Detoxification Protocols

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'Assisted Detoxification' Categories
Stimulating Your Lymphatic and Cardiovascular Circulation
Balancing Liver Function and Energy Levels during a Detoxification Programme
How detoxification fits into your overall programme

Detoxification Supplements and Techniques to Assist Cellular Detoxification

Absorbants Overview
     Bentonite Clay - Internal and External Use
     Zeolite / Clinoptilolite Powder
     Silica-based products
     Oral EDTA
     Fibre - Chlorella, Alginate & Metachel
     Beta Sitosterol
     Cholestyramine and Welchol

     Method of Administration: Intravenous, Anal and Oral
     Chelating Agents & Mobilising Agents Defined - What to Take and When
     Low Frequent Dose Chelation - The Cutler Protocol
     Toxicity of Certain Synthetic Chelating Agents
     Comparative Studies and Reviews of Chelating Agents
     Targetted Chelation by Heavy Metal
     Use of Absorbants in Parallel
     Balancing Chelation
     Critics of Chelation Therapy
     Proper Hydration
     Demineralisation and Mineral Supplementation
     Over-Detoxification Side Effects
     Frequency of Administration
     Supporting Liver Function
     Measuring the Progress of your Chelation Programme
     Chelating Agent Reviews
           Liquid Zeolite
           Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) / Modified Alginate Complex (MAC)
           EDTA Suppositories
           Liposomal EDTA
           OSR#1 (NBMI)
     Mobilising/Chelating Combination Product Reviews
           Fermented Peptides & Micronised Chlorella
           Matrix Metals
           NDF and NDF Plus
           Heavy Metal Nano Detox
     Mobilising Agent Reviews
           Lipoic Acid
           Thiamine TetrahydroFurfuryl Disulfide (TTFD)
           Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid
           Cilantro (Coriander Leaf)
                 Other Chelating/Mobilising Herbs
                 Mobilising Products containing Cilantro (Chelorex)

     Role of Phospholipids
     Soy Lecithin
     Oral Phosphatidyl Choline Supplementation
           Storage Considerations
           Dosage Considerations
           35% Phosphatidyl Choline
           BodyBio PC
           NT Factor
           Phosphatidyl Serine
           Citicoline CDP
           Alpha GPC and Sphingomyelin
     Soy Considerations - GMO and Phytoestrogens
     Other Sources of Lecithin - Egg Yolk and Sunflower
     Phospholipid Exchange (PLX) - IV Phosphatidyl Choline Infusions
     Combining PLX with FIR Saunas

Light (EMR) Therapies
           What is FIR and how does it work?
           Types of FIR Sauna
           FIR Sauna Duration
           Considerations for FIR Sauna Usage
           Combining FIR Saunas with other Detoxification Protocols
     Light Beam Generator (LBG) aka OAPD
     LymphStar Pro
     Lustre - Electro Lymphatic Drainage/Therapy (ELT)
     Laser Energetic Detoxification (LED)
     Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Other Electromagnetic Stimulation
Foot Detox Patches and Tourmaline
     Foot Detox Patches
     Tourmaline Jewelry
Centrophenoxine / Meclofenoxate HCl

Example of a Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse

Kidney Stone Elimination

Fluoride Elimination

Skin Cleansing
     Bentonite Clay Bath
     'Mud' Pack
     Skin Exfoliation
     Skin Brushing
     Himalayan Crystal Salt Bath
     MSM Bath

Other Detoxification Methods
     Detoxification Diets
     Homeopathic Remedies

Last Updated: 22 May 2015

'Assisted Detoxification' Categories:

So who do we believe about detoxification? Alternative health proponents will tell you that everyone needs to go on a detoxification programme, which vary between being useless, harmful, rather severe to the gentle. Experts from the medical establishment will tell you that all you need to detoxify your body is to drink plenty of tap water and to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Is detoxification a big con? Who is right? To answer this question we need to understand how detoxification processes work in the body.

The term detoxification means different things to different people. Below are some examples of different types of 'detoxification'.

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Stimulating your Lymphatic and Blood Circulation:

Remember to try to keep up your rate of metabolism and cardiovascular circulation whilst engaging in a detoxification programme. You will be carrying a large amount of toxins in your lymphatic system, so it is important to keep the lymphatic system moving and flowing. Some information pertaining to the lymphatic system can be found on the Immune System Impairment page.

It is also important to maintain a good blood supply and circulation to the liver and other parts of the body, so that released toxins from the tissues can be carried away, and brought to the liver. It is therefore important to take regular exercise, even if just light, to breathe properly, keep well hydrated, and to lightly massage the organs or particularly afflicted areas to maintain that circulation (by any means know to you). Alternative hot and cold showers each morning may also help (a.k.a. hydrotherapy - please see the Energetic Therapies page for more information); and also anything that makes you sweat (e.g. steam saunas or FIR saunas). Foot detox patches may also help increase the rate of draining of your lympathic system and stimulate the lymphatic circulation.

Dry skin brushing and scrubbing will also help to stimulate the lympathic circulation.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage or Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage of the lymph nodes of the body that is designed to assist in the body's drainage of excess lymph, and thus in aiding the removal of toxins carried in the lymphatic fluid from the body. MLD can either be provided by a skilled practitioner or you can perform a simplified version yourself on your own body. A link below from the Cancer Backup web site describes MLD.

There may be some overlap between MLD and the type of Lymphatic Drainage Massage recommended by Dr Raymond Perrin in his book The Perrin Technique to compliment his Perrin Technique treatment programme.

Energetic therapies such as acupuncture, bio energy healing, quantum touch etc. can also help to assist in lymphatic drainage as well as stimulating the organs of elimination. Even massaging an affected body part can increase blood flow and lymph flow to that area, as can gentle exercise, sweating, and hydrotherapy (alternate hot and cold showers/immersion). It is clear that assisting lymphatic drainage alone will help detoxification to an extent, but it is something that should be done as part of a detoxification programme rather than a single means of assisting detoxification. Any way we can increase blood flow and lymphatic flow is going to help your detoxification programme, recovery and general health. It should not be ignored!

There is a Tai Chi exercise that involves stimulating the body's meridians. This involves drums one's fists lightly over the body, arms and legs. It starts on above the groin and one moves up the central axis of the torso until one reaches the chest. One then drums the chest, each fist covering each 'pec', drumming the whole area left and right and up to just below the collar bone. This particular part of the exercise stimulates the lymph glands in the chest, and the overall lymphatic system in general. One then drums the central axis of the forehead, the top of the head, all the way to the back of the head and the neck. One then drums down one's back, either side of the spine, until one reaches the buttocks. One then drums the whole area of the buttocks, with one fist on each buttock. Then one drums down each arm (one at a time, using the opposite fist to do the drumming), down the outside of the arm onto the back of the hand, then up the inside of the arm until one reaches the armpit. One then performs a similar routine on the legs, down the outside of the leg and up the inside of the leg. One can perform this any time, but it is usually performed first thing in the morning to stimulate the body.

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Balancing Liver Function and Energy Levels during a Detoxification Programme:

Sometimes by increasing/strengthening the body's energy levels and electromagnetic field, and also supporting the liver and kidney with the relevant chemicals and nutrients (in the right quantities) in order to function optimally, it is enough to energise the liver enough to perform its detoxification duties in full. In heavily toxified patients, the clogging up of the eliminative organs (primarily the liver) and thus their lower function and energy is partly why their bodies cannot naturally detoxify themselves. When undertaking a cellular detoxification programme, it is wise to cleanse the body's eliminative organs on a periodic basis. One must however strike a balance between gently assisting the body's natural detoxification mechanisms, and forcing the body the intensively undergo detoxification in an aggressive manner which can overload the liver and kidneys and deplete the body's energy levels in general.

Cellular detoxification, or in effect, actively releasing toxins from the tissues and organs of the body into the blood stream, is equivalent on some level to continuously poisoning the body over long periods of time. In the case of Heavy Metals, they are usually in places where they are already causing a large number of problems biochemically, so chelation does not poison the body so much but more taxes the organs of elimination, which are probably already quite stretched. It is therefore important not to 'overdo it' and in such cases, if one greatly exceeds one's detoxification capacity, one is significantly poisoning oneself (to some degree) and this is why the symptoms of over-detoxing are headaches, fatigue etc. Detoxing solidly for several years could be considered equivalent to heavy drinking for several years in terms of the effect it will have on one's liver! As you are putting an additional burden on your liver, you have to physically ensure that your intake of supportive nutrients is sufficient for the additional work your liver is being asked to carry out.

Probably the most important of these is Glutathione and Glucuronic acid. Glutathione production and availability is a bottleneck for detoxification and liver function for many CFS patients, whose Glutathione levels are already too low to start with, which is partly why they got into difficulties in the first place. Increasing detoxification requirements will increase the requirement for Glutathione. It is therefore of critical importance to decrease the amount of cellular detoxification or chelation to match the available Glutathione levels, or to boost those Glutathione levels by taking Glutathione precursors (e.g. L-Cysteine) or to directly supplement Glutathione, either orally or by injection. The less Glutathione is available, the longer a cellular detoxification programme will take; and equally if one proceeds at an aggressive pace regardless of Glutathione levels, sooner or later the body will run very low, opening up the possibilities of liver stress or damage, and indeed severe oxidative damage around the body and impaired respiration functions on account of the lack of antioxidant protection offered by Glutathione. A Functional Liver Detoxification Profile (FLDP) is a useful tool to ascertain the extent of one's current liver health and efficiency, and which pathways may possibly be impaired. This test is discussed on the Identification page.

It is equally if not more important to ensure that the energetic levels and general function of organs such as your liver and kidneys are sufficiently high to accommodate for your current level of detoxification. Whether the chelating agents you are using are mainly excreted via the kidneys or liver or both will also have an effect on which organs are put under the most strain. Over time, cellular detoxification will tend to deplete the energy and also nutrient reserves of these organs. This is why regular breaks and pacing oneself in one's detoxification regime are very important. Every 6 or 9 months, for a few weeks, or so, you may want to establish a baseline, cease your detoxification programme, and to see how you feel with your new level of cleanliness of toxins without burdening the body with detoxification - whilst continuing to support your liver and kidneys etc; and also to give these organs of elimination a rest.

For more information on nutrients for liver and kidney support, and the enzymatic processes involved, please see the Inefficient Liver Function page.

For more information about energetic treatments, please see the energetic therapies page.

For more information on electromagnetic stimulation, please see the Electromagnetic Deficiencies page and also the FIR section on this page.

You may wish to also consider the Liver Function tests on the Tests page to establish which liver pathways if any are impaired and require supporting.

If you are lucky enough to have a lower level of toxicity or very healthy liver and kidneys, you may well be able to complete your detoxification programme in one continuous programme, with no intervals. However, you wouldn't run consecutive marathons in one day - you might consider a little rest and recuperation in between each one! In most cases doing so is a recipe for disaster and burn out (i.e. shifting your metabolism to a lower level of Chronic Fatigue and cellular inefficiency that is hard to recover from). Your doctor or consultant should be able to advise you of the best and optimal regime for you as you go along.

It is sometimes hard to identify a tired liver, but your regime should give you a guide to how hard you are working it. The liver is a large organ, and protrudes from the bottom of the right rib cage. Sometimes liver discomfort can be confused with a discomfort or pain in the colon, specifically the top of the ascending colon. If you are taking aggressive amounts of fibre and/or preforming too aggressive a colonic abdominal massage (to increase stool movement in the colon), then you may aggravate the lining of the colon. The ascending colon is particularly prone to abuse in this manner as it tends to clog up with stool quite easily. So if you are experiencing discomfort in this area (in the right side of the middle of your abdomen), then you can probably figure out what it causing it. If you are not sure then, it is best to take a break from detoxification for at least a couple of weeks in any case! The sensation should then disappear. Sometimes the exact place of the sensation may vary slightly, sometimes feeling as if it is coming from the top of the ascending colon, and at other times from the bottom of the liver.

Please note that in addition to eliminating toxins from the body, the liver is also responsible for breaking down and digesting oils. Large amounts of oil in the diet and the consumption alcohol, caffeine, nicotene or other drugs will put a heavy burden on the liver and gallbladder. Glucuronic acid is the main nutrient involved in supporting the breakdown of fatty substances and toxins in the liver. If you are intending to embark on a detoxification programme, it would be highly advisable to cut out fried foods and to avoid eating excessive amounts of additional vegetable oil, nut oils, ground flaxseed, olive oil, coconut oil or dessicated coconut in/with your food as well as any drugs or any kind. You don't want to be burdening your liver with your regular lifestyle and diet and then add additional heavy detoxification work on top of this. If you do this, you are likely to tire your liver out rather quickly. Please do remember though that you want to maintain your correct omega 3 to 6 ratio in your diet, and to consume as many good unsaturated fats as you are comfortable consuming, both in terms of your digestive system and your liver - but clearly no more or it will be detrimental to your live function and digestive function.

One should also note that chelation and detoxifying the tissues may require energy in general (more ATP), i.e. to release or move toxins around the body, as well as processing them by the liver, as well as the potential retoxification issues that may in general poison you or adversely affect your adrenal and mitochondrial function (causing increased fatigue).

Please bear in mind that as you leach heavy metals out of the bone and tissues of the body in sequence that their levels may be temporarily elevated in the blood (and hence hair folicles). In this manner, levels of specific heavy metals may appear artificially elevated or even increase from one hair analysis to another. This is not something to be alarmed about, but to note which metals the body is selectively detoxifying at the time of the 'snap shot' of the hair mineral analysis (which tends to show the mineral state of the tissues a month ago or two prior to the time of collection of the hair sample). This may not necessarily be the case however, and may vary according to the individual. This is far from being widely accepted as fact however.

One learns to listen to the body and to feel when one is in the optimum/maximum comfortable detoxification 'zone' (given the limitations of the protocol one is using), and one can learn when one is overdoing it or when the liver is being overburdened. One should also be aware of the potential risks and pitfalls with higher dosages or durations and use one's common sense. Tests are a more effective method of gauging what progress you have made rather than a macho desire to be able to take larger and larger amounts of a given chelating agent etc. This may sound complicated, but it normally becomes intuitive after a few months or so of detoxification.

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How Detoxification fits into your Overall Programme:

As a general rule (if there is such a thing), I advocate that invading organisms should be largely eradicated first, such as fungus, yeasts, bad bacteria, mycoplasmas, candida, parasites etc. Once these invaders have been largely killed off, then the next part of the treatment should focus on detoxification, the removal of poisons from the body (the poisons that are continually having a negative energetic impact on your body 24 hours a day). After this, then the process of building the body back up again will be more effective as any poisons present will interfere with bio-chemical processes and act like brakes on your recovery. As an individual approach is required, I recommend that you discuss this with your consultant. There is evidence to suggest that heavy metals in the intestine will be absorbed by candida, but that the presence of the heavy metals does not actually encourage their growth. It just means that if you kill off the candida too quickly, you may well absorb all the heavy metals that they were carrying, and have an intense 'die off' reaction.

Assuming that you have a significant level of toxicity in your body (the definition of significant varies from individual to individual, as each person varies in their ability to cope with toxic elements and compounds), you have a number of choices available to you. Let's say for example that you choose to use PCA and consume a small amount of Chlorella and MSM daily as part of your detoxification programme, in addition to taking phospholipids and having FIR Saunas. When should you do this? There is no easy answer. In some cases, the level of toxicity is so severe, that the programme should be started immediately, prior to treating any other conditions the individual has. It depends on the type of toxicity present in the body, which will to a large extent govern the exact detoxification protocol(s) employed. In other cases, it may be best to try to build up the adrenal function prior to beginning a detoxification programme. However, in the latter case, elevated levels of mercury will target the adrenal glands and kidneys and weaken their energy.

Heavy metal toxicity if over a threshold amount for a given person and his biochemical tolerance at that given point in time, will tend have a negative impact on the metabolic (mitochondrial) function, hormonal (endocrine) function and immune function, unless the toxins are physically removed from the body (if present), these systems are unlikely to be coaxed into full working order by simply supporting adrenal function etc, but herbal methods (e.g. TCM or otherwise). One has to remove the active cause of the energetic problem and provide the body with enough of the deficient nutrients before you can really achieve success in tackling the energetic effects the problems have had on the body. CFS patients and sufferers of related conditions often confuse energetic practitioners and many herbalists, as they cannot understand what is going on.

If you have just had a mercury amalgam filling(s) removed, it is critical that you begin a detoxification programme immediately, regardless of where you are with your treatment, with the emphasis being on taking absorbants as soon as possible. If you are considering having your mercury amalgam fillings removed, then it may be wise to plan and schedule this into your overall treatment programme. Please see the section below for more information.

Sometimes detoxification will be the highest priority. At other times, the patient would be best waiting before commencing a detoxification programme. There is a difference between being ready to detox and needing to detox. If one can significantly improve without detoxing, then one should wait and focus on nutritional and biochemical (etc.) support. If the patient is in bad shape and will make little progress with any supportive protocol, i.e. heavy metals or other toxins are the bottle neck, then detoxification should commence immediately, even if the patient is not really in the ideal state for it - albeit very gently (but using proven and effective methods). Immediate improvement should be seen in such cases.

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Detoxification Supplements to Assist Cellular Detoxification:

The rest of this page will examine cellular detoxification and associated supplements, techniques and issues.

Absorbants Overview:

Absorbants or binding agents are in general terms inert substances that are consumed orally and not digested, but pass through the digestive tract and bind with any heavy metals present in the GI tract, usually in the colon. They are in essence chelating agents which cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream. Heavy metals are excreted into the colon from the gallbladder in the bile, and usually attached to Glutathione. Glutathione is not a very good chelating agent however, and heavy metals can be readily absorbed back into the digestive tract. This is why absorbants are useful as they bind/absorb these heavy metals and prevent their reabsorption. Absorbants are necessary when using mobilising agents to minimise reabsorption, and perhaps slightly less critical when using chelating agents that are either strong binders or which are excreted via the urinary tract. However, even when using such chelating agents, there will still be a percentage of toxins excreted into the gut bound to Glutathione, so occasional use of an absorbant is really a must in a detoxification programme at the very least.

We can assist the natural detoxification processes of the body by taking an absorbant such as Chlorella or Bentonite clay. These are intestinal detoxification agents. Heavy metals tend to accumulate in the GI tract, as well as the blood, lymph, fatty acids (brain!) and bones of our body. Consuming an absorbant will absorb/bind with many types of toxins present in the GI tract and assist in their removal in the faeces. Once the GI tract is free of toxins, and the patient continues to consume the absorbant, the absorbant will draw toxins from the blood that passes by the capillaries around the intestinal wall. Gradually, over a period of months, the blood will be cleaned of toxins, and heavy metals will begin to be drawn from the tissues (into the blood, then into the GI tract). The benefit of this approach is that it is very gentle and does not add any addition detoxification load on the liver and kidneys.

An absorbant can be taken as your main detoxification supplement, in which case detoxification is very slow and gentle and may take anything from 9 months to maybe thirty years to fully detoxify your system (of heavy metals), depending on the level of toxicity present in your intestine, your tissues and individual cells. Or an absorbant can be used to 'mop up' toxins that are actively released from your tissues and cells by a chelating agent. Such agents are discussed further down on this toxification page.

Please note that an absorbant's ability to bind with complex organic chemicals is somewhat limited, and are not really effective in releasing and absorbing toxins such as organic-based drugs or sulphur-based anti-biotics. These are released by methods described elsewhere on this page (i.e. FIR Saunas, Phospholipid Therapy etc.) and once eliminated into the small intestine, have to pass out of the body without 'assistance' from an absorbant. That is not to say that there is ever any harm in taking an absorbant under such circumstances anyway. Clearly the number and type of toxins in the body of a CFS sufferer can often be very large and diverse, and it is difficult to make hard-sticking generalisations about the exact capability and limitations of absorbants.

