Heavy Metal Detoxification /

Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance: Overview

There are many individual and combination over-the-counter products available on the market to help deal with the problem of heavy metals.  Many of the individual components of a heavy metal detoxification protocol are discussed under that condition.

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Most – if not all – of the natural treatments are mild-acting or mostly of a supportive nature.  More aggressive and yet safe treatment options should include the alternative medical use of strong metal chelators such as DMPS (2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid) or DMSA (2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid).

Why it is Recommended

Even though a medical doctor may not feel you have a problem until symptoms of poisoning are obvious or significant, some heavy metals such as mercury have no desirable place in your body.  Most alternative doctors will be able to tell if your body burden of metals is high enough to warrant treatment and how aggressive that treatment should be.

Some patients should have their mercury amalgams removed: this should be done by a dentist who will follow a safe protocol for the removal to avoid further mercury exposure.  Consider using DMPS or DMSA at the time of removal, if available.  In 80 patients with dental amalgam fillings and symptoms attributed to chronic mercury toxicity, 100mg per week of DMPS with 100mcg per day of selenium reduced symptoms after an initial 300mg DMPS oral challenge.


DMPS and DMSA (prescription drugs) are used by alternative doctors for challenge testing (determining the body content of metals), and for treatment.  In many cases, a detoxifying regimen using supportive natural chelators and a modified diet is recommended.

Reliable heavy metal removal should involve the use of more aggressive/safe chelators such as DMPS and DMSA [DMPS, Scientific Monograph: Dimaval (DMPS). 1997, Houston Tx: Heyltex Corp.; DMSA, a non-toxic, water soluble treatment for heavy metal toxicity. Alt Med Rev, 1998. 3(3): pp.199-207].  Some OTC products contain small amounts of EDTA, a general purpose chelator.  There is some controversy over how useful it is when used orally and EDTA is much less effective for mercury removal than DMPS or DMSA.

Caution should be exercised when taking chelators for extended periods of time as other minerals (beside heavy metal minerals) may be adversely affected.  The strong metal chelators DMSA and DMPS must be used under a doctor's supervision.

An increasing number of doctors are using Alpha Lipoic Acid concurrently with the strong chelators DMPS or DMSA.  A typical program is 100mg alpha lipoic acid with 100mg DMSA every 4 hours for 3 days, or 100mg alpha lipoic acid every four hours with 100mg DMPS every 8 hours for 3 days.

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Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance:

Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance can help with the following:



Some doctors have reported arrhythmias improving after mercury amalgam filling removal and systemic treatment with heavy metal chelators. [Alternative Medicine Digest]

Environment / Toxicity

Copper Toxicity

If copper levels are very high, treatment with DMSA, penicillamine or EDTA may be needed.


Female Infertility

Investigate the possibility of heavy metal intoxication, which may affect ovulation.  A hair analysis can reveal heavy metal poisoning.

Organ Health

Chronic Renal Insufficiency

A study evaluated 272 men and women with chronic renal failure and found that there was a significantly increased risk from exposure to lead, copper, chromium, tin, mercury, welding fumes, silicon containing compounds, grain dust and oxygenated hydrocarbons.  Occupational exposures were high amongst patients with diabetic nephropathy.

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Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance can help prevent the following:


Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is almost certainly caused by oxidative stress aggravated by metal toxicity.  People who live in areas where the aluminum content of the drinking water is high have an excessive risk of developing Parkinson's disease.  Recent research has linked high aluminum levels in drinking water to acid rain that leaches the aluminum out of the soil and transfers it to the ground water.  Other metals are also implicated.

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