessively. Have your serum ferritin level and total iron binding level tested first and occasionally.
  2. 1 in 4 people can’t tolerate chlorella. This may be due to a cellulase insufficiency. If this applies to you, consider adding a digestive enzyme supplement with cellulase in it to help digest the chlorella.
  3. Nausea or "chlorella burps" point to a food sensitivity which will only get worse if chlorella use is continued.
  4. Chlorella causes the Lactobacilli bacteria in our stomachs to multiply at 4 times the rate of normal, so it is best to take it with meals to improve nutrient uptake.
Is anyone still reading at this point? (That's an honest question.) For now, I think I've scratched my itch as far as this topic goes. I'm thinking about another post on fungal and parasite cleansing, but that will come later. I'm tickled to have been mentioned by The Whole Food Project on their Facebook page, and expect that some new eyes will be looking at this blog in the near future, looking for food. I can do food!

Are there any topics you'd like me to dig into and post about? Leave a comment and, if it sounds like a good fit for Leto's Passion I'll be happy to get Googling on your behalf!

REFERENCES (same as in part 2) (relates particularly to IV chelation)

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