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Chelating agents are compounds that actively bind with polar toxic compounds, chiefly heavy metals but also some biotoxins, that they come across or that they electrically/chemically attract/actively out from the tissues. They vary in their properties, ease of absorption from the digestive tract, ease of penetration of various tissue types, effectiveness (with individual heavy metals), and how inert they render the heavy metal prior to removal and excretion. Some cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively than others. Chelating agents are derived from natural compounds, of plant or soil origin, or are chemically synthesised amino acids.

Chelation is pronounced 'Key-Lation' and not 'Chell-Ation', which I didn't grasp for over 18 months and still have problems remembering the correct pronounciation!

Chelation and chelation therapy are defined at Wikipedia below.

Chelation products first came after World War One, as a treatment for the effects of chemical warfare, specifically arsenic. EDTA was created during World War Two in response to Lead poisoning by naval personnel from paints used to repaint the hulls of ships. DMSA was created in the 1960s as a variant of the WW1 chelating agent BAL. The Soviet Union created DMPS and also ALA. The Soviets experimented with Citrus Pectin in the 1980s, and it was not really until the late 1990s that a number of other more natural chelating agents appeared on the market.

Chelation has historically been used for both heavy metal detoxification (including radioactive isotopes) and also for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, specifically the removal of atherosclerotic plaque (an alternative treatment to a heart bypass operation).

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If a chelating agent is taken, then large amounts of heavy metals and toxins are drawn out of the tissues, into the blood, and eventually into the liver and kidneys. The principle of chelation is for the chelant molecule to hit a toxic ion, to create a larger and preferably more inert molecule, which is large enough for the liver to recognise/deal with and remove from the blood and to excrete into the digestive tract for removal from the body (via one's stool).

Chelants are carried around the body in the blood stream and float around until they hit something that they can bind to, or attract (locally or from a tissue compartment) with their electrical charge. In the case of synthetic chelation agents, and mostly likely many natural chelating agents as well but to a slightly lesser extent, this may well be nutritional elements and as well heavy metals. Chelants will go wherever the blood goes, so they will be absorbed into the tissues to some degree. The more chelant molecules you take into the body, the more likely they are to hit/attract a toxic element and bind to it. And conversely, the more toxic elements/molecules you have in the body, floating around in the blood stream or attached to (inter/intra) cellular membranes, then the more likely a chelant molecule floating around is to hit/attract one of them. This is why chelant dosages should be low at first, and built up slowly, as toxins are drawn out of the body, and only increased when the toxin concentration (that the chelants can reach) in the body decreases. You will be chelating the same amount of toxins from the body at the start compared with in the middle of your chelation programme, if you balance it correctly, it is just that the dosages of chelant required increase slowly as you go along. It is all about probability (of attraction/collision). Some chelants are better able to penetrate the tissues, blood/brain barrier and bones than others. Some render the toxic elements more inert than others.

Please note that although chelation products are effective at removing heavy metals from the body's fatty tissues and cell and mitochondrial membranes (i.e. positive ions, cations, of heavy metal atoms), they do not (in general) bind with organic toxins, compounds, antibiotics and drugs which may be clogging up the mitochondrial membranes. Other methods are required for this, for example light therapies and phospholipid exchange as described further down on this page. Do not necessarily assume that chelation is the answer to all your toxicity issues.

Certain chelating agents can leach mercury from one's amalagam fillings if present. Protocols for safely removing Mercury Amalgam Fillings is found on the Toxins page. Where a chelating agent is known to leach mercury from amalgam fillings, it is stated in the description of each chelating agent listed further down on this page. It should be noted that surgical grade 316L stainless steel is not known to be susceptible to chelating agents. I am uncertain about titanium roots (for tool implants), but would be rather cautious in this respect.

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Method of Administration: Intravenous, Anal and Oral

There are three main methods of administering a chelating agent into the body.

I recommend that IV Chelation is probably not to be considered unless there is a very good reason for doing so. IV Chelation normally uses artificially synthesised amino acids (i.e. do not occur in nature) such as EDTA, DMPS, or DMSA.

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Chelating Agents & Mobilising Agents Defined - What to Take and When

As a general rule, one can classify Chelating Agents into two broad categories, chelators of heavy metals and mobilisers of heavy metals, although there is clearly overlap between the two in several cases.

Chelators bind with a heavy metal and allow its excretion from the body either via the kidneys or liver, or both. Mobilisers tend to draw out heavy metals from inside the cells, from the bones and from the brain (across the blood brain barrier) that most chelating agents are not able to access).

Mobilisers are however not particularly effective at maintaining the bond with the heavy metals or at protecting the body from the adverse effects of the heavy metals they bind with and tend to redistribute the heavy metals around the body (if taken in a relatively too high dosage), and are not generally excreted very efficiently. Mobilising agents rely on the Glutathione in the body to bind with the heavy metals and carry them out of the body via the liver and digestive tract. Although some of the heavy metals mobilised are excreted from the body, the excretion rate is much lower in comparison to actual effective chelating agents. Mobilisers that cross the blood-brain barrier tend to remove heavy metals from the brain when there the concentration of heavy metals is higher in the brain than in the rest of the body, but also carry heavy metals into the brain if the concentration is higher outside the brain. This is why it is important not to take a mobilising agent at the start of a detoxification programme, and focus on chelation to start with, to ensure that the concentration of heavy metals in the body is much lower than it is in the brain, so that when you start using a mobilising agent, you are drawing heavy metals out of the brain and tissues at a controlled rate and not building up toxicity in an already toxified body nor carrying heavy metals into the brain (rather than out of it). It makes sense when using a mobilising agent to also use a chelating agent at the same time that is effective at chelating the metals released by the mobilising agent, i.e. Mercury and Arsenic usually. Otherwise heavy metals can build up from being mobilised without being well chelated out of the body. Whilst it is not strictly necessary to use a chelating agent to help 'mop up' the heavy metals released with mobilising agents, it is highly recommended to avoid adverse symptoms and effects. I have found that a hair mineral analysis is reasonable indicator of mobilised heavy metals, particularly for lead and mercury.

Lead is not generally mobilised using mobilising agents - to some extent with MSM (not a great mobiliser as it tends to drop metals too readily), and this is why a slightly different chelation strategy is required for Lead, as it will take much longer to remove from the body and after the initial 'mop up' period with EDTA or other chelating agents, it may be best to pace oneself and take the chelating agent less frequently, relying on the body to naturally liberate more lead over time (or assisting the process of displacing it from the bones out with a mineral such Calcium or Strontium). A similar process of displacement can be performed using Zinc to displace Mercury, although Mercury can be more readily mobilised with lipoic acid etc. This is why taking Strontium and Zinc at the start of a detoxification programme may not be the best idea as one's existing mobilised burden may be too high already - however it depends on one's levels of deficiency and ability to absorb normal amounts of these minerals in the GI tract etc. Zinc is important in immune system functioning as well as Glutathione production.

Glutathione is a weak chelating agent and there may be some reabsorption of heavy metals in the digestive tract, which is why it is recommended to take an absorbant when using a mobilising agent, and also in general, as even with bonafide chelating agents, the Glutathione pathway will still be removing heavy metals from the body via the gut. Mobilisers are best taken in conjunction with bonafide chelating agents (rather than relying on the Glutathione pathway alone), so that anything they mobilise can be more effectively bonded with an removed from the body (with the minimum of reabsorption). It is probably best to avoid the most powerful mobilisers until one has chelated for a number of months first. Mobilisers are mainly used for Mercury, which is fat-soluble (in the Methyl-form) and tends to accumulate in the cells, tissues and organs of the body. Mobilisers are generally not necessary for heavy metals such as Lead which tends to remain in the bloodstream and readily accessible compartments of the body.

A third category is a combination of the two categories of chelating agent and mobilising agent, and I have labelled it 'Mobilsing/Chelating Combination Products'. This is essentially a product that contains both chelating agent(s) and mobilising agent(s), to draw out heavy metals from the tissues and to help chelate them out of the body. This is essentially the same as taking a chelating agent with a mobilising agent. As stated above, it is probably advisable to use a chelating agent for a period of time before using a powerful mobilising agent or mobilising/chelating combination product, or unnecessariliy adverse symptoms may be experienced. Examples of each of the three categories are listed below.

Please find below a PDF table of most of the above Chelating, Mobilising and Combination Products, including additional technical information, created by myself (May 2010).

Chelation and Moblising Agent PDF Table

Chelating Agents:

Mobilising Agents:

e.g.1. ThioDox (containing mobilisers ALA* as well as TTFD*).
e.g.2. Chelorex (containing mobilisers Cilantro, ALA and MSM*)

Mobilising/Chelating Combination Products:

* = Synthetic equivalents of natural compounds.
** = Synthetic amino acids, not naturally occurring.
^ = Amino acids and derivatives that bind weakly with Mercury and Lead, i.e. sub-optimal mobilisers; but which also used or produced by the liver. ^^ = Treatments that tend to increase lymphatic circulation and break down waste deposits in the lymphatic system, with actual 'mobilisation' from the cells being a secondary characteristic (most probably). EM treatments tend to mobilise organic toxins more than heavy metals, but it depends which one one is referring to of course specifically.

^^^ = Phosphatidyl Choline is strictly speaking not a mobilising agent for heavy metals, but it can help to clear toxins from mitochondrial membranes, usually of an organic nature, but may include small amounts of heavy metals. PC tends to increase levels of organic toxins in the blood (if there are any to be released).

Of the above chelating agents and combination products, all are excreted mainly by the kidneys apart from OSR, PCA and Metal Free which are excreted mainly by the liver and gallbladder into the digestive tract.

Of the mobilising agents, Lipoic Acid is the most powerful, with TTFD coming a close second - most probably. One could potentially classify the amino acids N-Acetyl-Cystein (NAC), L-Cysteine, MSM and L-Glutathione as weak mobilising agents, but they are also and probably more significantly weak chelating agents. Vitamin C is also a weak chelating agent, and high dosage Vitamin C infusions have proven useful immediately following amalgam filling removal I have therefore not included them in the above arbitrary classification, but they are still significant.

Some may argue that chelating agents that are primarily excreted by the kidneys (i.e. urine) are preferable to those that are primarily excreted by the liver (into the GI tract and in the faeces), as there is less reabsorption of toxins in the bladder compared with the digestive tract. The passage of stool in the digestive tract takes much longer than the urine route, and also it is easier for toxins to become trapped in mucoid plaque etc. in the bowel, resulting in an elevated concentration of heavy metals in the colon. This is mitigated to some extent by the protective characteristics of the chelating agent that are bound to the heavy metals in question. This is why good bowel movement is encouraged before and during a chelation programme so this issue can be kept to a minimum. However, one may also argue the converse, that chelating agents that are excreted by the liver are preferable, as the kidneys are the 'most important' organ, and the storage vessels of Kidney Qi and Jing, one's life force, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. I myself have noticed that even using too much of a liver-excreting chelating agent that one's kidneys can become more tired than normal, with associated lower back pain. Clearly all chelation takes an energetic impact on the body. Kidney qi and Jing can take a long time to build up according to TCM.

At the end of the day, deciding on a chelation agent or agents for use in a chelation programme should consider the efficiency of the chelating agent in question and its relative toxicity. Whilst one may criticise certain synthetic chelating agents for their toxicity, there is also the toxicity of the actual toxins you are trying to remove to consider. If your chelating agent is in itself relatively non-toxic, that is all very well, but if it is not very effective in removing the particular heavy metals that are most contributing to your toxic burden, then you are in effect leaving those metals in your system much longer than you need to and continually suffering the cumulative effect of their toxicity.

One should also consider where one believes the heavy metals are at the start of a detoxification programme; and adapt one's approach as one goes along, as the distribution will change over time. Heavy metals will tend to accumulate in the colon and one will need to use some manner of intestinal absorbant. What are the relative concentrations of heavy metals in the brain and tissues, and the blood and readily accessible parts of the body? Which kinds of heavy metals? This will determine which chelating agent to use, for how long, and when to introduce a mobilising agent. If one is experiencing adverse symptoms with a mobilising agent, then either the dosage is too high, one is not taking enough breaks or one is introducing it too soon in one's chelation programme. Which heavy metals you have in what approximate ratios you can ascertain using laboratory tests, but the other information one must figure out intuitively by oneself and with the help of one's practitioner. How your body responds will provide you with a large amount of valuable feedback. Pay attention and try to be aware of what is going on.

When choosing a chelating agent, one should try to do one's own research and seek professional advice, rather than rely solely on the manufacturer's claims, which are often little more than a sales pitch; or on the opinion of enthusiastic amateurs. Most manufacturers do not highlight the difference between mobilisation and chelation, so you may end up inadvertently taking a mobilising agent at the start of your detox programme rather than later on as you might need to (depending on your level of circulating heavy metals and those in readily accessible parts of the body) etc.

One might want to try bringing a few chelation products along to your practitioner and have him test them using kinesiological/muscle testing. A chelator should really be chosen by the particular heavy metal that it can most effectively target that is causing the most problems in the body and needs removing as the highest priority. Whilst all chelating agents will work to some degree regardless of what works best with the body, as they are not 'nutrients' or 'supplements' in the traditional sense, some may be better utilised by the body than others at a particular moment in time, perhaps dependent on the metal most in need of being removed and also what types of tissues most of this/these metal(s) are located. I have brought a large number of chelation products to my practitioner, including the majority of the products listed on this page, and of those, only Detoxamin for Kids (EDTA) and OSR#1 of the chelation and combination products have tested positively kinesiologically (muscle testing). Of the mobilising agents, only ALAMax CR (slow release ALA) and Thiodox (containing ALA and TTFD) tested positively. My friend Aaron has reported that Cilantro tested positively on him at one point during his treatment. There are many good chelating and mobilising agents, but they may not be right for you at any one particular time. The body can be quite fussy in this respect. It should be noted that just because a chelator is of a natural mineral or plant-based source, does not mean it will work well with your body at any particular point in time - it may well cause more problems that it solves. In the same respect, a specific synthethic chelator may well work better with your body than a variety of natural chelators; and of course, the wrong synthetic chelator may well work even worse with your body than the wrong natural chelator. There are many variables. Applied Kinesiological/Muscle Testing, whilst often quite accurate with many other areas, does sometimes make errors in dosage or frequency, in particular with reference to mobilising agents. One may need to override the AK testing information to work the mobilising agent into one's regime in a sensible manner (with sufficient breaks etc.) or more complex manner than AK testing is able to provide. Whilst I found that AK testing provided sensible information about chelating agent dosing and frequency, it did not with mobilising agents. Please see the Treatment Approach page for more information.

The body will likely react differently to different chelating agents as the size and properties of the chelating agent will differ, and how it binds to the heavy metal will differ also. Thus the combination of the heavy metal and the chelating agent in the bloodstream will present a different type of molecule according to which one uses. The immune system will likely react differently to each of these. Excessive immune system response (i.e. attack by white blood cells) can result in excessive levels of inflammation (i.e. free radical damage).

I do NOT personally recommend the synthetic chelating agents, nor use of mobilising agents, as a first port of call for chelation, although they have been proven to be successful in application in many cases. Perhaps synthetic chelators can be used when more natural methods have been tried first. But of course, it ultimately depends on the severity of your toxicity issue and what chelating agent works best with your body at any one time. EDTA for example, is probably the most effective chelating agent for Lead of all chelating agents, natural and synthetic. If they are to be taken, then I would suggest that one takes them orally rather than IV if uncertain.

It is of course not strictly possible to compare chelating agents in this way, as each works slightly differently, and also each seem to have an short term equilibrium, i.e. when one takes a chelating agent for the first, time, smaller amounts are required, targetting the 'easiest' compartments or structures, with this particularly chemical approach, but once those compartments are cleared out, then the medium term equilibrium is reached, which is harder to increase from and requires time to keep working it. This medium term equilibrium is clearly different for each type of chelating agent, and in the case of Fulvic and Humic Acid, I was able to relatively quickly double the dosage tolerated over a period of a couple of weeks, until he hit that equilibrium. With Cilantro, the short term and medium term equilibrium is not quite so obvious, and increases take a long time and are gradual. Depending on the stage in your detoxification programme, one may 'max out' on a particular chelating agent in a period of months, and to continue to take it would be financially disasterous or ridiculous in terms of quantities required, and unwise to your health, so then it is usually time to move onto another chelating agent. This time period is clearly shorter for some chelating agents than others, depending on exactly how they work, and is likely to be shorter in the latter stages of one's detoxification programme and longer in the earlier stages.

It is perhaps not so important, depending on your exact case, which particular cellular detoxification (chelation) product you start with in your programme, be it PCA, NCD or PectaSol, for example, as likely your detox programme may last some considerable time, allowing you to cycle through and try various products during this time, perhaps changing product every few months or so - this may allow you time to do your research and consider how to change/tweak your detox regime at the next stage - which you should also discuss with your practitioner. As the various techniques and products work in slightly different ways, it is probably sensible to do this in any case, to make your programme as varied as possible.

Please note that depending on your personal choice and the advice from your practitioner, you may choose to use one, two or three of the above products together (e.g. Cilantro with absorbant, Pectasol and/or NCD, etc.) I would recommend that if you did, you should perhaps start with either NCD or Pectasol etc. only for the first month or so, at least, before adding any mobilising agents. To take Cilantro at the peak of your toxicity levels may be slightly rougher than taking the PCA or NCD. If you use multiple products, you may choose to take each one for a month or two, before moving on to the next one. You may then return back to your original product again after this. Or you may choose to take all at once, but at lower dosages. However, if you do take more than one product at once, you need to be aware of the relative dosages to each other, which is something that is not that hard to figure out if you listen to your body's response. Only increase the dosage of one product at a time, and increase it by a small increment, and remain on that dosage for at least a week before experimenting with a higher dosage again. If you feel any of the above side effects, then simply reduce the dosage again by an increment. You may want to stay on a low dosage of Cilantro as a 'background' detoxification supplement throughout most of the latter stages of your detoxification programme, on account of its beneficial qualities, and and perhaps only reach the maximum dosage of Cilantro after 6 to 9 months of your detoxification programme. Of course, the exact levels of any product or combination of products depends on your level of toxicity to start with, how long you have been detoxing for, how long you have been on the previous dosage level for, and how energetic/clean your liver and kidneys are. A practitioner may be able to advise you in this area, but ultimately much of the fine tuning is up to yourself and is something you must be self-disciplined about and take full responsibility for.

I believe that OSR#1 and EDTA are some of the most effective chelating agents there are for cellular detoxification, with Lipoic Acid also playing an important role at the right time. Cellular detoxification in its entirety may take anything up to 3 or 4 years, depending on how efficiently it is performed, but the most benefit is often felt in the first couple of months. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish! After you have completed your first ever full cellular detoxification programme, you may well need to repeat (on a small scale) it every 6 months, every year or every few years, but these will likely be much shorter in duration compared to your first detox. There is no fixed duration that works for everyone, and any product or programme that makes claims about fully detoxing you in a few days or a week probably has a disclaimer somewhere (in the small print)!

Whilst the effectiveness of the various natural chelants I used over 3 years is hard to measure, on account of changing methods of measurement employed and their various respective drawbacks, and the uncertainty as to how much there was in absolute terms at the start of the chelation proramme, in my most recent tests, Lead did appear to be highest of all his remaining heavy metals, so that one could deduce that the natural chelating agents I used over this period were less effective with Lead that with other heavy metals. So one should perhaps not discount chelating agents such as EDTA. They have a time and a place.

