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Life Extension Magazine

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May 2001

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Mercury Detoxification

Purging the body of excess mercury is a complex process that should be overseen by a physician with specialized expertise in mercury detoxification. In this issue, we provide a list of dietary supplements, drugs and blood-urine tests that doctors use to facilitate mercury detoxification. What follows are additional steps that should be followed (under a physician's supervision) for complete mercury detoxification.


Avoid all sugar and milk, limit all processed foods and most grains, especially wheat.

A high protein diet will provide sulfur bearing amino acids to greatly facilitate detoxification. Do not attempt to fast during DMPS mercury detoxification. If you are a vegetarian you will be at high risk for complications from DMPS unless you have a large amount of protein.

To add the right form of protein, whey is suggested to boost glutathione and provide branched chain amino acids. Two large tablespoons of a highly concentrated whey isolate are used per drink to be taken once a day for the first week and then twice a day for the week prior to DMPS chelation.

Note: Autistic children can’t use this product, as it contains casein. They can use pure branched chain amino acids. You can start with one capsule twice daily and mix with food. Work up to two capsules twice a day for the week prior to DMPS chelation.

Beneficial bacteria

Take four capsules a day of a high potency/ high quality strain of beneficial bacteria such as that found in the Life Flora product made by Source Naturals. It is vital to have an optimized bowel flora for detoxification.

Digestive system

Because mercury is also eliminated via the fecal route it is important that you have two to three bowel movements per day. Freshly ground flax seed several teaspoons per day will facilitate intestinal movement and also contribute some healthy essential fatty acids. High dose vitamin C and mineral salts (magnesium and potassium) on an empty stomach will also stimulate peristalsis to induce multiple bowel movements throughout the day.

Check the endocrine system

Mercury is toxic to the endocrine system with high affinity for pituitary and thyroid glands. Make certain that your thyroid status has been checked using Free T3, Free T4, TSH blood tests as well as axillary basal metabolic morning temperatures before commencing detoxification. Conservative estimates are that more than 60 million Americans have a thyroid hormone deficiency. Many of these hypothyroid patients have been told by traditional testing methods and traditional physicians that their thyroid function is normal. Mercury almost always affects the thyroid!

Unload the connective tissue with chlorella or chitosan

Chlorella and chitosan are an important part of the detoxification program, as approximately 90% of the mercury in our bodies is eliminated through the stool. Chlorella is an algae and, unlike chitosan, has high protein levels of chlorophyll and other nutrients that can be used for nourishment.

The chlorella powder is the most cost effective approach but some people will prefer the tablets or capsules for convenience. A simple way to dissolve the powder is to place it in a container with a lid partially filled with water. Then tighten the lid and shake to dissolve and drink the solution.

Caution: About 30% of people can’t tolerate chlorella. This may be due to optimized function of the enzyme cellulase. If you are unable to tolerate this it would be wise to consider adding an enzyme with cellulase in it to help digest the chlorella.

Dose: One can start out with one quarter of a teaspoon of the powder (one 500 mg tablet) once a day initially to confirm that there is no hypersensitivity present. Work up slowly over one to two weeks to a dose of one teaspoon (ten tablets or capsules) per day. Once you tolerate this dose you are able to use it to bind the mercury. Use this dose starting two days prior to your chelation and for one day afterwards. The chlorella will thoroughly coat your intestine and bind like a sponge to any mercury that the DMPS liberates into the gut.

The above dose is based on a 150 pound adult. If you are using the program for children reduce the dose proportionately. (So a 30 pound child would have 30/150 or 1/5 (20%) of the dose).

Caution: If at any time one develops nausea or starts “burping up” the chlorella taste then the chlorella should be stopped immediately, as a food sensitivity is developing that will only worsen if you continue taking it. If this happens you should switch to ProChitosan. This binds similarly to mercury. Its dose is dependent on your bowel movements.

If you have one bowel movement a day or less you should start two days prior to the DMPS. If you have two or more bowel movements you can start 24 hours prior to the DMPS. Stay on it for 24 hours after the DMPS. So you will be on it either two or three days. The dose is two capsules three times a day. Be sure to drink it with plenty of water and increase magnesium if constipation develops.

Porphrazyme from Biotics Research is another alternative to chlorella that many clinicians have had success with in mercury detoxification.

Sulfur supplement

It would be wise to start on garlic regularly to enhance sulfur stores. You can either use a high-allicin garlic supplement or get it in three cloves per day. Decrease the dose if your odor becomes socially offensive.

