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Nutritional Mercury Detoxification Protocol

by Stewart Drage(more info)

listed in dentistry, originally published in issue 44 - September 1999

Around ten years ago I decided that there was sufficient evidence available to confirm my decision to become a mercury free dentist. This article does not concern itself with the ongoing controversy as to whether amalgam is a safe filling material, but discusses the general nutritional advice we give to our patients and the specific substances that we would like them to take during and after amalgam removal.

In order to prevent dental disease, dental treatment must operate to a very high standard. Much care needs to be taken to ensure patient comfort
In order to prevent dental disease, dental treatment must operate to a very high standard. Much care needs to be taken to ensure patient comfort
drage44b.jpg (2970 bytes) There is continued emphasis upon preventative care to try to eradicate dental decay and gum disease
There is continued emphasis upon preventative care to try to eradicate dental decay and gum disease

An enormous source of help in my research on this subject has been the work of Dr Hal Huggins, a dentist working in the USA. He has worked in the field of detoxification for over twenty years and produced many articles on the subject. Much of what we suggest to patients is based on his recommendation, particularly from his booklet entitled simply Detoxification. Experience over the last ten years confirms everything that he suggests.

When patients arrive at our practice they are usually feeling very poorly. We endeavour to boost their immune system initially by suggesting that they take colloidal vitamin and mineral supplements and a strong antioxidant if they are not already doing so. The natural chemical pycnogenol, which is found in pine bark has received very good press recently, and is said to be twenty times more powerful than vitamin C.

We recently had a patient (Diane), a lady of around 45, who was very resistant to the concept of any supplementation. She felt that the whole area was, as she put it, 'a con'. However, as she had committed herself to amalgam removal, she reluctantly agreed. To use her own words, she was 'astounded by the results' when she came in again three weeks later, saying that she hadn't felt so well for years. This was before we removed the fillings! Now totally converted, she has finished her 'detox' and is well again, but continues to take anti-oxidants.

The body produces its own substances to fight heavy metals and toxins, namely glutamine synthetase and metallothionine. Unfortunately, when an excess of mercury is present, these systems may be overpowered. The obvious course of action is to remove the source of the poisoning by replacing the offending fillings and to rid the body of any remaining mercury by careful detoxification.

Sulphur combines readily with mercury, enabling the body to excrete the resultant combination. We use an organic form of sulphur called MSM (methylsulphonylmethane) which is helpful to the patient's general health as well as binding with the mercury. It is also cheap, unlike some of the other chelators (DMSA, DMPS). One route of excretion will be through the kidneys, but as mercury can accumulate in the kidneys, we need an active week and a kidney clearance week, i.e. a two-week cycle. A quarter teaspoon of MSM crystals dissolved in a cup of warm water half an hour before breakfast each day for seven days, along with around eight glasses of filtered water a day is all that is required during an active week. During a kidney clearance week we suggest one capsule of multi-vitamins twice daily half an hour before food and once capsule of potassium citrate three times daily with food, each for seven days. Potassium citrate is an excellent 'flusher'. Do not take the MSM during the kidney clearance week.

We advise patients to take chlorella continuously during both weeks, as it is very effective at clearing toxic metals through the bowel. Slowly increase the dose until taking four tablets three times a day continuously. Two months should be the minimum time for this regime.

Many patients become very sensitive to tiny amounts of mercury following detoxification, a problem known as the 'secondary immune response'. We recently had a young man of 30 who successfully completed a course of detoxification, but reported being violently ill on two occasions following restaurant meals. It subsequently transpired that on both occasions he had eaten seafood, never a problem before, but which contain quite high levels of mercury. The body was simply remembering the awful poison and trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible. We had another lady who for some strange reason reacted against chlorella following 'detox'. It may be that the chlorella was raised in a watery mercury environment. Another explanation may be that it was causing the body to 'detox' faster than it was able to excrete. Hal Huggins has noted a similar reaction to blue-green algae and spirulina in a few people.

There are a few other things to be avoided at this time if at all possible. The obvious ones are the 'terrible trio', sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine seems to be the worst offender for 'detoxers' by some margin, but as always, we advise moderation and common sense. We don't want to make life intolerable, just take it easy on these substances for a while. Pork is surprisingly unhelpful in detox procedures. When blood samples were taken from people thirty minutes after eating pork, 'ghost' cells were evident. These are red blood cells which have lost their haemoglobin, and the result is a feeling of fatigue. The spleen works overtime to pump out more red blood cells so that the tiredness doesn't last long, but overproduction of red blood cells may strain the system.

I am a great fan of homeopathy, but homeopathic mercury should be avoided as a remedy against mercury poisoning as it seems to trigger a secondary immune response in some people. Similarly, try and avoid fruit and fruit juices. They are a little harsh on the system at this time, particularly oranges and grapefruit.

Dietary protein provides another detoxifying agent by binding with heavy metals. Surprisingly, experience by Huggins has shown that vegetable protein is less effective in its ability to detoxify. The three dimensional forms of vegetable and animal protein molecules are slightly different, both doing similar, but not identical jobs. Huggins states that he has never been able to completely cure a vegetarian. The natural anti-oxidant vitamins, namely A, C and E, as well as the micro-nutrient selenium, all play a vital role. Selenium is a very effective detoxifier of heavy metals and adequate levels must be maintained. A word here about vitamin B12. It has been found to be a 'methylator', instantly converting the mercury ions into methyl mercury. Avoid vitamin B12 when detoxifying, although the other B supplements are not a problem.

Vitamin C is probably the most effective of this group. Its primary use is to activate our own detoxification chemicals. Glutamine synthetase activates two glutamine molecules to join on either side of a mercury atom, binds tightly to it and allows its excretion. Research in the 30s showed that vitamin C combines with lead for excretion in the urine and the same thing probably happens with cadmium and mercury. A good method of finding your personal needs for vitamin C is to increase your intake by one gram a day until you get diarrhoea. One or two grams below this will be your optimum dose. Another effective use of vitamin C is known as the 'C flush'. Again, using it to create diarrhoea, the effect is to flush the intestinal tract, ridding it of heavy metals and bacteria. After cleansing of the bowel, an environment can be created which can improve digestion. Four grams of vitamin C dissolved in two ounces of fruit juices is taken every twenty minutes until diarrhoea occurs. It usually lasts about seven hours, so weekends are best. If the diarrhoea is too heavy, activated charcoal will stop it fairly quickly. Take water to avoid dehydration and when finished use a bacteria replacement supplement with each meal for two weeks. Do a 'C flush' once a week for three weeks, then leave for three weeks and do it one more time.

Patients coming to our practice usually have several problems, not just mercury poisoning. Increasingly, I am using a form of Applied Kinesiology to provide whole food supplements to these patients as an ongoing process during and following detoxification. I am using a technique called 'Contact reflex analysis', which is a simple, non-invasive, safe and natural method of analysing the body's structural and nutritional needs. This technique was introduced to this country by Don Warren, an American dentist who is himself a disciple of Dick Versendaal. Using his techniques I am able to use nutrition as an excellent support system, not only in detoxification, but in correcting structural imbalances, particularly in the head and neck region. I also find Cranio-Sacral therapy to be very helpful in this area.

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About Stewart Drage

Stewart Drage qualified at Guys Hospital in 1972 and established a mercury-free practice ten years ago in East Leake, a small village just north of Loughborough. He has a special interest in the TMJ., head and neck pain as well as detoxification and amalgam removal. Following the establishment of a patient support group by a successfully treated lady in Northampton, he receives patients from all parts of the country. His work has been featured in television interviews on several occasions.

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