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Low Frequent Dose Chelation - The 'Cutler Protocol'

Aside from taking a chelation agent 2-3 times a day, in between meals, on an empty stomach, one can choose a slightly different approach. This is known as Low Frequent Dose Chelation. This works on the basis that certain chelation agents have a half-life in the body, after which time, if they have bound with a heavy metal but not yet reached the liver, then the may 'dump' the heavy metal back into the blood or tissues, retoxifying the body. This is particularly emphasised for mobilising agents, which are not so readily cleared from the body than chelating agents.

Thus, some proponents of Low Frequent Dose Chelation (LFDC) postulate that chelating agents should be taken at regular intervals, 24 hours a day, at low doses, for the duration that they are taken; and for multiple consecutive days at a time; followed by the same number of days again taking no chelating agents. The standard two or three times a day schedule with higher doses, and indeed schedules that suggest alternate days for taking chelating agents, should be avoided in their opinion.

rather than at regular intervals during the day, then a long break at night; or indeed on alternate days. Of course, some manufacturers state that some elements of this approach may be useful, e.g. Waiora, who suggest that mixing NCD (Zeolite) into a bottle of water and sipping on it throughout the day is better than simply taking one's daily allowance on two or three distinct occasions.

The most well known proponent of Low Frequent Dose Chelation (who coined the term, as I understand it) is Andrew Hall Cutler PhD, sometimes referred to as just Andy Cutler. His version of LFDC has been called the 'Cutler Protocol', although it is not really a protocol as such as so many parameters within it as fluid and flexible.

Cutler has written a book on his chelation regime called 'Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment' (1999). He sells it direct on, and also from his website, shipping internationally. I summarise the main points from the 'Cutler Protocol' below, adding his own comments and opinions also. Whilst I do not agree with all of it and there are a number of errors in the book, I would still recommend anyone who is about to embark on a chelation programme to read it.

Cutler has written another book, 'Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities' (2004) - this focusses mainly on the significance of the presence of heavy metals, nutritional elements and trace elements, but also delves a little into his own view on treatment protocols, which overlaps slightly with his other book. I also recommend this book, with its imperfections and all. He sells it direct on, and also from his publishing website, shipping internationally.

The Cutler Protocol is essentially a Mercury Detoxification protocol. Cutler recommends the use of tried and tested synthetic chelating agents that are designed for use with Mercury chelation, and hence recommends either DMPS or DMSA. Cutler states that DMPS is the more efficient chelating agent for Mercury (Hg) than DMSA, which it is, but that it may be slightly more expensive, and chelation with DMSA is often less pleasant with more adverse symptoms. DMPS is more targetted to Mercury than anything else and results in less demineralisation. DMSA is however useful for removing Lead. However the Cutler Protocol's focus is Mercury detoxification, in conjunction with Amalgam filling removal, and is not really focussed on Lead detoxification. Cutler does not recommend EDTA, because it is primarily a chelating agent for Lead. Cutler prefers DMSA because it chelates both Lead and Mercury, although it is not particularly brilliant at either. He states that DMSA has superceded EDTA now, which is a matter of interpretation, but it is widely believed that EDTA is a far better chelating agent than DMSA for Lead. Many practitioners totally disagree that EDTA has been superceded by DMSA for Lead detoxification, and believe that EDTA is the best chelator of Lead there is. Cutler perhaps does not like EDTA because it has to be taken anally or injected and thus is harder to dose around the clock compared with DMPS or DMSA that can be effectively taken orally. However, as stated elsewhere, EDTA is a rather poor chelator of Mercury compared with DMPS. Another possible reason is that Lipoic Acid is a large part of Cutler's suggested regime, and it is mainly Mercury and Arsenic that is mobilised by this, and not Lead, so a chelating agent that is able to more effectively 'mop up' the Mercury and Arsenic is preferred (although he does state that taking a chelating agent with Lipoic acid is not strictly necessary). EDTA is also probably the least discriminate chelating agent, bonding with mineral elements and causing demineralisation if preventative mineral supplementation is not used.

Cutler recommends the use of Alpha Lipoic Acid (a.k.a. Lipoic Acid or ALA) as part of an overall Mercury detoxification programme. Lipoic Acid is a mobilising agent and helps to draw them out of the body's cells and from the brain (across the Blood-Brain Barrier). Neither of the above chelating agents used can do this, as they simply 'mop up' the heavy metals that are in the bloodstream and on the outside of cell membranes (and not from the inside of the cells or indeed the internal organs). However, whilst Lipoic acid is highly effective at mobilising heavy metals, it is not particularly effective as a chelating agent. It also has a very short half-life in the body, and the levels drop off rather quickly. This is why Cutler recommends frequent dosing of Lipoic Acid to maintain Lipoic Acid levels. Lipoic Acid can transport heavy metals both in and out of the brain, depending on the relative concentrations inside the brain and in the rest of the body. It is therefore critically important not to take Lipoic Acid immediately after an amalgam filling removal, and not until one has been using a chelating agent for some months, in order to 'mop' up any Mercury in readily accessible places in the body, before releasing any more from the tissues and into the bloodstream. Cutler also recommends taking low dosages of ALA because higher dosages may both result in too much Mercury being released from the tissues at once (making one feel very ill) and also the possibility of redistributing it back into the brain again. Cutler recommends Lipoic acid over any natural mobilising agents such as Cilantro, because there is too little information and few if any studies on its consistency or performance. He also does not recommend TTFD. I know that it is a reasonably good mobilising agent but not as potent as Lipoic Acid. Cutler does not mention Humic or Fulvic Acid.

Whilst Cutler is against the use of natural chelating and mobilising agents, as he does not believe they are effective, he does not totally dismiss the use of herbs and natural products as one might think. He suggests a number of herbs, as well as nutritional elements, vitamins and prohormones in his book to support various other biochemical pathways, including mitochondrial, endocrine, nervous system function, not all strictly related to detoxification. Cutler presents on a high level a complete treatment outline, discussing what supplements to take and not to take, from his perspective. One example, he suggests that one may want to take Manganese, but if so, only in RDA doses in Mercury toxic individuals, as it may cause problems he suggests of which he is non-specific. I have taken higher than RDA doses of Mn to support adrenal and mitochondrial function on and off for a number of years, on recommendation from my practitioner, with no specific problems relating to the Mn as far as I am aware.

Cutler strongly advises against using any Cysteine, Methionine and MSM. This is because he believes that they redistribute Mercury and do not significantly increase excretion of heavy metals from the body, and should never be supplemented (in a Mercury detoxification programme). He states that some Mercury toxified patients have elevated Cysteine levels anyway (who should not supplement either Cysteine or Methionine, but this is not the case in my experience. Cutler suggests using SAMe (the methyl-group donor) instead of Methionine, so as to not raise Cysteine or Homocysteine levels. Cutler instead suggests that N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is the preferred amino acid for those who have low blood or live Glutathione levels, as it is the best method for raising them. He cites a dosage of between 500-4000mg, the latter which is quite a large amount, even for those who are deficient! Dr Kinghardt, for example, recommends against using large amounts of NAC early on in a detoxification programme as it can migrate Mercury into the brain. Those with elevated blood plasma Cysteine levels and normal Glutathione (GSH) levels may find it harmful to raise their GSH levels (he states). Any GSH supplemented orally should be broken down in the digestive tract into its constituent amino acids. William Rasmussen suggests that GSH supplementation can however raise excretion levels of Mercury, via the biliary tract (i.e. via the gut), but that an intestinal absorbant is necessary to prevent the heavy metals reabsorption into the bloodstream. I am not entirely convinced that GSH supplementation is inadvisable, as he has found it to be useful as part of his heavy metal detoxification programme (using stabilised forms such as Tyler's Recancostat, in low dosages). It is my understanding that it is useful to maintain one's levels of GSH at a healthy and normal level, but that the emphasis on chelation should be on a chelating agent, as it is the more efficient method of removing heavy metals from the system than GSH conjugates, which can allow heavy metals to be reabsorbed into the digestive tract if one is not taking an intestinal absorbant. It is possible that higher dosages of GSH and NAC may be detrimental, but usually only when the levels of circulating or readily accessible Mercury are very high, or possibly when one is at the limit of detoxification capability with other chelating/mobilising agents. I have at varying times taken large amounts of Glutathione, NAC and particularly MSM (a couple of grams per day), and not experienced any negative side effects at all. However, when my circulating levels of Mercury were very high indeed, then only small dosages of these could be taken, and too much would result in severe headaches, losses of energy and acne-type spots or swellings on the head. One example of a supplement containing all three of these Amino Acids is Thorne Research's MediClear, which in the latter example, taken at the recommended dosage was perfectly satisfactory but over that, the overdetoxification effects would build up over a period of days and disappear over a few days when the dosage was reduced back to normal. On a final note, it should be noted that the use of ALA will effectively increase Glutathione levels anyway because it is a precursor to GSH and also a powerful antioxidant that helps to recycle GSH from its oxidised form.

Cutler goes to great length in his book to explain the background about Mercury toxicity, the danger of amalgams etc. but presumably if you are buying the book, you already know you want to eliminate Mercury from the body. He examines a number of common supplements and weighs up their pros and cons as far as Mercury detoxification is concerned - this is very useful (although subject to his personal opinion in places). Unfortunately he provides no explanation of why it is actually important to use frequent dosing and to maintain constant levels of chelating and mobilising agents whilst they are being used (on the 'on' days). He does state briefly that the reason low dosages are preferred is that the amount of harm from cytotoxicity from the chelating agents (the synthetic chelating agents he suggests being toxic themselves), and also from the chelated heavy metals that are in transit and being processed for removal from the body by the kidneys, is at least proportional to the concentration ingested, and possibly even more. In other words, taking double the dosage of DMPS may be more than twice as toxic as taking half that dosage. Further down in this section, some of Cutler's yahoo group posts are discussed. It is only here that he discusses why frequent dosing is important, and here it is only briefly (and somewhat flippantly) mentioned with little explanation. He states that dosage levels are to be kept constant in the body because otherwise mercury can be transported into the brain. This point should really have been elaborated on, and explained at length in his book. Perhaps something for a re-edition?

Cutler makes the following suggestions in his book, post-amalgam removal, which vary slightly from place to place. He suggests that symptom exacerbation should be expected regardless of precautions taken. If you are chelating for the first time, it would be advisable to follow a similar regime (if you are following this protocol, or otherwise to not take any ALA at the start of your detoxification programme). Ultimately he suggests there are no absolutes regarding days on and days off, and actual amounts of chelating and mobilising agents taken, that is something you (and your practitioner) need to figure out yourselves.

1. Use oral DMPS - every 8 hours - on a 7 day on/7 day off basis or a 10 day on 4 day off basis, starting no earlier than 4 days after last amalgam removal. Same schedule for oral DMSA if that is used instead, but take it every 3-4 hours. Start at dosages of 25 to 50mg and slowly increase to 50-300mg [my comment: the dosages for DMPS and DMSA are vastly different as DMPS is hugely more powerful, perhaps 20x so.] Follow this regime for 2-6 months.

2. After the above mopping up phase, it is time to start mobilising mercury from the tissues and to start removing it from the brain. (P.75) Take Lipoic acid every 3-4 hours, starting at 25-50mg and working one's way to up 100-200mg per dosage (doubling up for every increase), as side effects diminish or are tolerated [my comment: this is an awfully high maximum target dosage and awfully rapid rate of increase for some people]. On-days recommendation is a few days to a few weeks, with a break after each 'campaign' or cycle. Elsewhere (P.203), he suggests 3-14 days on/4-7 days off. ALA may inhibit Copper and Zinc excretion which is why regular breaks are needed so levels of these metals do not become elevated. Whilst this may be an issue, I strongly believe that the danger of cumulative levels of circulating heavy metals and possible increase in inflammation is probably the most important reason for requiring breaks with ALA (and indeed any other mobilising agent). Also, take either DMPS (every 8 hours) or DMSA (every 3-4 hours), with a 7 day on/7day off cycle or 10 day on/4 day off cycle. Elsewhere (p.90) he states to start off with 3 days on/4 days off for both DMPS/DMSA (whichever you use) AND Lipoic Acid. Continue this for between 4 and 30 months.

We shall now examine some of the sources of information on the Cutler Protocol on the internet.

A Cutler adherent, (alias?) Moria Merriweather, has created the following site with explanations of various parts of the Cutler protocol, in order to make more sense of it or to refine it further. It seems to differ slightly from the recommendations in Cutler's book. Perhaps it is time Cutler updated his book and rereleased it. For example, Merriweather states to take ALA every 3 hours (or 4 at a stretch during the night to get more sleep!) whereas Andy says to take ALA every 4 hours as it is used up after that. The idea is to keep the chelating agent and ALA levels continuous during the chelating on days. However, according to Xymogen, ALA is normally used up in 2-3 hours, whereas their slow release formula ALAmax CR releases ALA for 4-6 hours. Cutler in a yahoo group post excerpt states that he sceptical of slow release ALA supplements as their delivery may not be consistent and continuous. However it should be noted that taking immediately releasing ALA supplements every 4 hours is no guarantee of continuous levels of plasma ALA, as it is likely to spike levels just as much, if not more, given how rapidly it is absorbed into the body.

Word Document of Cutler Protocol according to Moira Merriweather (an ex-patient)

Moria makes the following suggestion for her version of the Cutler Protocol:

The length of the cycles is said to vary according to the individual, but in general terms, 3 days on followed by at least 3 days off is the norm; or alternatively 3 days on 11 days off. A minimum of 3 nights and 2 days on (2.6 days on) is recommended. A maximum of 2 weeks on is said to be the upper limit.

The Yahoo group 'frequent-dose-chelation' is dedicated to discussion of Cutler Low Frequent Dose Chelation. The files section contains a number of reference sources and one is sent a number of files by TK and Linda J, the group administrators, regarding their interpretation of the Cutler protocol. They suggest 3 days on and 3 days off for initial rounds, and suggest a dosage schedule for subsequent rounds.

The link below contains a number of interesting articles on the half-life of organic mercury, the movement of mercury and the action of different chelating agents (i.e. ALA/LA compared with DMSA and DMPS). Where Cutler refers to 'Chlorella' he in fact means NDF; as Chlorella is an absorbant, not a chelating agent, as it remains in the gut. NDF is 'nanoised' meaning each cell wall is chopped up into small fragments and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Cutler's protocol is said to work on the basis that organic mercury is converted by the body to inorganic mercury, and the half-life of organic mercury in the body is 44 days. The liver and gallbladder excrete mercury in the form of inorganic mercury, into the digestive tract, where approximately 10% is reabsorbed back into the body (being relatively difficult for it to pass back into the blood from the digestive tract). He postulates also that DMSA and DMPS do not allow Mercury to cross the blood brain barrer, nor do they themselves cross it to remove mercury from the brain, but that ALA does both of these things. This is why he recommends using ALA in conjunction with synthetic chelators, to assist in removal of mercury from the brain. He also suggests this is why ALA should not be used at least 4 months prior to a mercury amalgam filling removal. ALA is regarded as a much faster chelator, which is why it is dosed more frequently that the other chelators. Cutler asserts that there are two things to consider with a chelating agent, firstly the strength of the bond between the chelator and the heavy metal atom (called equilibrium) and the frequency with which the chelating agents drops the heavy metal and picks it up again (called kinetics) - a strong bond not necessary meaning that the chelator does not 'drop' its chelant regularly. Cutler devised his chelation schedule to avoid excessive damage caused by higher doses and less frequently dosing of chelating agents, which he believes contribute to redistribution of mercury around the body rather than it's elimination.

Proponents of the Cutler Protocol believe that one should not take any chelating agents or any glutathione precursors prior to doing extensive reading on the Cutler Protocol, as failure to follow the correct protocol may result in inefficient chelation, redistribution of mercury around the body and especially concentrating it in the brain, and excessive damage to the body (free radical damage and poisoning in general).

However, as stated above, not everyone is in agreement with the Cutler Protocol. Some critics argue that the protocol, in chelation terms may be reasonably logical, in terms of one's overall health and energy levels, and biochemical efficiency in terms of liver function and mitochondrial function etc, then interrupting one's sleep to take ALA doses is counterintuitive, as the body is desperately short of proper delta sleep as it is, so any regime that further disrupts one's sleep cycle, even if not every night, is an extremely bad idea.

I believe it may have some valid advice to offer, but is not completely convinced about using DMSA or DMPS rather than more natural chelating agents as a hard and fast rule. I can also see no direct connection between the concept of half-life of organic mercury, and the concepts of the half-life of chelating agents and their 'kinetic' qualities (ability to drop heavy metals and pick them up again). In addition, there are few actual scientific trials of the natural chelating agents discussed on this page, and indeed their 'kinetic' qualities or ability to drop and redistribute mercury. Indeed, the natural chelating products mentioned are not generally subjected to different regimes, like frequent low dosing. Manufacturers and indeed many doctors and specialists recommend using them in a 2-3 times a day manner. Who is right, I am not entirely sure, but it can do no harm studying as widely as possible and experimenting with a few different approaches, and making up your own mind.

I tried an adapted version of stage 1 the above protocol, using EDTA instead of DMSA, at lower dosages, and found that more than 2 consecutive days was very tiring on the kidneys, and 6 consecutive days resulted in severe kidney pain a few days later and excessive fatigue for a week. One may want to consider a more gentle regime with fewer consecutive days if one is intent on applying the Cutler Protocol. However, I tried such a regime with one week of DMPS and one week of DMSA, dosing 3 times a day, and afterwards, I was unable to take ALA for a month or so, on account of either the redistribution of Mercury or otherwise, as there was so much Mercury in his system, in the blood/outside of the cells. In short it was disasterous. It is hard to say whether it was the DMPS or DMSA as I took them on subsequent weeks, but the DMSA felt much 'rougher'. If I had taken them 3 days on, 4 days off, around the clock, it might perhaps have been different. Or perhaps it was a sign of the properties of DMSA. Another possible and perhaps quite likely explanation is months of high ALA and other mobilisation agent usage prior, which likely had a cumulative effect of building up heavy metal levels in the bloodstream and tissues, and moving more Mercury into the brain. It is hard to say for sure.

When looking at data regarding the blood plasma concentration half life of various chelating and mobilising agents, it is important to factor in the time it takes to absorb the compound upon ingestion. Pure blood plasma half life figures are literally that - with a compound in the blood at concentrate 'x' at time 'zero', how long will it take for the concentration of that compound to drop to 'x/2'? It is based on injecting the compound into the bloodstream. It tells us nothing about the absorption time if taken orally. Some compounds are absorbed quicker than others and it is possible that Cutler has chosen compounds with faster absorption rates in relative terms. The slower the absorption rate, the lower the peak blood plasma concentration value will be. Also, the time for it to drop from 1/2 to 1/4 of the total max concentration will likely be slightly faster than the drop from maximum to 1/2, as there is less of the compound being absorbed from the GI tract into the bloodstream. As the concentration of the (orally consumed) compound drops, the closer it's rate of decrease will resemble the blood plasma half-life. So when trying to figure out when a chelating agent's concentration will reach 1/2 of it's (theoretical maximum), which corresponds with the time between doses according to Cutler's regime, one must consider the entire process of ingestion, gradual absorption, peaking, then gradually dropping off to 1/2 of the original peak value (all the while still absorbing some remaining compound from the intestines). This is why the theoretical blood plasma half-life of ALA is 27 minutes whereas the dosing frequency is 3-4 hours.