MSM (methylsulfonyl methane) is a form of sulfur that will help your body to remove the mercury. The initial dose is one capsule twice a day. Increase by one capsule a day until you are at three capsules twice a day. If you have root canals and are chronically sick you may want to increase to five capsules three times a day.


Cilantro will help mobilize mercury out of the tissue so the DMPS can attach to it and allow it to be excreted from the body. The best form of cilantro is a tincture.

The dose is one dropper applied on the wrists and rubbed in twice a day for the two weeks preceding the DMPS IV. It is used the morning prior to the DMPS chelation but can be stopped for the following two weeks. The tincture is also particularly useful for any joint pain and could be rubbed on the joint that is hurting as an alternative.

You can also augment the tincture by using the herb. It is not as potent, but it will certainly add to the program. However, like chlorella, many people are sensitive to oral cilantro. So, if you develop any nausea or discomfort after eating cilantro do not use it orally.

Mineral replacement

It is important to have a generally healthy mineral base. When you are deficient in magnesium, sodium, zinc and other minerals, the body does not let go of toxic metals like mercury very easily.

Selenium and zinc are particularly important trace minerals in mercury detoxification and should be used for most people.

Monitor your mineral dosing

It will be very important for your physician to monitor your mineral levels during the detoxification program. This should be done initially and at least every 6 to 12 weeks. High dose vitamins and minerals should be administered Intravenously (IV) after each DMPS treatment and as needed. It is difficult if not impossible to provide adequate mineral replacements solely from oral supplementation after receiving DMPS or DMSA.

Digestion and gall bladder support

Liver and gallbladder congestion are major issues in states of toxicity. To insure that your gallbladder bile flow is functional, take four tablets of Digest RC right before any fatty meal. This supplement provides a proprietary artichoke and black radish extract that stimulates bile acid flow from the gall bladder. Digestive enzymes should also be used before or right after each meal.

Other ways of stimulating bile flow include using taurine and butyric acid. Butyrex is a popular butyric acid supplement. The dose of the Butyrex initially is 1/8 to 1/4 of a capsule. Gradually increase the dose to five capsules three times daily. The Butyrex has a offensive odor that is lessened by keeping it in the freezer. Additionally inserting the powder in applesauce, raw honey or elderberry cough syrup may improve compliance.

Your ability to clear toxins will be impaired if you do not have proper fats to support digestive function. Your diet should contain adequate fat from unprocessed pure oils. Omega Nutrition, Flora or Arrowhead Mills offer sunflower, safflower and sesame supplements. Alternately, be sure your diet include fats naturally found in foods: seeds, nuts, avocado, free range organic poultry, eggs or meats.


Vitamin C and E. Take 5,000 to 10,000 total milligrams of vitamin C per day along with 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E.

It is very important to take 2000 units (typically five of the 400 unit capsules) of vitamin E the day of and the day after the DMPS injection, as this will decrease the side effects of the detoxification reaction considerably. You can also take 1 to 2 grams of vitamin C immediately prior to the DMPS injection.

Monthly DMPS injections, suppositories or transdermal

You should not have DMPS treatments if you still have amalgam fillings. If they have been removed the injections can be started by a trained and experienced physician as per protocol. Collection of the urine is then done to analyze how much mercury is being excreted. You must urinate completely prior to the DMPS injection.

A six hour urine test is then performed by the patient. The DMPS injections are generally given about six times or until the mercury level drops in accordance with the physician’s protocol. Remember, the World Health Organization states there is no safe level of mercury in the human body.

For pediatric patients

DMSA mercury detoxification is not recommended for pediatric patients. Since an IV is such a traumatic event for most children it is probably wise to use a rectal suppository version of DMPS.

Caution: It is very important to never receive DMPS nor EDTA chelation treatments when you still have mercury fillings in your mouth.

DMPS alternative

Some people do not tolerate DMPS well. This is especially true for those who have damage in the central nervous system, such as those with MS or ALS or children with fragile brain architecture. If this is the case there are several options. PCA (peptid clathrating agent) spray can be used. The dose is four sprays under the tongue every day or every other day. One may use a dipeptide amino acid or mixed mineral succinates such as Champion Nutrition Muscle Nitro.

A note of caution:

The doctors who provided this information on mercury detoxification (Charles Williamson, M.D. and Jordan Davis, M.D.) do not recommend any mercury detoxification procedures or mercury amalgam removal by any dentist, biologic, mercury free or otherwise or any other health care practitioner without first and foremost being under the direct care of a medical doctor who has been properly trained and has sufficient experience in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of mercury toxic patients. To do otherwise can often lead to serious metabolic and organ system dysfunction and failure.