Recommendations vary regarding the frequency, schedule and dosage of EDTA suppositories. T. Michael Culp recommended me to take 3 Detoxamin for Kids suppositories (375mg) three times a week (on alternate days, i.e. every other day for 6 days then an extra day off), on the basis of muscle testing. This worked out quite well - with sufficient additional mineral intake. Jean Munro of Breakspear Medical recommended an 800mg EDTA suppository, taken on 3 consecutive nights, then 11 days break (which is more or less the same dosage over 2 weeks as Culp's recommendation but taken in a different way). I tried taking a whole such 800mg suppository and did feel tired for a couple of days afterwards, so would imagine that 3 consecutive days would be very draining indeed. I found that on his 3 x Detoxamin for Kids suppositories, I was not able to take any other chelating agents, as they strained my kidneys. In addition, when I had taken too much ALA, and after ceasing the ALA, took Detoxamin for Kids, 6 nights in a row, as an emergency measure to remove the built up heavy metals, I found it far too much and felt exhausted the following week and had a pain in my left kidney for a couple of days. The regime felt good for the first 2 nights, then after that it felt rather exhausting even when I was taking the EDTA. I would not recommend such a regime even in an emergency. Whilst Andrew Hall Cutler does not recommend EDTA, he does make several suggestions for other chelating agents such as DMPS and DMSA. These include 3 days on and 3 days off; and even 7 days on and 7 days off. The latter schedule would presumably be far too much for most people to handle.

As EDTA is generally regarded as being more efficient at Lead removal than DMSA, there is really no need to take DMSA anyway. A new chelating agent called OSR#1 (Oxidative Stress Relief) by NeuroScience, is reputed to be far more effective a chelator of Mercury than DMPS, and so it could perhaps replace DMPS in terms of Mercury removal, displacing the need for either DMPS or DMSA in Cutler's Protocol entirely. Whether OSR#1 should be dosed around the clock like DMPS, for best effect and least problems, I am unsure. OSR#1 comes in either capsule or powder form. The recommended dosage is 1 capsule per day, so it would be hard to break it up into smaller dosages. The half-life is 6-7 hours, so perhaps a Cutler-esque protocl would involved taking it 4 times a day or so. Although Boyd Haley believes it stays in the system for days, he does not believe that the product accumulates in the body over time. OSR#1 does come in powder form also, 2 scoops providing the same dosage as 1 capsule. So perhaps the dosage could be broken up in some manner if desired using the powder form. Please see the OSR section for more information.

Perhaps Cutler's recommendations are a theoretical model that may well apply and be useful for most people, but not all, the body being a quirky thing and chelation not being an exact science. One could make the following comparison. If you wanted to get in shape, you might go to the gym 3 times a week for heavy aerobic sessions. Other people might prefer to go to the gym 6-7 times a week, but doing slightly less intensive workouts. However, who would exercise at a low intensity 24 hours a day? For 7 or more days at a time? It might be easier for the first few hours but after a while the body would keel over through lack of sleep. Clearly this is not a completely valid comparison, but there are certain parallels. The liver may require more breaks than Cutler proposes, perhaps a rest day after every on day, or perhaps rest periods during each day. The dosage and frequency may well depend primarily on your liver health, and it's ability to be worked more than normal for short or medium periods, and not just on the capability of your liver to remove toxins or on your toxic load. I have found that taking OSR#1 3 times a week (on alternate days) was beneficial, with no side effects. In addition, at a time when I was recovering from having overdone ALA (dosed too highly at first, but without rest periods throughout) for 6 months, and when I was able to take small amounts of ALA again, some months later, I found that taking a small amount 3 times a week was better than dividing that dosage up into 4-6 hourly doses around the clock (24/7) which resulted in me feeling very unwell after half a day.

As stated above, perhaps the Cutler Protocol should be revised in the light of more cutting edge supplements, such as slow or controlled release forms of chelating agents, such as ALAmax CR by Xymogen, launched in 2008, or perhaps Jarrow Formulas' Alpha Lipoic Acid Sustain 300, which can assist in maintaining continuous levels of ALA in the blood for longer periods, rather than spikes every 3-4 hours, prolonging the intervals between the repeat dosing, meaning less sleep interruption. ALAmax CR provides ALA for up to 4-6 hours.

Cutler advises against using R-LA instead of ALA, as he believes it is experimental in nature, will not work for chelation and causes very bad side effects (turning some patients into 'vegetables'), and at best just will not work. This view is not substantiated with any specific facts by Cutler (as usual), in his archived forum post and also on However, I have used R-LA without any major issues, and some even prefer it to ALA as they have had less side effects. To say that R-LA will not chelate is nonsense. ALA is 50% R-LA and 50% S-LA, the S-LA component not serving a chelation function. Some have reported that the S-LA component of ALA is problematic and causes side effects of ALA! Please see the Lipoic Acid section for more information. Some may make the mistake of taking a dosing recommendation for ALA and applying it to Na-RLA which is in effect twice as strong a chelator. I have myself experienced severe problems with ALA when dosed daily, around the clock, with few rest days over 6 months. This was on account of too few rest days and too high a dosage. Ultimately it comes down to how you use Lipoic Acid that determines whether it is useful or poisoning you with increasing amounts of mobilised Mercury. It is possible that the cases Cutler is refering to who used Na-RLA had been dosing it incorrectly and hence had experienced the severe side effects.

Cutler does not mention intestinal absorbants or binding agents in his book. Whilst they are not strictly necessary for use with DMPS or DMSA, as these chelating agents are removed by the kidneys, the body will always be removing some heavy metals with its own Glutathione via the digestive tract, especially so when mobilising more heavy metals with ALA, so that the use of an intestinal absorbant is really highly recommended if not essential on a regular or semi-regular basis. There is no point mopping up metals in the bloodstream efficiently if your gut is full of heavy metals, where they are being reabsorbed and making you feel ill. However, more importantly, Cutler's book is geared towards removal of Mercury Amalgam fillings and subsequent treatment. During Mercury amalgam filling removal, even with all the precautions in place, you will likely ingest some significant amount of Mercury (i.e. swallow). A large part of this Mercury can be absorbed and removed from the digestive tract by the use of absorbants like Charcoal or Bentonite Clay, so much less ends up in the bloodstream. There is little to gain and much to lose by simply letting it pass through the digestive tract as per normal food transit, absorbing more into the body, and having to remove it with synthetic chelating agents later on. One will likely end up much more ill than one needs to be. Of course it depends to some extent on the body's sensitivity to Mercury, but still. Not to stress the importance of absorbants in this application is borderline criminal in my opinion.

Cutler is not too bothered in his book about exact dosage suggestions for DMPS, DMSA or ALA, which is understandable, unlike the internet writers and groups that discuss his protocol and refine it. However, it should be noted that if you get the dosage wrong (i.e. too high), then Cutler's suggestion of 24 hour regular consumption of chelating and mobilising agents can become round the clock poisoning. Unlike other chelation schedules that allow for rest time each day. The latter type of schedules however may not rely on so many 'rest' days or 'off' days as Cutler's LFCA. Cutler makes the highly dubious statement in his book that it does not matter per se what the exact dosage is of the chelating agent or ALA, as long as you are taking it in the right schedule and at the right time. Whilst this may be true up to an optimal dosage, if you go over that dosage, then you will likely experience severe side effects, cause excessive inflammation, deplete your energy levels and put unnecessary strain on your liver and kidneys. Cutler also mentions that it does not matter if you cannot find a doctor initially who subscribes to the protocol. I would care to differ here also, as a rigorous detoxification programme requires careful balancing and also monitoring, and a second pair of eyes; and regular testing.

There are a number of minor errors in Cutler's Amalgam Illness book. In many cases, Cutler is half right but also half wrong. For example, on P.159 regarding 'methylating donors and compounds', he cites SAMe, Choline, TMG, Folate and B12 as examples of methyl donors and compounds as 'all having similar effects via methyl metabolism. This is rather misleading to compare SAMe with these other compounds. SAMe is a methylating agent and is used to create Cysteine, Glutathione and numerous other methylated compounds. Choline and Phosphatidyl Choline (PC) are product of methylation, not a methylation donor, and are manufactured from Cysteine (at some point). PC is created by the methylation of Phosphatidyl Ethanolamine (PE). Cysteine is manufactured by methylation, using SAMe. TMG, Folate and B12 are all cofactors in the remethylation of Homocysteine back into Methionine. Strictly speaking, Folate (5-MTHF) and Methyl-B12 combine to form the MTR enzyme, which is the actual methylating agent that remethylates Homocysteine back into Methionine. MTR cannot be formed in sufficient quantities if one or the other of these ingredient vitamins is deficient (therefore usually supplemented together). Neither vitamin serves any other biological purpose (in this form - Adenosyl-B12 is involved in metabolism). TMG is an alternative pathway to remethylating homocysteine back into methionine. Folate, B12 and TMG are not interchangeable to SAMe in their biological functions in any way. For more information on methylation, please see the Nutritional page. It seems that Cutler rushed some parts of his book, or wrote it from memory in places. Part of it reads rather conversationally with double exclamation marks etc. The above however is particularly ironic as Cutler himself criticises others for their lack of understanding of chemistry in the section on Cysteine on P.149: 'some physicians who squeaked by in chemistry class many years ago don't understand biochemistry well enough to realize that this will redistribute mercury in teh body rather than cause its excretion'. Such inappropriate remarks are really out of place in a book that seeks professional recognition and attempts to be serious in its remit.

William Rasmussen, author of Lead Detoxification Naturally and Natural Mercury Detoxification, subscribes to some of Cutler's concepts regarding low frequent dose chelation, but chooses to use Cilantro instead of Lipoic Acid, and NDF instead of either DMPS or DMSA. NDF does contain Cilantro anyway, but it is possible that one requires more mobilising agent than is in NDF as one progresses through one's chelation programme. Rasmussen says that he disagrees with Cutler in that he absolutely insists that a chelating agent is used with ALA, to actual excrete the mobilised heavy metals from the body. Cutler states that it is not strictly necessary, but states in his recommended schedule to use a chelating agent with ALA. He discusses this regime in his review of his own book on

Dr Thomas Janossy ( writes in his PDF document Recommended Detoxamin Protocol about taking Detoxamin (EDTA) 3 times a week, on alternate days, and also ALA (3 times a day) and MSM.

Criticisms aside, there are many positive aspects to Cutler's LFDC, and if I was going to take DMPS or DMSA again, I would follow Cutler's suggestions. Taking less more often is clearly gentler on the body than higher dosages less often. Assuming one gets the dosages right in LFCA. Iagree with Cutler's suggestions regarding ALA dosing, and when to dose ALA, albeit with the use of slow release ALA supplements; and the importance of taking regular breaks. I would also adapt the approach to more natural chelating agents which Cutler does not believe are effective, if appropriate (depending on how practical this is considering the format of the chelating agent and also the estimated optimal interval - based on less data than for DMPS or DMSA of course); and include intestinal cleansing and absorbants as part of the regime.

Whilst I believe the dosing schedule is beneficial, or rather a gentler way of dosing than less often, I do not believe that one should wake oneself up during the night to take one's scheduled dosage. Patients are likely to have too little Delta wave/deep sleep as it is, without disturbing the sleep they do have. However, patients are likely to wake up frequently during the night anyway, and if so, if a waking moment or bathroom visit coincides with the time to dose the chelating agent or mobilising agent, then it may be a good time to do so then. If one takes supplements during the night to help with sleep, be they Melatonin, 5-HTP and/or L-Theanine, or perhaps even Mitochondrial support supplements, then one could also take one's ALA then etc. One caveat to the ALA dosage however is that I found that taking any more than 150mg of ALA during the night made me wake up and feel euphoric, and make it very difficult to get back to sleep again. Everyone is different and it depends also on whether there is a mitochondrial requirement for ALA or not that might generate such a sensation.

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Toxicity of Certain Synthetic Chelating Agents

Chelation agents vary greatly. They include natural compounds such Cilantro (Chinese Parsley / Coriander Leaf) etc. And also include artificially synthesized amino acids (that do not occur naturally), such as EDTA (EthyleneDiamine TetraAcetic Acid), DMSA (DiMercaptoSuccinic Acid) and DMPS (DiMercapto-Propane Sulphonate - not yet FDA approved).The chelating agents reviewed on this page mainly consist of natural plant and soil extracts, with less emphasis on synthetic chelating agents.

EDTA exhibits low acute toxicity in laboratory rats, and has been found to be both cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and weakly genotoxic (toxic to genetic material) in laboratory animals. No such data exists for humans as far as I am aware. It is classed as a persistent organic pollutant. EDTA is a powerful antioxidant. EDTA is found in a variety of skin and bathroom products, and is also used in various medicine applications e.g. as a blood anti-coagulant in blood samples, and to prevent cell clumping on account of Calcium deposits.

DMSA is known to cross the blood-brain barrier in humans, however to what extent this actually occurs is debatable. It has a relatively low level of toxicity, reputedly 3 times less than that of DMPS, which is less adept at crossing the blood-brain barrier, but arguably a better chelator of Mercury. The dosage of DMSA compared with DMPS is however usually around 10-20 times higher. This may perhaps be why DMPS is 'smoother' to use than DMSA as it does not cross the blood brain barrier and the effective toxicity from the chelating agent at that given dosage is lower than it is for DMSA. . DMSA is used mainly for chelating Mercury and Lead. EDTA, DMPS and DMSA are all excreted via the kidneys.

A web site examining the application of DMSA and other protocols for targeting specific heavy metals can be seen at the link below.

D-Penicillamine (e.g. trade names Cuprimine and Depen) is a metabolite of the Pencillium fungi. It is another pharmaceutical chelating agent, mainly for mercury poisoning, but it is less commonly used, on account of a variety of potential side effects.

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Comparative Studies and Reviews of Chelating Agents:

The pdf document 'Treatment Options for Mercury/Metal Toxicity in Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities: Consensus Position Paper February 2005' by the Autism Research Institute can be read by clicking on the link below. This document examines chelation in general and the effects of heavy metal toxicity. The protocols reflect many of the concepts on this page, although they rely on synthetic chelation agents. The document also reviews the pros and cons of the usage of DMSA, DMPS and TTFD.

Dr Mercola stipulates that DMPS is a much more effective chelator than DMSA.

A web site that examines the pros and cons of DMSA and DMPS is shown below. This web site postulates that DMSA is preferable to DPMS, reaching the opposite conclusion to Dr Mercola! Perhaps this is based on the strength/effectiveness of DMPS compared with DMSA with respect to its ability to chelate mercury - i.e. it is easier to make a mistake in the dosage. The web site however postulates that DMSA is less preferable than natural methods like Cilantro.

A comparison of IV and oral chelation methods by James C. Roberts MD FACC can be found at the link below.

Synthetic chelating agents, and some mineral-based chelating agents, are charge specific, and are known to bind with nutritional minerals as well as heavy metals. If not used sensibly and in accordance with a mineral supplementation programme, this can result in demineralisation, which in extreme cases can be life-threatening. This is explored more in the Demineralisation section below.

The chelating agents considered for use on this page, and described below, are in the context of oral usage (and anal in the case of EDTA).

Cilantro has been proven to be effective at safely removing close to 100% of heavy metals and toxins from the body. Whilst some of the artificial drugs have proven to reasonably effective, it could be argued that a natural approach should be at least tried first. Cilantro and other natural chelating and mobilising agents are examined in more detail further below on this page.

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Targetted Chelation by Heavy Metal

Some chelating agents are better at binding with some heavy metals than others. So if you are trying to remove a particular heavy metal that the chelating agent is not best suited to, then you may be taking high dosages and be under the impression you have finished chelating, when in fact you haven't, you are just using the wrong chelating agent. Examples of such synthetic chelating agents are:

- EDTA is most effective of all chelating agents at chelating Lead from the blood stream and accessible tissue compartments. It will strongly chelate Arsenic. It will also chelate but less effectively, Mercury, Aluminium, Barium, Nickel, Cadmium and Uranium. EDTA is most effective taken anally rather than orally as it is not effectively absorbed in the GI tract. EDTA will also remove nutritional minerals such as Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Nickel and Copper.

- DMSA is reasonably effective at chelating lead. DMPS and DMSA are most effective at chelating Mercury from the tissues, although DMPS is by far the most powerful of the two (meaning you should not take it if you still have mercury amalgam fillings).

- Lipoic Acid and other mobilisers are mainly used for mobilising Mercury and Arsenic (as stated above in the Categorisation section), rather than metals such as Lead, which generally speaking does not require such mobilisation to be reached by chelating agents.

- IP6 is the chelating agent of choice for Iron. EDTA will also work for Iron.

- Citric acid in high doses may also help in the excretion of Aluminium. EDTA will also chelate Aluminium, probably more effectively.

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Use of Absorbants in Parallel

It is also extremely important to also consume an absorbant in conjunction with a chelation programme, such as chlorella or bentonite clay, so that any toxic substances that are deposited into the GI tract by the liver are binded with and rendered less harmful and unlikely to be reabsorbed back into the body. Food and waste takes a long time to pass through the GI tract and colon, and if heavy metals do build up in the colon, they may be reabsorbed and retoxify the patient. If no absorbant is taken, most neurotoxins are reabsorbed on the way down the small intestine by the multitude of nerve endings of the enteric nervous system.

One can't really take too much absorbant (although it is physically possible). Some absorbants absorb nutrition mineral elements so one has to be careful to take them apart from mineral supplements and not take such absorbants too often.

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Balancing Chelation

Chelation in general is a fine art, a balancing of releasing chelated toxin molecules into the blood stream, over and above what you liver normally has to deal with (in terms of digestive functions and breaking down toxins), and not releasing too many 'new' toxins into the blood in one go that the liver is not able to process comfortably in one go. Chelation, depending on how well the chelation agent 'masks' the toxin, is akin to a form of very mild but controlled poisoning, occurring over a prolonged period. When one takes too much chelant, then one is effectively 'poisoning' the whole body and it certainly feels like this. It is not the same effect as ingesting a large relative quantity of that same heavy metal, as the metals released are chelated or bound to a chelating agent and are thus slightly less reactive or poisonous.

There is almost always a worsening or sensitisation of the body to its 'normal' symptoms when the heavy metals are released from their previous locations in the body. This may include other sensitivities including (food) allergies or immune-mediated intolerances, or sensitivies to Electromagnetic Fields (e.g. promoximity to light bulbs or TV sets when in use, headphone usage, computer usage etc.) This release of metals results in an increase in circulating levels of (chelated) heavy metals which mimicks the effects of the toxicity of the singular heavy metals themselves. This is why it is advisable to let the body work at the rate it is comfortable with and not to increase the level of circulating toxins to more than it can handle.

Arbitrary dosage recommendations are to be taken with a pinch of salt, as they are usually just guess work, and ultimately one has to detox by the 'seat of one's pants' or rather, listen to the body, and find the best dosage for oneself for a given point in time, and learn to safely adapt this over time without being too impatient or too cautious. This is discussed more in the Balancing Liver Function and Energy Levels during a Detoxification Programme section above.

Chelation is a balance of considering the short term and the long term. You want the long term benefits of a decreased toxic burden in the body, but you have to consider the short term - your short term energy levels - and not overdo it too much as to send your energy levels and liver function crashing down, which of course has knock on effects in terms of the medium term and long term outlook. You have to pick a pace of chelation that is sustainable. The competitor in a 1500m race who starts off running as if he is in a 100m race may think he is clever when he is in the lead, but won't be feeling so clever when he burns himself out too soon and the other competitors overtake him and finish much sooner than he does as he spends half of the race walking as he is too tired to run.

It is important to bear in mind that the body is excreting heavy metals all the time, in the urine and faeces, via the liver and kidney pathways, with Glutathione etc., and that any chelation you do is increasing the amount of excretion demanded of these organs. In the case of DMPS, for example, it is likely to increase urinary excretion of Mercury 3-4 times, but in terms of the body's total increase in excreted heavy metals (combined kidney, liver, skin and breath excretion), it may only be an increase of around 40%. However, that is still putting a significant burden on the body.

It is critically important to note that chelation can be very detrimental to your health and be very destructive to your treatment programme, and even result in cardiac failure is managed incorrectly (in extreme cases). Certain chelating agents also remove nutritional mineral elements from the blood and tissues as well as toxic mineral elements such as heavy metals, and as such may result in critically low levels of potassium, magnesium or calcium if not managed correctly. This chiefly affects synthetic chelating agents, such as DMPS, DMSA and EDTA, but still applies to a lesser extent to some more natural chelating agents. This page is chiefly concerned with natural chelating agents, but even so, they should be used carefully and sensibly - with sufficient breaks. Whilst in general detoxification is a good thing, one needs to consider one's overall energy levels, and whether it is indeed appropriate to undergo a chelation programme at that point in time. It may for instance be wise to delay it until one is in better shape. It depends if toxicity is on the critical path or not in relative terms. If one does undergo a chelation programme, one must pace it correctly, have sufficient breaks, and be wary of the dosages. There is nothing particularly clever about engaging in an over zealous chelation regime, with few if any breaks, at high dosages, and making oneself extremely ill. Any 'idiot' can make himself extremely ill, this is not a skill! Nor particularly constructive. For example, to pick a rather strange metaphor, it is all well and good having clean shoes, but if you have been shot in the head, it is not really any use to you.

Chelation and detoxification in general can be very taxing, and it may be recommended that if you are engaging in this activity, then you do not put your usual stressors on the body or engage in your usual stressful activities or draining activities, if applicable, as the combination of doing with in conjunction with chelation or cellular detoxification will put a much greater burden on the body than those activities alone, resulting in a gradual decline in your energy levels and your adrenal function, if you are not careful and pace yourself properly.

You may wish to consider alternating between chelators that are primarily excreted by the liver and those that are primarily excreted by the kidneys. This may alleviate the strain on one particular organ if taken over a long period of time. However ideally sufficient rest periods and a manageable dosage employed so that this does not occur.

It is extremely important to ensure that the energetic levels of organs such as your liver and kidneys are sufficiently high to accommodate for your current level of detoxification at any particular time in your detoxification programme. Over time, cellular detoxification will tend to deplete the energy of these organs. This may perhaps merely be a TCM explanation for levels of liver Phase I and II compounds required for proper liver function. You should be supporting the liver, nutritionally, and by other means, during a detoxification programme.

Therapies such as Quantum Touch, Bio-Energy Healing or oriental medicine may be to ascertain the energetic health of your kidneys and liver. These are examined in more detail on the Energetic Therapies page. In addition, a blood microscopy can reveal if the liver has become stressed by too much detoxification. More comprehensively, an LFDP test would probably provide the most information.

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Critics of Chelation Therapy

Many doctors believe that chelation therapy is of little therapeutic use in the treatment of CFS, and conversely is harmful to patients. This is perhaps based on inappropriate chelation regimes.

Chelation therapy can of course be extremely detrimental to your health if not performed properly, and a large number of people who use this therapy arguably tend to abuse it rather than follow a sensible regime. The fact that opinions on how to chelate in relative safety vary so considerably does not help. Critics may have a point, but I believe this is a rather one sided view as there are many success stories amongst the horror stories. At the end of the day, if you decide to use chelation therapy, then you do so at your own peril and should do your research properly before commencing, to avoid rather unnecessary mistakes.

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Proper Hydration

Chelation requires the patient to consume very large amounts of water to ensure that the toxins are released from the tissues are not allowed to accumulate in the bloodstream and retoxify the body, but are effectively flushed out of the body as quickly as possible in the urine by the kidneys.

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Demineralisation and Mineral Supplementation

Synthetic chelating agents, and some mineral-based chelating agents, are charge specific, and are known to bind with nutritional minerals as well as heavy metals. If not used sensibly and in accordance with a mineral supplementation programme, this can result in demineralisation, which in extreme cases can be life-threatening.

EDTA for example, is charge specific, and each molecule has an atomic charge of -2. EDTA molecules will therefore float around the body and bond with anything that has a +2 atomic charge. This includes heavy metal atoms, e.g. Lead, but also nutrient minerals (cations) such as Magnesium, Iron, Chromium, Zinc, Cobalt, Manganese, Copper, Selenium and Calcium ions. So as part of the chelation procedure you need to add more +2 nutrients back into the body, as they are continually being removed by the EDTA. As treatment progresses, the results decrease in effectiveness and reach an equilibrium where most of the heavy metals have been removed from your body (but not all), and additional EDTA just removes nutrients from your body and removes no more heavy metals.

There are however protocols for taking chelating agents such as DMPS and EDTA, which involve basically taking the chelating agent on one day, and taking mineral supplements on the next day, and alternating in this manner. DMPS and EDTA etc. do not bind with vitamins, only minerals and so will not affect any vitamin supplementation you are undergoing (e.g. additional antioxidants or B-vitamins).

It should be remembered that although you may require higher doses of particular chelating agents to achieve the same excretion rate of heavy metals towards the end of your chelation programme, that you will greatly increase the rate of demineralisation, as the chelating agent is much more likely to come into contact with a nutritional mineral element than it is with a toxic metal element. Whilst this is generally more applicable to synthetic chelating agents, it is still applicable to some extent to natural chelating agents (for which few or no studies in this area exist to confirm with certainty to the contrary). This is one reason why regular, cyclical breaks are recommended in a chelation programme, as opposed to continuous chelation for months or years at a time, to allow the body to absorb nutritional mineral elements undisturbed and to give the tissues a chance to get their mineral levels back to normal. The breaks also give the liver a chance to 'rest' or fully recover, and for the body's mitochondrial function to recover from the release of many toxic metals from the tissues during chelation 'on' periods.

When we talk about supplementing minerals during a chelation programme, we mean above and beyond what you would normally take for nutritional support. This especially critical for those with some level of existing nutritional deficiencies, as regular chelation may result in dangerously low levels of specific essential minerals very quickly. To simply take your normal nutritional support level of additional Magnesium and Potassium etc. is probably not going to be sufficient, especially if you are using EDTA, DMPS or DMSA (probably less so with natural chelating agents with the exception of zeolite-based chelants and also absorbant clays like Bentonite). Clearly you don't want to take both the supplement and the chelating agent at the same time, as the chelating agent will likely suck most of these straight out without them having been absorbed into the tissues, but to take these additional amounts of mineral supplements (above and beyond your usual amount) on the 'off' or 'rest' days in your chelation programme. If you are experiencing some degree of demineralisation, despite a mineral supplementation programme, you may want to consider either taking additional minerals, taking less chelating agent each time and/or having more 'off' or 'rest' days in your chelation programme relative to 'on' or 'chelating' days. It is important to regularly check one's mineral levels during a chelation programme.

I embarked on a chelation programme in November 2009 using Ca-Na2-EDTA (Detoxamin) but in low dosages, 3 times a week. This seemed to be removing the heavy metals from his body very well and I started to feel well. I was taking additional Magnesium (Jarrow Formulas Magnesium Optimiser) as well as an all around detoxification and nutritional support protein product called MediClear Plus by Thorne Research. After 2 months of generally improving a little, I started to experience a worsening of cardiac symptoms. The NADH that usually helping with this did not seem to be doing so much anymore. I had been experiencing muscle twitching (mainly in the eyelids) which is a sign of Potassium depletion (not that EDTA depletes Potassium) and decided to supplement additional Potassium and Calcium. However, whilst the eye twitches disappeared largely, my cardiac symptoms got worse. I finally figured out that if K and Ca are depleted, then Mg (Magnesium) must surely also be too, so started taking large amounts of Magnesium in the form of Citrate and Malate, together with Taurine (to enhanced absorption) and the cardiac symptoms of chest pains and palpatations disappeared largely within hours. I followed a similar regime of 3 EDTA suppositories a week, but significantly increased my mineral intake, and did not experience such demineralisation effects. I have thus included this case study to illustrate the above point, that one needs to supplement minerals above and beyond what one normally does, both essential and trace minerals.

A five year old Autism sufferer died after being given IV Disodium EDTA as it effectively sucked all the Calcium from his bloodstream, thereby stopping his heart. The depletion of calcium would not have occurred if Calcium Disodium (CaNa2) EDTA had been used instead. Calcium Disodium EDTA is the safer form of EDTA salt for use with chelation and is found in the vast majority of EDTA-based chelation supplements. Disodium EDTA is the potentially dangerous type of EDTA (as it readily depletes Calcium from the body). Dr. Mary Jean Brown, chief of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states also that Disodium EDTA should never be used for chelation. And indeed more importantly, if a lower dosage had been administered or the same dosage had been administered in several goes, then the death would likely not have occurred. This is one of the dangers of extreme demineralisation when too high dosages are prescribed or administered through error or oversight.

This news story is discussed on Dr Mercola's web site.

A case study of a child patient that was prescribed DMSA resulting in a total loss of speech for 3+ years is described (slightly erratically) in a forum archive post below. This appears to have been a result of being administered far too high a dosage of DMSA, resulting in a likely case of severe demineralisation and liver toxicity.

Because of the lack of clinical trials of the natural chelating products as opposed to their synthetic pharmaceutical 'relatives', then one has to use one's common sense. Those (published) trials that do exist tend to be those focussing on low to medium dosages over a period of weeks or months, and not high dosages over many years. There are detoxifying agents that we know remove nutritional mineral elements, or rather bind with nutritional mineral elements (e.g. Zeolite, Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid), but if the chelating agent matrix comes into contact with a heavy metal, the heavy metal knocks out the nutritional mineral element back into the blood stream. Whilst this is all very well and not of any great significance when chelating using low dosages, it may become a major issue when using large dosages, when one has removed most of the heavy metals from the body. At this stage in one's programme, clearly the changes of each molecule of chelating agent of actually coming into contact with a heavy metal ion or atom becomes increasingly smaller and so the likelihood of it simply binding with a mineral element and being removed from the body are very high. Demineralisation of specific nutritional elements can thus occur. This is one reason why continuous chelation is never recommended for weeks and months at a time, and off days are recommended or even mandatory, to allow the body to go about it's normal business without potentially having its vital mineral levels tampered with. It is also taxing on the liver and requires energy, and may 'poison' the body, lowing one's energy levels. Those chelating agents that are claimed not to do this may however do this to a small extent, which may become significant when dosages are actually increased. Some detoxification agents work in a different manner, i.e. phospholipids so are only of concern for some of the above reasons, but not because of demineralisation which is highly unlikely. Chelation therefore is not to be taken lightly or in a casual manner, and increasing care should be taken when dosages are increased for the above reasons. Increasing the number of breaks and the duration of breaks, and decreasing the 'on' days may well be a sensible strategy towards the end of one's chelation programme as one continues to increase the dosages of chelating agents, with guidance from one's practitioner of course.

As a general rule, if one is taking a chelating agent, to remove heavy metals from the body, one might want to consider also taking additional minerals to protect the body from the effects of the temporarily elevated levels of heavy metals, primarily zinc and selenium and other antioxidants (e.g. vitamin A, C and E and/or plant-based antioxidants), but also magnesium, potassium, calcium and iodine which may become depleted/displaced. As stated on the Nutritional Deficiencies page, both Calcium and Strontium may be useful to take during a chelation programme:

Calcium (essential mineral) and Strontium (trace element) supplements, if taken, should not be taken at the same time, as they compete with each other for absorption (when taken in high dosages). They should be taken at different times of the day. Natural dietary sources of Calcium tend to include trace amounts of Strontium also. Both minerals are involved in bone structure and Stronium adds strength to the predominantly Calcium structure of the bone, a little like a metal alloy can be stronger than iron. Both minerals tend to be very useful when taking during a chelation programme, especially when using EDTA to remove the heavy metal Lead. Lead (Pb) is a +2 charged element in ionic form. Calcium and Strontium are also +2 ions, but in a different periodic group to Lead. However, they do seem to be useful in displacing lead from proteins, when used in conjunction with a chelating agent such as EDTA. Calcium tends to be the most commonly used for this purpose (a protective mineral) but Strontium may be favoured over Calcium, depending on the proteins in question.

I.V. Vitamin C has also been shown by Doctor's Data in preliminary studies to increase faecal lead excretion, besides the obvious choices of chelating agent such as EDTA, DMPA or DMSA.

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As a general rule, whether you decide on a chelating agent to use as part of your detoxification programme, I recommend the following guidelines. Always start slowly, with a very low dosage. Build up the dosage over a period of weeks or even months. Do not go for the maximum dosage from day one! Elimination of toxins will be gradual and in a general sense, the lower the levels in your body the higher the dosage of the chelating agent that can be tolerated. Do not feel that you have to reach the recommended dosage stated by the manufacturer or consultant necessarily. A gentle detox is preferable to an aggressive detox. You need to find the natural balance yourself, using your sense of wellbeing, the hardness of your stools and your skin condition, liver health and other factors to tell you when you are overdoing it, as well as your own common sense.

When beginning a chelation programme for the first time, or the first time you take a particular type of chelating agent product, you should be very conservative and cautious and start with a dosage of 2-5% of the maximum/recommended dosage. You will need to build up to this maximum dosage and will likely not be able to achieve this from the outset. It may take several months, depending on your level of toxicity and your liver function. If you overdo it, you will likely experience fatigue, headaches, rashes/acne and/or liver pains.

Start off with a very small amount of chelation agent and build up very slowly, noticing the effects on the body. The danger of chelation is that if too much of the chelating agent is taken over a period of time, the liver and kidneys can easily become overburdened, and patient putting his body under unnecessary strain, depleting his energy, and in extreme cases, permanent liver or kidney damage can occur. Symptoms of over-detoxification include severe constipation, severe skin rashes, boils (perhaps the immune system attacking the partial detoxification products or otherwise being distracted by them, allowing bacteria to wreak more havoc in the interim) and terrible headaches. In addition, if the bowel movements do slow down too much, then retoxification through reabsorption of toxins through the bowel wall increases greatly.

If you build up over a long period of time to a point where you are able to take large dosages of a given chelating agent, then it is likely that you have reached the limits of what that particular chelating agent can do, in terms of the types of tissues it can target and which types of heavy metals it most effectively bind with. Simply continuing to take very high dosages may have a detrimental effect on your mineral levels and not necessarily provide so much more benefit in terms of chelating ability. Being able to take large amounts of a chelating agent does not necessarily mean you are 'Heavy Metal' free! It is quite possible that you can remove certain heavy metals from certain tissues, but only moderately reduce the levels of a heavy metal like Lead. Even if you move onto another natural chelating agent, and repeat the same process there, starting with a low dosage and working your way up, it is not necessarily guaranteed that you will be effective in removing that heavy metal either. You will be likely detoxing something, but without effective and measurable and reliable test results, you don't really know for sure. I tried using various natural chelating agents heavily for 3 years and still was not able to remove his lead and to a lesser extent mercury. More information on the relative effectiveness of chelating agents shall follow.

If you are able to take large amounts of a chelating agent, it may not necessarily be effective at attracting toxic metal ions or complexed ions and binding with them. What may well be happening is that you have reached the liver's limit of removing the chelating agent from your bloodstream, and only a small proportion of it is actually binding with heavy metals (or perhaps more likely to be nutritional mineral elements). It could likely be that the chelating agent has binded with as much as it can in those places in the body that are accessible to it, and that to remove more heavy metals, one has to either continue to take that chelating agent together with a mobilising agent, such as Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) or Cilantro, and/or change chelating agent. One cannot make any assumptions about the performance or effectiveness of a course of chelation without actually testing and measuring it. One cannot rely on dosage and liver function alone to determine its effectiveness.

Never take a chelation agent (i.e. Cilantro, Lipoic Acid or a synthetic chelating agent such as DMSA or DMPS etc.) whilst you still have mercury amalgam fillings in your mouth as it may actively leach out mercury from your filling into your body. There are however a few exceptions, which are discussed below.

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Over-Detoxification Side Effects

The liver is only able to process so many chelated toxic elements or molecules in one go. The same applies to the kidneys. Therefore if one takes too much chelant for whatever amount of toxicity one has in one's system (either taking too much initially or increasing the dosage too quickly), then the liver will be tasked to process whatever it can cope with, and the rest will simply float around the blood and likely be reaborbed by the tissues or brain, giving one adverse detoxification symptoms. This is effectively a mild form of poisoning. The liver will also be excessively and unnecessarily stressed. Taking aggressive amounts of chelant is not necessarily more effective or efficient or clever, and is harsher and more damaging to the body. Determining the starting dosage is a matter of guesswork and following recommendations from your practitioner and/or the manufacturer, and depends on the amount and type of toxins you have in your body and whether you have taken this particular product before or not. It is better to err on the side of caution and be conservative in your approach, and build up the dosage incrementally, and notice the changes if any it has on the body and in terms of side effects.

The type of over-detoxification headache that you may experience may well vary according to what phase of the detoxification programme you are in and thus what mixture and ratio of different toxic metals are being chelated at that point in time. You may well notice very subtly different types of headache! This is not unusual. Ideally though you won't over-detox at all, but it may happen from time to time.

Over-detoxification headaches can be split into two broad categories, although clearly there is room for experiencing both at once. A sharp or stabbing headache is normally associated with excessive release of toxins, especially heavy metals, into the bloodstream and a 'poisoning' effect. A fuzzy, flu-like headache is normally associated with excessive free radical production and inflammation, as a response to elevated toxin levels. Please see the Peroxynitrite page for more information.

Spots are another potential symptom, in the form of boils, acne or minor red swollen areas, usually on the head or neck. A rash is another symptom. These are the body's inflammatory responses. Toxins are carried out of the lymph into the skin through the sweat pores in very tiny amounts in normal situations, but when the capacity of the liver has been reached, more toxins will tend to work their way out through the skin, which is a back-up detoxification organ. Some of these toxins will create visible inflammatory responses which is what one sees in spots or rashes, depending on where exactly the inflammatory response takes place under the skin. It is a sign that one needs to take less chelating and/or mobilising agents so one can detoxify the body within the capabilities of the liver and kidneys.

A gentle approach is therefore recommended. It is therefore extremely important that any individual underdoing a complete detoxification programme do so in conjunction with a professional consultant.

If you find that you cannot sleep at night, then try to avoid taking your dosage of your chelating agent so late in the evening. Try taking your last dosage in the mid afternoon or earlier.

If your stools do firm up too much, you experience excessive skin rashes or you experience extreme and throbbing headaches, then back off the dosage of the chelating agent immediately and drink more water during the day. Take some more absorbant. If you have become constipated, to help get your bowel movements going, you can take additional magnesium (on top of what you may already be taking for magnesium deficiencies, see the nutritional section), perhaps up to 300mg at a time (once or more times per day). You can also take ground psyllium husks or ground flax seed (see above). However, do not use the magnesium regularly to disguise the fact that you are taking too much chelating or mobilising agent and that your stools are too firm or that you have constipation.

If for example you have taken too high a dose of cilantro, and your gall bladder has released a large amount of bile into your intestines with a correspondingly large amount of heavy metals such that you have a splitting and throbbing headache, then taking additional chlorella to compensate probably won't help. Drinking huge amounts of water probably won't help either. The best way to deal with such an over-release of toxins into the GI tract is to take liquid bentonite if you are not already doing so. This is the most effective absorbant and will most likely cure the re-toxification headache within an hour or two. Otherwise the headache may take a day or two to go away (with correspondingly more cellular retoxification) assuming that you have actually lowered your dosage of cilantro.

An example of a bad, throbbing headache:

Improper or overly aggressive or macho detoxification regimes are not clever and to chelate as much as physically possible is not some kind of perverse sport. One must be mindful of instigating inflammation through excessive chelation and always monitor the body for such symptoms. And indeed for symptoms of reduced energy etc. Take more breaks or lower dosages to get back to a stable baseline. Critics of chelation therapy state that chelation is highly dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone bar those with exposure to radioactive material. I believe that such critics have a point, as improper chelation is one of the most destructive things you can do to your body, perhaps with the exception of excessive consumption of antimicrobial herbs or compounds for bacteria/candida/parasite treatment (another form of poisoning). However, when performed properly and relatively safely, it can be extremely useful in removing many causative factors in one's condition.