The environmental effects of dental amalgam.

Dental amalgam is one of the most commonly used materials in restorative dentistry. However, one of its major components, mercury, is of particular concern due to its potential adverse effects on humans and the environment. In this review, the environmental impact of dental amalgam will be discussed, with particular reference to the effects attributed to its mercury component. Mercury commonly occurs in nature as sulfides and in a number of minerals. Globally, between 20,000 to 30,000 tons of mercury are discharged into the environment each year as a result of human activities. According to a recent German report, approximately 46% of the freshly triturated amalgam is inserted as new amalgam restorations and the rest is waste. Depending on the presence of an amalgam separating unit, some of the generated amalgam-contaminated sludge is discharged into the sewage system. Lost or extracted teeth with amalgam fillings and amalgam-contaminated waste, such as trituration capsules and cotton rolls are discharged with the solid waste and, in most instances, are incinerated. Use of disinfectants containing oxidizing substances in dental aspirator kits may contribute to remobilization of mercury and its subsequent release into the environment. Nevertheless, dental mercury contamination is only a small proportion of terrestrial mercury (3% to 4%), which is quite insignificant compared with industrial pollution and combustion of fossil fuels by vehicles. The environmental impact of dental mercury is mainly due to the poor management of dental amalgam waste. Proper collection of mercury-contaminated solid waste prevents the release of mercury vapour during combustion. In addition, the use of amalgam separating devices reduces the amount of amalgam-contaminated water released from dental clinics.

Aust Dent J 2000 Dec;45(4):246-9

Dental amalgam and mercury in dentistry.

Mercury in dentistry has re-emerged as a contentious issue in public health, predominantly because so many people are inadvertently exposed to mercury in order to obtain the benefits of dental amalgam fillings, and the risks remain difficult to interpret. This commentary aims to examine the issues involved in public policy assessment of the continued use of dental amalgam in dentistry. More than 30% of Australian adults are concerned about mercury from dental amalgam fillings but only a small percentage report having their amalgam fillings removed. The placement of dental fillings nearly halved between 1983 and 1997, but many millions of dental amalgam fillings exist in the Australian community. These fillings release mercury (mercury vapour or inorganic ions) at a low level (about 2-5 micrograms/day in an adult). Evidence on the health effect of dental amalgams comes from studies of the association between their presence and signs or symptoms of adverse effects or health changes after removal of dental amalgam fillings. More formal risk assessment studies focus on occupational exposure to mercury and health effects. Numerous methodological issues make their interpretation difficult but new research will continue to challenge policymakers. Policy will also reflect prudent and cautious approaches, encouraging minimization of exposure to mercury in potentially more sensitive population groups. Wider environmental concerns and decreasing tolerance of exposure to other mercury compounds (for example, methylmercury in seafoods) will ensure the use of mercury in dentistry remains an issue, necessitating dentists keep their patients informed of health risks and respect their choices.

Aust Dent J 2000 Dec;45(4):224-34

Relation between mercury concentrations in saliva, blood and urine in subjects with amalgam restorations.

The aim was to determine the relationship between mercury content of resting and stimulated saliva, and blood and urine. Eighty subjects participated; 40 of them attributed their self-reported complaints to dental amalgam (patients), the others were matched with respect to age, sex and amalgam restorations (controls). Serum, 24 hour urine, resting and chewing stimulated saliva were analyzed for mercury using the ASS-technique. Quality, number, surfaces and total area of amalgam fillings were recorded clinically and using study models. Median (range) mercury levels in serum were 0.67 (0.1-1.52) microgram/l for patients and 0.60 (0.1-1.3) for controls. In urine levels were found to be 0.77 (0.11-5.16) and 0.94 (0.17-3.01) microgram/g creatinine respectively. No significant differences were found between the groups. Resting saliva contained 2.97 (0.10-45.46) micrograms/l in patients and 3.69 (0.34-55.41) in controls (not significant). Chewing mobilized an additional amount of 16.78 (-6.97 to 149.78) micrograms/l in patients and 49.49 (-1.36 to 504.63) in controls (P < or = 0.01). Only a weak correlation was found between mobilized mercury in saliva and serum (r = 0.27; P < or = 0.05) or urine (r = 0.47; P < or = 0.001). For resting saliva the respective values were r = 0.45 (P < or = 0.001) and r = 0.60 (P < or = 0.001). Saliva testing is not an appropriate measure for estimating the mercury burden derived from dental amalgam.

Clin Oral Investig 2000 Dec;4(4):206-11