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Frequency of Administration

Chelation agents are typically taken 2-3 times a day, on an empty stomach. Some prefer to stick to one type of chelation agent at a time, for a few months or so, before switching over to another for a few months. One can of course mix things up, and there is no harm in taking one type of chelating agent first thing in the morning and then another type between lunch and dinner, for example. It depends on the individual and at what stage in one's detoxification programme one is at. Taking more than one at a time is of course more complicated as one has to manage the dosages of two products rather than one. For beginners, it is suggested that one sticks to using one at a time for simplicity's sake.

One may consider what the optimum regime is in terms of chelation and how many days break one should have, and have often, in order to prevent demineralisation (nutritional mineral depletion), excessive free radical damage, and a worsening of mitochondrial and liver function. Some practitioners recommend chelating solidly for a few months, then taking a few weeks off. Others recommend rounds of 3 days on, 3 days off. Others may have rounds of 5 days on, 2 days off, etc. You should discuss this with your practitioner and also perhaps experiment a little to find the regime that suits you best. Jean Munro of Breakspear Medical recommends 3 days on and 11 days off, with respect to chelating agents such as DMPS and EDTA. See also the section on monitoring liver health above.

Bear in mind that it is better to be proactive than reactive, in the sense that it is better to be prevent problems from happening than reacting to problems that one creates. It is less taxing and more gentle on the body and on one's energy reserves. Chelating agents put an additional burden on the liver and kidneys (depending on how they are excreted). It is not always more efficient to chelate non-stop for 6 to 9 months as the liver becomes increasingly more inefficient and then requires weeks or more to recover. It is always best to think sustainable and limit the amount of damage one does to one's body as much as possible. Think marathon rather than 100m sprint. Do not just slavishly follow the manufacturer's instructions on the packet or bottle as they usually only discuss 'average' daily dosages and not frequency and round regimes.

There is as has been noted above considerable controversy and disagreement over chelation protocols, with respect to which to use and in what manner. Universal agreement is unlikely and your exact chelation regime must be something for you to decide with your practitioner.

You may need to include 'breaks' into your detoxification regime to pace yourself. If you are lucky enough to have a lower level of toxicity or very healthy liver and kidneys, you may well be able to complete your detoxification programme in one continuous programme, with no intervals. However this is rarely the case and is a recipe for disaster for most people. If not, then you may need to take breaks in the programme to allow your organs to recover or to not get so depleted in the first place. You wouldn't run consecutive marathons in one day - you might consider a little rest and recuperation in between each one! Your doctor or consultant should be able to advise you of the best and optimal regime for you.

I strongly believe that the danger of cumulative levels of circulating heavy metals and possible increase in inflammation is probably the most important reason for requiring regular breaks in chelation therapy, especially with mobilsing agents.

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Supporting Liver and Kidney Function

Please note in the section above on Balancing Liver Function and Energy Levels during a Detoxification Programme of the importance of consuming sufficient nutrients to support kidney, liver and gallbladder function, on account on the additional work they have to perform with chelated heavy metals being sent their way for excretion, in addition to their normal duties they have to perform for your health and survival. The main route of excretion of the chelating agent you are using, whether the kidneys or liver, or both, will clearly have a big impact on this.

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Measuring the Progress of your Chelation Programme

There are a number of different tests to measure toxicity in the body, as described on the Tests page. Whilst there are many methods available including hair mineral analysis, urine tests and blood tests to measure absolute levels of heavy metals, these are generally not particularly reliable. For example, whole blood analyses of lead can only be expected to reflect recent exposures and do not correlate very well with the total body burden of lead.

I personally recommend the Urinary Porphyrins test, which provides information about the biochemical effects of heavy metal toxicity in the body, which is really what we are interested in, rather than the absolute levels, which can be tolerated better by some people than others. This test aside, the second best test for heavy metal toxicity is probably the Provoked Urinary Metals Profile. One may want to exercise caution with the latter, which involves taking a calculated dosage of a chelating agent to provoke the release of heavy metals into the urine, which for some people may be way too high a dosage.

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Chelating Agent Reviews:

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Mobilising/Chelating Combination Product Reviews:

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Mobilising Agent Reviews:

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Lipoic Acid:

Lipoic acid (1,2-dithione-3-pentanoic acid) is a sulphur containing antioxidant and organic acid.

Lipoic acid contains two thiol groups (a sulphur atom linked to a hydrogen atom) which enable its chelation qualities. Other sulphur containing substances are known for their ability to bind with toxins in the body, as seen in the above sections, for example, MSM, NAC, Glutathione and food such as Garlic. Lipoic acid is however active in both lipid (fat) and aqueous (water) phases and so is an excellent chelator with the ability to cross the blood brain barrier and penetrate lipid compartments; and for this reason is known as a 'universal antioxidant'.

As Lipoic Acid is both water and lipid soluble it is able to provide antioxidative protection in both water and lipid phases, neutralising free radicals at the moment of formation.

Lipoic acid exists as two enantiomers (one of two stereoisomers - non-superimposable mirror image molecule structures). The first enantiomer is the R variety, R-Lipoic acid, which occurs naturally in the body, and the second enantiomer, the S variety, S-Lipoic acid, is synthetically produced and does not occur naturally.

Lipoic acid, a.k.a. Alpha Lipoic Acid or Thioctic Acid, is generally used to describe those supplements that contain a mixture of both R-Lipoic Acid and S-Lipoic Acid.

'A very recent study of children living in the area affected by the Chernobyl disaster showed that ALA prevents radiation damage. There is also evidence that ALA could play a role in minimizing the adverse effects of smoking and may be useful in the treatment of mercury and cadmium poisoning.'

Lipoic acid has an important role to play in the body in breaking down any Superoxide that leaks out of the mitochondria of the body's cells, that may otherwise potential form the powerful oxidising agent peroxynitrite. This is examined in more detail on the Heart Insufficiency page.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (sometimes annotated to ALA) should not be confused with Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA), the Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA).

It is debated whether the S-enantiomer is actually beneficial or not when mixed together with the R-variant, as some scientists have noted positive synergistic effects and other antagonistic effects.

R-Lipoic Acid has been shown in studies to be between 2 and 20 times stronger and more effective than Alpha-Lipoic Acid.

As R-Lipoic Acid (aka RLA or RALA) is natural and is actually produced by the body, and the fact that it is a better chelator than S-Lipoic Acid, this is probably reason enough to avoid the S-form (i.e. any product labelled Alpha Lipoic Acid) and take just the natural R-Lipoic Acid form (if taking such a supplement). However, muscle testing may assist in ascertaining which form works best with the body.

Lipoic acid (LA) is the oxidised form of DiHydroLipoic Acid (DHLA). Lipoic acid (LA) should not be confused with Linoleic Acid (LA) which is an Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA). Both Lipoic Acid and DHLA are both good chelators, with slightly different chelating qualities. DHLA is however a pro-oxidant and may exaccerbate free radical damage. Lipoic acid has been used in conjunction with Mercury chelation and also to treat AIDS patients.

R-Lipoic Acid is a cofactor in energy production, helping to regulate glucose metabolism. Alpha lipoic acid is a cofactor in the multienzyme complex that catalyzes the last stage of the process called glycolysis. Glycolysis is the first step in converting blood sugar (glucose), which is obtained from carbohydrates and proteins, into energy in a form that the body can use. R-Lipoic Acid is active in all the tissues of the body and in its cellular compartments. Alpha lipoic acid recycles both water and fat soluble antioxidant vitamins, improves sugar metabolism and energy production, promotes the incorporation of cysteine into glutathione and combines synergistically with other antioxidants for greatly increased benefits. It is therefore frequently referred to as the ideal or universal antioxidant and free radical scavenger.

R-Lipoic acid is used in Glucose metabolism in the Krebs cycle as well as a universal antioxidant, to assist in recycling Glutathione. According to author William Rasmussen, supplementing Lipoic Acid can raise cellular Glutathione levels by 30 to 70%. Lipoic acid also has the effect of binding with heavy metals and carrying them out of cells and across the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) (both ways), depending on relative concentrations of heavy metals in the body and brain. According to Andrew Hall Cutler, it also increases the secretion of bile and nonprotein sulphydryl groups. This may result in darker stools and some irritation to the anus and may potentially exacerbate gallbladder problems (if present), on account on increased bile excretion.

High levels of R-Lipoic acid are found in foods such as liver, heart, yeast and spinach. It can also be taken in supplement form, if greater than normal quantities are required for a particular patient, and as mentioned above, is found in the chelation products PCA and Metal-Free. Lipoic acid is absorbed very quickly by the body, but levels tend to also drop off very quickly.

According to a study by Gregus Z., 'Effect of lipoic acid on biliary excretion of gluathione and metals' from Toxicology & Applied Pharmacology 1992 May; 114(1):88-96, ALA may inhibit the binding and removal of methylmercury by Glutathione. In addition, it is also suggested that it may reduce Copper excretion from the body, and if taken in excess or over a long period of time, may elevate copper levels dramatically, possibly even to dangerous levels (perhaps Copper supplementation is therefore not necessary!) Andrew Hall Cutler in his book 'Amalgam Illness' suggests rest periods when taking Lipoic Acid on account of the potential for Copper build up in the body. However, Cardiac patients may well take Lipoic acid continually. It is probably best to have regular mineral level checks (e.g. hair mineral analysis) when taking ALA. The chelating agent EDTA is able to chelate copper from the body (as is IP6), but taking EDTA with ALA or Na-RLA is not an excuse to dose Lipoic acid constantly without breaks, as it may still end up with hugely elevated Mercury levels, mobilised from the tissues.

It is also reputed by the Autism Research Institute to be a food for yeast, and oral intake may exaccerbate yeast overgrowth in the body if present. See page 19 of the document Treatment Options for Mercury/Metal Toxicity in Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities (2005). One may argue that function of ALA in the body depends the circumstances it is taken in and the amounts. I am unsure if any particular pathway of ALA is more dominant than others if taken in low dosages. Perhaps it depends on whether any pathways in the body are impaired and in chronic need of Lipoic acid or not, any excessive perhaps resulting in further chelation. Lipoic acid is a nutritional requirement of the body, involved in Glutathione regeneration and in the Krebs Cycle, and if levels are depleted, then one can argue that if one is only supplementing ALA back to normal levels then this type of phenomenon mentioned above may not occur.

Tests on rat livers suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may reduce the activities of biotin-dependent carboxylase enzymes (responsible for amino acid conversion) in rats livers:

'Lipoic Acid Reduces the Activities of Biotin-Dependent Carboxylases in Rat Liver'. Janos Zempleni, Timothy A. Trusty, and Donald M. Mock. 1997.

Martin Pall in his book Explaining Unexplained Illnesses (discussed on the Nitric Oxide page) claims that it is well known that Lipoic Acid supplementation depletes Biotin levels, so if one is taking Lipoic Acid, one should also be taking supplemental Biotin. This is perhaps one reason why most ALA supplements contain the B-vitamin Biotin. This is also explained by manufacturers as helping to restore the activity of ALA. One should therefore consider additional supplementation with Biotin over and above what is found in Lipoic Acid supplements, if one believes one is potentially deficient or prone to deficiency (e.g. low levels of probiotic bacteria - which are responsible for the production of biotin required by the body as opposed to dietary sources).

Some potential adverse effects of high dosage Lipoic Acid supplementation include stomach upsets, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence or possible allergic reactions if applicable.

Lipoic acid has a warming quality to it, and if taken in tablet form, should not be chewed or kept in the mouth, as it is a acid solid, and is in concentrated form, and will tend to attack the mucus membranes of the throat and cause a burning sensation and sore throat. It should be swallowed with water.

One advanced formulation of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) of note is ALAmax CR by Xymogen's EP (Exclusive Patented) range. It is a controlled-release form of Alpha-Lipoic Acid. According to Xymogen, Lipoic Acid has a brief blood plasma half-life of 27 minutes, which is insufficient time to provide any meaningful protection to one's cells if taken once a day. ALAmax CR allows the body to keep continual blood and cellular lipoic acid levels up during the day. ALAmax CR is reputed to increase levels of glutathione by 30%. ALAmax CR, as with some other Lipoic acid formulations, includes the B-vitamin Biotin.

As mentioned above, a slow release or controlled release Lipoic Acid supplement may be preferable for chelation purposes, as dosages are not spiked as they are when taken in its 'normal' form, e.g. with ordinary ALA or RLA supplements. I had finished the first phase of my detoxification programme by the time I started trying ALAmax CR, which he was taking to improve Mitochondrial function, in conjunction with Magnesium and Vitamin B1. However, as Lipoic Acid is such a useful compound, it will also assist in glutathione production, antioxidative protection and also chelate any heavy metals out of the tissues too, so chelation detoxification is always going to occur to some extent when supplementing with it, if there are any heavy metals to chelate out, which there pretty much always are, to some degree, however large or small. It is impossible to reach 'zero' heavy metal levels, by the nature of concentrations and probability. There are other compounds or herbs that have chelating properties too, which can be an added benefit or factor to bear in mind when dosing with them, e.g. Hawthorn to lower blood pressure.

I have trialled RLA quite late into my detoxification and chelation programme. However, based on his observations to date, it seems extremely effective, if taken in a sufficient dosage. I trialled the Doctor's Best R-Lipoic Acid during the latter phase of his detoxification regime in 2008. I have found that approximately 8-9 capsules of 100mg RLA (i.e. 143mg Na-RALA), in the latter stages of my detoxification regime was approximately equivalent to 17 capsules of Complete Metal Cleanse 85mg Humifulvate, representing a powerful and cost effective chelating agent. RLA is also available in 50mg capsules. Clearly when starting out on one's detoxification regime, a much lower dosage is probably more appropriate, e.g. 50-100mg at a time, building up slowly from there.

Doctor's Best 'Best Stabilized R-Lipoic Acid' is a form of R-Lipoic Acid that comes in 100mg capsules. It is based on 'Bioenhanced Na-RALA' or Sodium R-Alpha Lipoate, the sodium salt of RLA. Na-RALA is said to be a stabilised form of RLA that is said not to degrade at high temperatures (not really an issue if stored correctly), to be more bioavailable than regular RLA and with no solvent residues. Each capsule contains 143mg of Na-RALA which is equivalent to 100mg of R-Lipoic Acid.

Another good ALA supplement I have used is Dr Perlmutter's NeuroActives BrainSustain. This contains N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Phosphatidyl Serine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid (20mg), Coenzyme Q-10 and Gilkgo Biloba.

In June 2009, I was muscle tested for various forms of Lipoic Acid, and the ALAMax CR was the only form of those tested that could be effectively utilised by the body. Doctor's Best R-LA tested neutral. In October 2010, I tested positively for BrainSustain only.

One can elect to either take smaller amounts of ALA/RLA with meals, for example, to supplement one's existing chelation regime, or one can elect to take (a higher dosage of) ALA/RLA, as one's main chelation agent, on an empty stomach, in between meals. With a slow release ALA supplement such as ALAmax CR, this is less of an issue, and one does not have to think so much about repeated dosing to prevent the lowering of Lipoic acid levels in the blood and subsequent 'dropping' or 'dumping' of any chelated metals the Lipoic Acid is carrying. It is highly recommended to read the Oral Chelation section above for related issues with half-life and dosing.

Lipoic Acid as mentioned above is a necessary cofactor in energy production and the utilisation of Glucose. It is produced in very small quantities in the body, and in some deficient individuals, the amounts produced are simply insufficient. Those with cardiac symptoms who have particularly low mitochondrial function may wish to consider taking Lipoic Acid for this (which may significantly reduce the need for other mitochondrial supplements such as Acetyl-L-Carnitine, CoQ10 and NAD(H)), but if they have a significant toxic metal load in their body, particularly more in the body than the brain, then taking Lipoic Acid may make them feel more ill. In such cases, the patient must decide whether he shall just take small amounts around the clock, the minimise the effect of releasing additional heavy metals into the blood stream, or whether to stop taking ALA entirely for a period of time, and use a chelating agent to mop up what is extra cellular, so that taking ALA again after that will be manageable. Clearly with ALA, there will be an effect of mobilising of heavy metals at whatever dosage you take it at, but the amount of heavy metals mobilised increases with the amount of ALA taken. Those with a high demand for ALA (i.e. mitochondrial impaired) may be able to take slightly more ALA than those who do not have a biochemical (generally mitochondrial) requirement for it. If less is used up, then more will clearly be around to recycle/create Glutathione etc. However, it is generally not a good idea to take more than 50-100mg in one go. Slow release ALA is probably best, to avoid spikes of dosing with regular ALA supplements. However, to achieve the right dose, it may be necessary to take fractions of an ALA tablet, measured using digital scales (e.g. chopping up a Xymogen ALAMax CR tablet which contains 600mg of ALA in each tablet).

If you have overdone it and taken too much Lipoic acid, and are suffering from sharp headaches, and increased neurological symptoms and inflammation, it is likely that you have released too many heavy metals at once from the tissues, which are circulating in the bloodstream, and/or have carried heavy metals across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In other words you have drawn heavy metals out of the tissues and into the bloodstream and readily accessible compartments of the body faster than the body can remove them, and over time they have accumulated and resulted in the effect of being 'poisoned' a little like having an amalgam filling out! Taking even small doses of Lipoic acid in this condition may result in worsening of these headaches. Assuming you should be taking Lipoic acid in the first place, the remedy is to simply stop taking Lipoic acid for probably at least a month or two, wait for all the symptoms to subside, and resume after that, but starting off with a very low dosage and building up the dosage slowly over time to reach your previous 'sustainable' dosage. Andy Culter suggests that one should take Lipoic Acid a couple of weeks on and a couple of weeks off, so as to avoid Copper built up on account of ALA's supression of Copper excretion pathways. However, there he is talking about preventative breaks rather than reactive strategies to deal with incorrect (i.e. too high) dosages of ALA.

To speed up the recovery from over-toxification from too much ALA, you may want to take intestinal absorbants to mop up any heavy metals in the digestive tract and also chelating agents (NOT mobilising agents) to mop up the heavy metals that are readily accessible and causing problems in your bloodstream and the outside of cells (e.g. EDTA or a natural chelating agent such as Pectasol Chelation Complex etc.) I have found anal EDTA in my personal experience to be the most effective at performing this job. Consider such a toxification episode to be a new starting point and act accordingly (i.e. you would not take ALA straight after an amalgam filling removal, so don't do it here). You need to remove the bulk of the readily accessible heavy metals from the body before continuing again with your ALA dosing.

Please see the Chelation vs Mobilisation section and the Low Frequent Dose Chelation section regarding the best time and manner in which to use Lipoic Acid. As Lipoic Acid is a mobilising agent primarily, it should not be taken at the start of a detoxification programme, but be used in the latter half of a chelation programme, and should ideally be taken in conjunction with another chelating agent to bind with the heavy metals that are mobilised/drawn out of the blood and tissues.

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Thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD):

Thiamine Tetrahydrofurfuryl Disulfide (TTFD) is a synthetic counterpart to Allithiamine, the naturally occurring form of vitamin B1 formed enzymatically in garlic when it is crushed (the act of crushing garlic creates the compound resulting in the more flavoursome taste of crushed garlic cloves). It is not yet FDA approved as a therapeutic agent or chelating agent. Whilst not strictly speaking a chelating agent, it does have a strong mobilising effect on heavy metals in the body. One case study from a practitioner cites significant improvements with child chelation using TTFD as opposed to DMSA etc.

TTFD can be found in the Nutricology/Allergy Research Group supplement (Thiodox) Glutathione Complex. This contain both the mobilising agents TTFD (5mg) and Lipoic Acid (150mg), as well as other cofactors and amino acids. I found this supplement to be perfectly satisfactory for many months, but slowly as I become more sensitive to ALA (presumably on account of mobilising too many heavy metals), I found it much harder to take Thiodox compared with an ALA supplement with the same amount of ALA in it. I am uncertain what component of Thiodox makes it so potent, but perhaps it is a combination of the ALA and TTFD. If necessary, one may want to consider cutting up tablets into small parts.

TTFD can also be found in Ecological Formulas' product Allithiamine (Vitamin B1), containing a more substantial 50mg of TTFD.

TTFD can also be found absorbed transdermally, in cream form. For example, Authia Cream by Westlake Laboratories, Inc. contains 50mg/ml of TTFD and 500mcg/ml of Methyl-B12. It also contains a trace amount of Lipoic acid (Thioctic acid). It comes in a two 2 ounce tube.

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Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid:

Fulvic Acid is belongs to a group of organic substances called Humic substances. These are dark brown constituents of humus found in soil, contributing to the qualities of soil and are precursors to fossil fuels. They are also found in peat, coal upland streams, dystrophic lakes and ocean water. Humic substances are classified into 3 different categories, Fulvic acid, Humic acid and Humin. Both humic acid and fulvic acid are excellent chelators and powerful antioxidants.

Humic acid is normally found in the form of 'humate' (the salt of humic acid), i.e. humic acid bound to a nutritional mineral element. Fulvic acid is normally found in the form of 'fulvate' (the salt of fulvic acid), i.e. fulvic acid bound to a nutritional mineral element. Humic acid/humate is a much larger molecule than fulvic acid/fulvate as can be seen from the diagrams above and below.

'A substantial fraction of the mass of the humic acids is in carboxylic acid functional groups, which endow these molecules with the ability to chelate (bind) (precipitate in some media, make solution in other media) positively charged multivalent ions (Mg2+, Ca2+, Fe2+, Fe3+, most other "trace elements" of value to plants, as well as other ions that have no positive biological role, such as Cd2+ and Pb2+.) This chelation of ions is probably the most important role of humic acids with respect to living systems. By chelating the ions, they facilitate the uptake of these ions by several mechanisms, one of which is preventing their precipitation, another seems to be a direct and positive influence on their bioavailability.'

Humic acid and fulvic acid have been the subject of many years of scientific study, on account of its role in soil and plant biology, but also with respect to its chelation application in humans for removing heavy metals from the body, with favourable statistics.

Humic and fulvic acids may act in a similar manner to some synthetic chelation agents, except that they bind only with double valency positive cations, i.e. nutritional elements and/or heavy metal ions. It is likely that a heavy metal ion will displace a lighter, nutritional metal ion and bind with the humate or fulvate. Many nutritionists recommend Fulvic Acid as an electrolyte (to increase cellular electrical efficiency) and supplement to take in combination with trace mineral supplements, to assist in the uptake of them by the body. The Fulvic Acid bonds with these minerals and as it is a small molecule and easily able to pass through cell membranes, allows delivery of the minerals efficiently into the body's cells.

Most products however are based on processed humate, taken from high quality soil sources, containing large amounts of nutritional cations already bound into the matrix. They are therefore not likely to (significantly or in any way) deplete one's mineral levels. As fulvic acid/fulvate is the smaller molecule, it is more easily absorbed into the cells, and is regarded as an excellent method of delivery for trace elements and nutrients into the body, as well as being an excellent chelator.

Taken from

Terminology of Humus Materials:

Humus is the product of the decay of organic matter. It contains both humic and nonhumic material.

Humic acids (plural) is the collective name for the acid radicals found in humic matter. They may be separated from humic matter by alkaline extraction.

Humic acid (singular) is the acid radical found in humic matter which is soluble in alkali but insoluble in acid, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl alcohol.

Humates are the salts of humic acids, collectively, or the salts of humic acid specifically. (The usage must be determined from the context.)

Fulvic acid is the acid radical found in humic matter which is soluble in alkali, acid, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl alcohol.

Fulvates are the salts of fulvic acid.

Leonardite is a soft brown coal-like deposit usually found in conjunction with deposits of lignite.

Lignite is a type of soft coal.

Humin is the alkali-insoluble fraction of leonardite. (The usage of this term does not correspond exactly with the usage by other workers.)'

Chemical processing allows the nano-extraction of fulvic acid from humus, which can be used in chelation products. PCA and Metal-Free contain Fulvic acid as one of the ingredients. The amounts of fulvic acid in PCA and Metal-Free (described above) however are quite low. PCA and Metal-Free are taken in a spray form under the tongue (sublingual), on an empty stomach. Other products that contain Fulvic acid include Global Health Trax's Oxygen Elements Max (Fulvic Acid) and Life Science Products' Body Biotics (an SBO probiotic formula containing Fulvic and Humic acids).

There are also dedicated Humifulvate (registered trademark) products (in capsule form) such as Enzymatic Therapy's Complete Metal Cleanse Humifulvate or Life Flo Health's Metal Detox capsules.

Humifulvate contains a purified, propretiary complex of humic, fulvic and phenolic acids. These are harvested from a springfed, peat deposit from the northern shore of Lake Balaton in Hungary. Humifulvate is processed by PharmaNutrients Botanical Corporation and is used under licence by Enzymatic Therapy and Life Flo Health in their respective products.

Enzymatic Therapy have stated about their Complete Metal Cleanse product that it helps to 'lessen the amount of heavy metals in your body without depleting beneficial minerals', which implies that humifulvate does not behave like synthetic chelation agents, depleting whatever metal it comes across, heavy or nutritional. Enzymatic Therapy have also stated that the humifulvate-based product requires an avoidance of fibre close to taking it, at least 3 hours beore and after each dose. They state that 'in the immediate presence of fiber, Complete Metal Cleanse may lose its effectiveness and miss some toxins.' Perhaps this implies that taking any fibre too close to the humifulvate will simply mean that it is absorbed by the fibre and thus not absorbed into the blood stream, or perhaps flushed through the digestive tract quicker, rather than it being so readily absorbed from the GI tract into the blood stream.

Enzymatic Therapy's Humifulvate product should probably also best be taken on an empty stomach and a few hours prior to one's next meal, and perhaps not a high fibre meal according to their recommendations.

I have trialled Enzymatic Therapy's Complete Metal Cleanse, albeit quite late into his chelation programme and for a short time. It seemed to work rather well. The capsules are small and containing a brown mixture. The dosage taken was 17 x 75mg Humifulvate capsules, which is of course extremely high, but after nearly 3 years of chelation and other detoxification protocols. At that stage in my detoxification programme, it had a similar chelating effect to taking 70 capsules of Jarrow Toxguard Heavy Metal Detox or 60ml (4 tablespoons) of Cilantro Tincture. By my calculations, extrapolating my dosage of other chelants and the dosage I first started taking them at, the Humifulvate dosage that someone at the beginning of my detox programme should be around 1-2 capsules, which is in line with the manufacturer's recommendations. It can therefore be considered quite a potent chelating agent. It is doubtful that is has any of the 'protective' or 'encapsulating' qualities of other chelating agents described above such as Zeolite, Pectasol or PCA.

Garden of Life's Primal Defense and Primal Defense Ultra, an SBO probiotic formula, is another product that contains Humate.

One can also buy pure liquid Fulvic acid, Humic Acid or mixtures of both in various bottle sizes, from various suppliers, mentioned below. This can be ideal when wishing to buy a chelator in bulk volumes towards the end of one's detoxification programme.

A search on the internet may reveal different sources of Fulvic and Humic acid, some sold for agricultural or horticultural use and others sold specifically for human consumption (i.e. as a health supplement). The exact difference I am not fully sure of, but agricultural/horticultural sources no doubt do not need to be so stringent about the heavy metal levels in the acid (i.e. depending on the soil source) or soil quality; and indeed it may be extremely diluted; whereas for direct human consumption (i.e. in much large concentrations) very low heavy metal levels are required. It is therefore recommended to find a source of Fuvlic and/or Humic Acid that is low in Heavy Metals.

Fulvic acid and humic acid are not just marketed as chelating agents but also as nutritional products, as they contain a wide variety of minerals (usually), vitamins, enzymes, DNA and are powerful antioxidants and electrolytes. Humate, fulvic acid and humic acid are also known to be anti-viral; it is even believed they are also anti-microbial and anti-fungal.

The most common extraction method is chemical processing. The processing also draws out the minerals, vitamins and enzymes etc. present in the Humus, producing a rich nutritional supplement. Whilst the vast majority of the elements present in these Humic and Fulvic Acid solutions are essential or trace nutritional elements, some are toxic elements and heavy metals, presented in the same ratio as they are found in the soil. There is however no aluminium, arsenic, lead or mercury present in these solutions. Clearly it depends on the soil source, but the most common and high quality solutions do not contain these specific heavy metals. In any case, they are present in a very low concentration.

Some argue that the ionic forms of the metals present in soil (e.g. insoluble metallic oxides) cannot be absorbed by the body, as in other soil-based mineral products, but because of the Fulvic and/or Humic Acid, these heavy metals may be bound to by these organic acids and thus carried easily into the body's cells (in a highly bio-available form) and even past the blood-brain barrier. Silicates and various metals are well known to dissolve in Fulvic acid. However, the Fulvic and Humic acids also have a chelating property, and as easily as the Heavy Metals are carried in, they are of course carried out or if dumped in the cells, are equally carried out by other Fulvic acid molecules, so perhaps the argument is circular. One may want to consider the potential effects here of consuming large volumes of Fulvic or Humic acid containing soil minerals over a period of many years; but for short term usage, I do not believe that it is an issue at all, and in fact the nutritional element levels are a positive attribute.

The exact source of the soil extracts will clearly determine its purity, level of heavy metals present and also nutritional quality. Manufacturers claim that they can be taken to compensate for diets based largely on crops grown from depleted soils. It is stated by manufacturers that Humic acid is more nutritious that Fulvic Acid, as it contains a wider variety of larger molecules and associated nutrients. This is why some manufacturers sell Fulvic and Humic Acid premixed. One can equally buy Fulvic and Humic Acid separately and consume both or mix it oneself. The optimum ratio is reputed to be 2 parts Fulvic to 1 part Humic according to Nano Health Solutions. Supreme Fulvic claim not to simply mix pre-produced Fulvic and Humic acid together to produce their combined Fulvic & Humic Mineral Complex, but create their own Humic acid from humate, the exact ratio being proprietary. The ingredients are listed as 'Proprietary blend of bio-available: Fulvic Nutrients 100% in solution; and Humic Nutrients 100% in solution; and Deionised carbon-filtered reverse osmosis water.' This is in contrast to their Fulvic acid product which is said to contain 'Fulvic Acid 100% in solution' as well as the same deionised water. Both products however contain the same mineral profile, the blend being reputedly slightly higher in concentration of such nutrients.

Some suppliers, e.g. BioAg, argue that one should not supplement minerals in an arbitrary manner, i.e. consuming a broad spectrum of nutritional elements, as the body may not require all, but specific minerals in specific quantities, and consuming 'too many' of particular elements may result in less than optimal ratios of nutritional elements in one's blood and also potentially toxic levels of these elements (which become toxic at certain high concentrations). However, for CFS patients, this is unlikely to be an issue in my opinion, mineral levels all being very low, and the effect of mineral content is likely to be minimal given the lower volumes that Fulvic and Humic acids would be consumed in (on account of the chelating properties); and indeed the poor absorption from the digestive tract in any case. BioAg offer a Fulvic Acid product which is produced not from chemical processing but from a natural fermentation process, which results in pure Fulvic Acid solution being produced, which contains no minerals of any kind in it. Such a Fulvic Acid solution has potentially a higher chelating ability on account of all the Fulvic Acid being unbound when it is consumed, unlike sources described above that contain Fulvic Acid bound to minerals already in the Fulvic Acid solution.

Fulvic acid is transparent, odourless, somewhat tasteless and slightly golden coloured, whereas Humic Acid slightly more of a flavour and is black/brown in colour (no jokes about staying off the brown acid please!) As Fulvic Acid is a smaller molecule than Humic, it is probably the better chelator and can more easily cross the blood-brain barrier, however a combination of the two acids may also be beneficial from a nutritional standpoint and to benefit from two slightly different chelation mechanisms.

The general recommendations that I have seen from suppliers of Fulvic and Humic Acids is that one should consume approximately 1 to 2 ounces per dosage, with approximately 6-8 ounces of non-chlorinated water (i.e. purified water, not tap water) - although it can be drunk relatively undiluted also) - on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes prior to a meal or nutritional supplement intake. This is somewhat different from the recommendations of Humifulvate as described above. The emphasis is on drinking the Fulvic or Humic Acid with a non-chlorinated water source, i.e. mineral water or water that has gone through a purification system that removes the chlorine from the water. Tap water typically contains chlorine. Chlorine is of course added as it is an oxidising agent and helps to kill off the microbes in the water (as well as slightly lowering the tap water's pH, i.e. making it more acidic). As Fulvic and Humic Acids are very high in antioxidants, then mixing it immediately with chlorinated water will reduce the effectiveness of the product (i.e. oxidising the antioxidants before they even go into the body) and there are very woolly references to it producing a bad byproduct. Presumably this oxidation would occur in the body in any case when the acids can into contact with free radicals anyway, so it is better value for money to use non-chlorinated water to get the full benefit in any case.

Another factor to bear in mind if drinking large quantities of fulvic and/or humic acid is that it will tend to slightly lower the body's pH, and so one may want to offset this with an alkaline food or supplemental intake. As fulvic and/or humic acid are both acidic (!), then if drinking them undiluted, on a regular basis, one may want to brush one's teeth afterwards to avoid excessive acidic erosion of the tooth enamel.

For a detailed comparison of 3 liquid Fulvic acid brands, please see the Fulvic Acid Group Test page.

Comparing Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid to Cilantro Tincture, then I can conclude that if using home made Cilantro, then Fulvic/Humic Acid are approximately 50% at best and the same price at worst. However, ready made Cilantro tincture (available in small 50ml or 100ml bottle sizes) is volume for volume massively more expensive than either Fulvic/Humic Acid or making your own Cilantro tincture. When consuming large volumes of Fulvic and/or Humic Acid, there is one benefit over Cilantro is that they do not contain alcohol, and if using large volumes of Cilantro tincture, one may have to heat it up to evaporate most of the alcohol off, which is time consuming. However, alternating and making the most of the properties of all different types of chelant mixture is probably the wisest strategy. It is of course not strictly possible to compare chelating agents in this way, as each works slightly differently, and also each seem to have an short term equilibrium, i.e. when one takes a chelating agent for the first, time, smaller amounts are required, targetting the 'easiest' compartments or structures, with this particularly chemical approach, but once those compartments are cleared out, then the medium term equilibrium is reached, which is harder to increase from and requires time to keep working it. This medium term equilibrium is clearly different for each type of chelating agent, and in the case of Fulvic and Humic Acid, I was able to relatively quickly double the dosage tolerated over a period of a couple of weeks, until I hit that equilibrium. With Cilantro, the short term and medium term equilibrium is not quite so obvious, and increases take a long time and are gradual.

Please see the Categorisation of Chelating Agents - Chelation vs Mobilisation section and the Low Frequent Dose Chelation section above regarding the best time and manner in which to use Fulvic and Humic Acid. As Fulvic and Humic Acids are poweful mobilising agents, one may not elect to take them at the start of a detoxification programme, but be used in the latter half of a chelation programme, and should ideally be taken in conjunction with another chelating agent to bind with the heavy metals that are mobilised/drawn out of the blood and tissues, although this is not strictly necessary. Mobilising agents work best when taken in small doses regularly, rather than large doses. It depends ultimately on the patient, the level of toxicity in their body, how many heavy metals are freely circulating in the blood and are in the more readily accessible tissue compartments. Those who have just had a Mercury Amalgam filling removed or have been overdoing mobilising agents in the recent past, and are quite poisoned with Mercury, should not use any mobilising agents, including Humic or Fulvic Acids.

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Cilantro (Coriander Leaf)

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Certain herbs also help to increase bile production by the <"a href="toxicity1.html#gallbladder">gallbladder, such as peppermint and milk thistle, but the most important herb is cilantro. This herb is capable of mobilizing mercury, cadmium, lead and aluminum in the bones, brain, and the central nervous system. Cilantro is claimed to actually leach heavy metals from the bones themselves. Cilantro, NCD and PCA (both described below) are probably the only effective chemical agents in mobilizing mercury stored in the intracellular spaces of the body (e.g. attached to tubulin, liposomes and mitochondria etc.) and inside the nucleus of individual cells (helping to reverse DNA damage from mercury toxification). Because cilantro mobilizes/releases more toxins than it is actually to attach to and carry out of the body itself, it may well flood the connective tissue (where the nerves reside) with metals, that were previously locked into 'safer' (less immediately damaging) hiding places. This retoxification can be avoided to an extent by taking an absorbant such as chlorella or bentonite clay.

The leaves of the Coriandrum Sativum plant are usually known in the USA by their Spanish name, Cilantro. In Europe, the leaves are simply known as Coriander leaves. They are also called by other names, such as Dhania, Chinese Parsley or Mexican Parsley. This is why some Europeans may be confused as to why it is difficult to buy 'cilantro' outside of the Americas! The seeds or ground seeds of the plant are usually referred to as 'coriander'. Throughout this web site, we shall use the term 'cilantro' when referring to the leaves of the Coriandrum Sativum plant (i.e. coriander leaves), and I hope this alleviates rather than perpetuates confusion! It is the leaves that possess the chelating benefits, and not the seeds. The leaves (cilantro) are also a very strong anti-oxidant, and can help to prevent animal fats from turning rancid as well as helping to kill off bad bacteria, fungus and insect larvae in stored foods. The reason people tend to use different names for the leaves and seeds is that they have a different taste, and their primary use is in cooking. One can buy the leaves from a supermarket, grow one's own or purchase a cilantro tincture. The quantity of cilantro required to provide an equivalent strength to 10-15 drops of cilantro tincture is quite large and may be enough to kill the taste of your meal, and may prove too much on a daily basis. A tincture may therefore be more convenient for those who do not like the taste or for those who do not wish to prepare cilantro every day.

The above Herbs of Grace Coriander leaf tincture is 1:3, which means that for every ounce of Coriander leaves (by weight) one is using 3 fluid ounces of alcohol (by volume). The 45% signifies the strength of the menstruum (alcoholic solution - similar to vodka strength) prior to addition of the herbs. Menstuum literally means a 'substance that dissolves a solid or holds it in suspension'. Tinctures may be made with either fresh herbs (ideal) or previously dried herbs.

Another form which can be purchased is in the form of a pesto sauce, e.g. Sacla Coriander (leaf) Pesto. One thing to bear in mind about the Pesto is that it contains whole leaves (ground up naturally) rather than just the Coriander leaf's active ingredients that a tincture would, so the Pesto will be naturally more 'hot' in its nature. In addition, Pesto is quite oily (vegetable oil - a good thing, if not heated) but it also contains Cheese, which some may have a Food Sensitivity to. Cheese is also 'hot' in its properties, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Those issues aside, it can be very useful to take additional Coriander in this form (within one's limits).

To begin with, one should start with a very low dosage, such as two drops twice a day of tincture. If you are using the leaves themselves, you can either add them to food, such as soup, or grind them with a mortar and pestle. So to begin with, use cilantro for one week, then take two weeks off. Repeat as necessary. As one slowly increases the dosage, one can take it daily without a break and build up to a maximum of ten drops two or three times a day. Depending on your level of toxicity, if you take a high level at the beginning you may become quite ill, e.g. 30-60 drops at a time, sometimes stated as the recommended dosage on cilantro tincture bottles, which is an excessive dosage.

Towards the end of your detoxification programme you may like to increase the dosage slightly, but if you do so, increase very slowly and notice the effects it has. e.g. only after 2.5 years of heavy detoxification, was I able to take 60 drops 2-3 times a day. When you are taking a large dosage at once, be wary that sometimes two drops may emerge from the dropper bottle at once but may form one (large) droplet as they fall down. If this occurs with half of your drops, and you are taking it 3 times a day, then you may well exceed for comfortable detoxification capacity. Be aware of how many drops are really going in. Droplets may be smaller when you first use a bottle and become a little larger as the level of liquid goes down - this may of course vary according to bottle and dropper design. A pipette build into the lid of the bottle will of course dispense the same volumes regardless of the liquid level in the bottle.

It is best to take cilantro 30 minutes after taking chlorella/bentonite or just before a meal. The idea is that the cilantro stimulates increased bile release, which then mixes with the cilantro/bentonite clay in the intestine, which helps to absorb all the toxins and metals present in the increased volume of bile.

If you are taking your maximum comfortable level of cilantro, and are not experiencing any side effects (headaches, fatigue, constipation etc) be very careful to monitor your water consumption. Maintain at least the same level of water consumption every day. If your routine changes and you neglect to drink enough water for just a day or two, you may experience severe fatigue and a gradually increasing headache. If this is the case, then you are starting to retoxify yourself, and you need to immediately drink more water. The symptoms should disappear once you water consumption is back to what it should be. During this 'retoxification' period, whilst increasing your water consumption, you may also wish to temporarily decrease your cilantro dosage slightly.

Depending on the exact toxic elements being removed from your tissues at any one time/stage, the exact detoxification symptoms may vary. At one stage they may take the form of a slight skin rash, usually on the face or cheeks. Later on, the symptoms may take the form of acne, minor swellings or boils on the scalp. If these symptoms become unbearable then reduce the dosage of course, but otherwise just ignore them and carry on. Signs of over-detoxification include headaches, fatigue, liver pains and constipation. If you experience any of these, in particular within a hour or two after taking the Cilantro, then you have either taken too much at once, or too many times within a 24 hour period (at that dosage level) or you took it on an empty stomach and did not follow it shortly after with food. It is important to try to take the Cilantro immediately before a meal or if in leaf form, mixed in with one's food. If you continue to take too high a dosage for you at that point in time, whilst experiencing these sings of over-detoxification, then it is likely that you will 'burn out', both in terms of your general energy levels and also your liver's energy levels, and be forced to take several weeks or months break before recommencing your chelation programme, which of course is counter productive and will simply drag out your chelation programme rather than speed it up. You also run the risk of liver damage.

At the beginning stages of a chelation programme, you may find that you cannot sleep (that night) if you take the chelation agent too late in the evening. However, towards the tail end of your chelation programme, you may well find that you can take a high dosage in the evening (i.e. just before your dinner) and feel no ill effects.

Please note that depending on your personal choice and the advice from your practitioner, you may choose to use one, two or three products together (e.g. Cilantro with absorbant, PCA and/or NCD). If you use multiple products, you may choose to take each one for a month or two, before rotating to the next one. Or you may choose to take all at once, but at lower dosages. However, if you do take more than one product at once, you need to be aware of the relative dosages to each other, which is something that is not that hard to figure out if you listen to your body's response.

Please note that the herb cilantro has a warm/hot energy component according to Chinese Medicine and with prolonged use will create an energetic imbalance in the body (with excessive heat). This effect may be slightly less when using a tincture as opposed to the leaves themselves.

You may find when consuming significant numbers of drops of Cilantro tincture, or any tincture or combination of tinctures for that matter, that the alcohol volume may be a little high for you. This is especially important if you are chelating already, when the liver does not want additional alcohol to have to process/destroy. You can get around this by putting the Cilantro tincture drops into a cup, then adding a couple of fluid ounces of boiling water and leaving for a few minutes or so. This will evaporate off most of the alcohol.

If you are using large quantities of Cilantro tincture (which is very much inadvisable), then you may want to consider making your own, as it is far cheaper. It just requires a little leg work, to find a local (organic) farmer's market and a grower who can sell you a kilo or two of organic Coriander leaves. If stalks are provided you may want to consider picking the leaves off and just using the leaves. It isn't so important if you have enough alcohol volume to work with. You also need to find a supplier of grain alcohol - this does not have to be local but could be mail order. Then it is simply a case of throwing the rinsed herbs into a volume of alcohol in a suitable receptacle (e.g. a sealed kilner jar) - pre-chopped or crushed or not - and keeping the jar somewhere warm and shake it a couple of times a day. You may wish to leave the leaves in there for a few weeks and at the end of it strain the liquid away into a (e.g. empty vodka) bottle and discard the leaves. Please see the Recipes page for more information.

William Rasmussen stated in his book Natural Mercury Detoxification that Cilantro contains a toxic enzyme that is destroyed by heat, namely boiling water, and recommends putting Cilantro tincture into a cup of freshly boiled water or tea prior to drinking. Cilantro leaves eaten with food may be best cooked if eaten in any quantity. I personally like to take most of my tinctures this way anyway as it eliminates most of the alcohol content. I am unaware of any specific scientific studies to actually verify this, although some people do have an adverse reaction to Cilantro. This could possibly be it's chelating abilities, and if they do have toxic metals in their system, then they may feel unwell. However, some report a revulsion to its smell even. This may be psychological possibly. A link discussing this issue is listed below.

Please see the Chelation vs Mobilisation section and the Low Frequent Dose Chelation section regarding the best time and manner in which to use Cilantro. As Cilantro is a mobilising agent primarily, it should not be taken at the start of a detoxification programme, but be used in the latter half of a chelation programme, and should ideally be taken in conjunction with another chelating agent to bind with the heavy metals that are mobilised/drawn out of the blood and tissues.

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Other Chelating/Mobilising Herbs:

Besides Cilantro (Coriander Leaf), other important chelating herbs include:

Other herbs to assist in blood cleaning (i.e. kidney function) and circulation include:

These may be taken in tincture form or as fresh/dry herbs. Some Cilantro tinctures, for example, also contain Yellow Dock Root. One can also use a dedicated Yellow Dock Root tincture. One dried herb formula is Herbs of Grace's Heavy Metal Purify, which contains all of the above dried herbs (except for Cilantro) in dry capsule form. These herbs may well be worthwhile taking in conjunction with Cilantro, or on their own, as a break from Cilantro in one's detoxification regime. One may choose to alternate the herbs used in order to utilise the different chelating abilities of the compounds contained in these herbs. Judging from my hair analysis results, and the temporary elevation in hair heavy metals levels when using Hawthorn regularly, I believe it might even be a more effective mobiliser of Mercury than Cilantro or Humic Acid. Hawthorn is discussed on the Cardiac Insufficiency page. Remember of course to use an absorbant, such as Chlorella, in conjunction with any mobilising agent.

Certain herbs, commonly used to dissolve Kidney Stones, such as Hydrangea Root and Gravel Root, are also somewhat antimicrobial. They may also be a little harsh on the liver, especially Gravel Root, so one may wish to exercise caution if one's liver is weak or if one is taking them for prolonged periods. Taking significant quantities of these herbs, in addition to one's normal chelation dosage of another chelant product or herb can result in over-detoxification symptoms.

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Mobilising Products containing Cilantro:

Besides using a Cilantro tincture or making your own, there are a number of products on the market that contain Cilantro as well as other herbs, and even those which combine Cilantro and Chlorella into one product. I have not yet tried these latter alternatives, and whilst they may be convenient and highly effective, they are certainly MUCH more expensive - and are they really any better than using a Cilantro tincture and Chlorella tablets? If they contain other chelating agenets, they may utilise the 'mobilising' property of Cilantro with the chelating properties of other chelating agents for a smoother and more effective detox.


Science Formula's product Chelorex is a mixture of Cilantro, Lipoic Acid, Chlorella, MSM, L-Glutamine and a variety of minerals and vitamins. It is not specified if Chlorella is 'nanised' or not. If not then as the Chlorella will not be absorbed by the body and will remain in the GI tract, i.e. the Chlorella will act as an intestinal absorbant and not a blood stream chelating agent. Chelorex is available in both capsule form and in liquid form.

"Q: What is the best Chelating agent?

A: In addition to the ability to bind and remove toxic metals, an ideal chelator can do so without producing adverse effects. Some chelators have an increased risk of adverse reactions for four reasons. 1) Synthetic chelators must be detoxified. A high portion of people have inefficient glutathione dependent detoxification mechanisms and are already chemically sensitive, leading to severe side effects. 2) Synthetic chelators cause excessive toxic metal release in persons whose antioxidant defenses are depleted due to chronic metal poisoning resulting in immune suppression and free radical damage to the body. 3) EDTA has been shown to form a toxic complex with mercury which can damage the brain. 4) Chelators can cause significant essential trace metal depletion.

Q: Why do you prefer natural chelators?

A: Synthetic chelating agents have a higher incidence of adverse reactions because they release toxic metals in persons whose anti-oxidant defenses are sub optimal. Following a course of chelation, levels of toxic metals, especially lead, tend to rebound after an initial decrease because of ongoing release of lead from bone or recurrent environmental exposure. Clearly, what was needed was an effective chelating agent for all toxic metals, based on natural ingredients that penetrates the blood brain barrier and can be taken safely for an extended period of time at a reasonable cost with minimal or no side effects. Using my background in biochemistry and my clinical experience, I formulated a combination of individual natural ingredients that performed well on individuals without adverse side effects. Using the most cost effective natural chelators available, we performed clinical testing which thus far has exceeded expectations with removal rates on 16 toxic metals in the normal reference range as high as 98% for a (90 dose 45 day) regime."

It should be noted that using mobilising agents with a chelating agent can potentially involve generating excessive blood plasma heavy metal levels with associated free radical stress and toxicity in the body, even if taken at a low dosage over a long period of time.

Chelorex's ingredients are examined below.

Science Formula's web site contains a comparison of chart of EDTA, DMSA, DMPS and Chelorex at the link below.

Alan Greenberg Chelorex study can be found at the link below.

A review of Chelorex by Morten Walker in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients Aug/Sept 2005 can be found at the link below.

Science Formulas list their own studies on Chelorex's effectiveness on their web site below.

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Phospholipid Therapy:
Role of Phospholipids:

Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids help to constitute healthy cell membranes, including the mitochondrial membranes. The uptake in many individuals may however be very poor. However, one of the major constituents of inter- and intra-cellular membranes are phospholipids. Phospholipids are to be found in all the cells in the body, and in particular the inter and intra cellular membranes. They make up a substantial proportion of the body's total mass (besides water). The brain cells are made up of 70% phospholipids and 30% proteins. The cells of the nervous system are 25% phospholipids and 75% proteins. Of all the muscles in the body, the heart muscle contains the highest phospholipid concentration. Cells in the body are being continually regenerated, and all the cells in the body are replaced on average every few months. However, if the body does not have the proper and sufficient quantities of building materials, then the body will never rebuild itself properly. The body naturally produces phosphatidyl choline by a process of Methylation and if methylation is impaired (which it frequently is in individuals with CFS, ME or FMS), then phospholipid production in the body will consequently be imparied too. This is why a course of phospholipid supplements may indeed help with proper cell membrane construction and composition. Phospholipids are absorbed by all cells, and it is believed that those cells that lack phospholipids can absorb them from adjacent cells. It is therefore believed that they can be absorbed from the GI tract and be redistributed throughout the body as required.

There are four major phospholipids that help to constitute cell membranes in the body. These are Phosphatidyl Choline (PC), Phosphatidyl Ethanolamine (PE), Phosphatidyl Serine (PS), and Phosphatidyl Inositol (PI). The body in normal circumstances produces these in the relevant proportions required. Phosphatidyl Choline is by far the most important of these, constituting up to 50% of the cell membrane, Phosphatidyl Ethanolamine being the second most important, constituting up to 35% of the membrane. This is why most Phospholipid Therapy programmes concentrate on Phosphatidyl Choline (or indeed Lecithin extract which contains both of these compounds). However, supplementation with other phospholipids or their precursor is also important.

In many individuals who suffer from CFS or related conditions, these cell membranes may be partially oxidised and/or constituted with less than ideal long chain fats. This is often as a result of low phospholipid levels in the body and high free radical levels. Mitochondrial inner and outer membranes are particularly at risk from free radical stress through the process of metabolism and energy production and insufficient levels of the body's natural antioxidants can result in excessive oxidation of the membranes. Impaired cell membranes do not function as they should and are not as permeable to nutrients such as oxygen, and also partial detoxification products may attach themselves to the mitochondrial membranes, further impairing mitochondrial function (energy production). It is possible also that free radicals such as Superoxide may escape out of the mitochondria because of these damaged mitochondrial membranes; and that mitochondrial DNA may become damaged by free radicals.

Phosphatidyl Serine (PS), as helping to repair cell membranes, also acts to facilitate the repair of the cortisol receptors in the hypothalamus. It is believed that cortisol receptors become damaged by elevated cortisol levles, reducing the ability of the hypothalamus to detect and correct excessive cortisol levels. In individuals with elevated cortisol stress hormone levels, PS can be useful in lowering this cortisol level to the normal range.

Phospholipids, in particular Phosphatidyl Choline, are also one of the main constituents of bile and helps with the breakdown of fats in the liver and proper absoprtion of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Phosphatidyl Choline also helps to reduce LDL 'bad' cholesterol and increase HDL 'good' cholesterol, as it is an unsaturated phospholipid, working in a similar way to unsaturated Essential Fatty Acids. Phosphatidyl Choline also encourages the liver and gallbladder to produce more bile (thus enhancing the breakdown of fats in the liver; assisting in essential fatty acid absorption; and also promoting digestion), and probably enhances brain functioning (as Phospholipids as well as Omega 3 fatty acids make up a signficant part of brain tissue also). Bile is a detoxification medium as well as digestive aid. Also, when phospholipids come into contact with the mitochondrial membranes, they help to 'flush out' the neurotoxins, which glutathione attaches itself to, and which are removed by the liver. Phosphatidyl Choline ensures good cell membrane fluidity in the body - used in rebuilding the inter- and intra-cellular membranes and to help promote the elimination of glutathione conjugates or neurotoxins that are attached to and impairing these cell membranes (known as Neurotoxic Membrane Syndrome or NMS).

Choline, as well as being a constituent of Phosphatidyl Choline, and a precursor to its production in the body, is also a precursor to the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine and also the myelin shealth lipid Sphingomyelin that surrounds the nerve axions. Sphingomyelin is a combination of phosphorylcholine and ceramide.

If an individual fasts, blood choline levels tend to be in the range of 8-12 micromoles. However, when blood choline levels are less than 14 micromoles, choline flows from the brain cells into the bloodstream. This is a form of auto-cannibalisation, the choline containing phospholipids from the brain cell membrane components is broken down. This is why people on juice fasts are recommended to take Lecithin or equivalent supplementally to prevent this auto-cannibalisation. Excessive levels of neuronal auto-cannibalisation of choline over many years may contribute to decreased brain function and senility. The reverse is true, that when blood choline levels are greater than 14 micromoles, choline flows from the blood into the brain.

Phospholipid therapy therefore is a nutritional therapy, a mitochondrial therapy, a neurological system therapy and also a detoxification therapy. In the latter application it helps to release partial detoxification products attached to the cell membranes. This is examined below.

In addition to cell membrane integrity, Phosphatidyl choline is a major component of our body's naturally produced lecithin which helps to break down/emulsify fats in the liver, as mentioned above. Phosphatidyl choline is also an important constituent of bile, which the liver and gallbladder use to excrete toxins into the digestive system. During a detoxification programme one is actively releasing toxins from the tissues and filtering them out through the liver and kidneys, and so more bile needs to be produced to help in the excretion process. Phosphatidyl Choline is also a precursor to the catecholamine 'stress hormone' neurotransmitter Acetyl Choline, appropriate levels which are required for proper brain chemistry functioning. Clearly maintaining reasonable phospholipid or phosphorus input levels during a detoxification programme helps in this respect.

One may also perhaps consider that if there is excessive cellular inflammation and Peroxynitrite build up on account of immune modulated activity, then supplementation with Phosphatidyl Serine may be of benefit, as it may inhibit iNOS enzyme activity, which is responsible for the immune system mediated release of Nitric Oxide.

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Soy Lecithin:

Phosphatidyl Choline is one of the major component of soy lecithin. Lecithin is composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipids. Lecithin can be purified using fractionation, working on the principle that some phospholipids (particularly Phosphatidyl Choline) are soluble in alcohol whereas others are less so. By adding alcohol (or instead glycerin), mixing and separating this solution from the lecithin sludge, a purer form of lecithin is obtained with contains a higher concentration of phosphatidyl choline.

Phosphatidyl Choline supplements are all based on soy lecithin. The average concentration of phospholipids (phosphatides) in Lecithin granules is approximately 97%. The average Phosphatidyl Choline concentration of products on the market is 22-25%, the remainder of the phospholipids being made up of Phosphatidyl Ethanolamine, Phosphatidyl Inositol and a small amount of Phosphatidyl Serine. Lecithin-based products are therefore a useful dietary source of Inositol (Vitamin B8). I am not certain whether these Lecithin granules or Lecithin based products have been purified by fractionation. However, the availability of some sources of Lecithin with as low a Phosphatidyl Choline concentration as 15% would probably imply that they have, unless the 15% sources are from a more 'poor' form of bean. 15% sources are however not the norm. The lower the Phosphatidyl Choline concentration, the more likely it is that there is more sludge and impurities present - which is probably not a huge big deal, but it is preferable to have less rather than more if one is taking it long term or in large quantities. but this is unusual, and presumably indicates a higher concentration of impurities or inferior bean source. Always check the label.

Soy Lecithin contains roughly 4g of fat (more than 3g of this unsaturated) and 2g of carbohydrate per 7.5g (1 Tablespoon). In terms of Polyunsaturated fats, 7.5g of Lecithin (taking Bluebonnet Nutrition's Lecithin Granules as an example) contains 260mg of Linolenic Acid (presumably just ALA (Omega 3) and no GLA (Omega 6)) and 2210mg of Linoleic Acid (LA - Omega 6). This is roughly a 1:10 ratio of Omega 3 to 6, which is below the optimum ratio. Whilst a good source of Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats, the average content being around 29% of total Lecithin weight, if one is consuming significant amounts of Lecithin, one should also be supplementing an Omega 3 fatty acid source. Some Phosphatidyl Choline supplements contain additional Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) to boost the ratio up to 1:4, e.g. E-Lyte's BodyBio PC. However, if one is engaging in a Phospholipid repair programme, it it unlikely that one is not already supplementing Omega 3 anyway. One could also argue that one might prefer to supplement fish-based Omega 3 EFAs such as DHA and EPA rather than just ALA.

Oral and IV Phosphatidyl Choline treatments have been used for over 50 years and are well established in the treatment of a variety of illnesses.

As Soy Lecithin and most lecithin extracts contain very low levels of Phosphatidyl Serine, it may be worth considering a dedicated Phosphatidyl Serine supplement, which is extracted from lecithin, if one is looking to utilise the inhibitory effects of PS in immune system (iNOS) mediated Nitric Oxide release (induction), as described above.

An article on Weston A. Price's web site about the less desirable aspects of soy lecithin and phosphatidyl choline supplements can be found below. This article to be put into context is however concerned with the generic use of soy lecithin as a supplement rather than the specific and short term usage of Phos Chol for detoxification.

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Oral Phosphatidyl Choline supplementation:

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Soy Specific Considerations: GMO and Phytoestrogens:

Most sources of soy lecithin seem to be from undisclosed sources, meaning that they may contain lecithin from genetically modified (GMO) soy beans, or may be made extracted from GMO soy beans. Any lecithin or phospholipid supplement that does not state 'Non-GMO' on the label can be assumed to be as above. To what extent the inbuilt pesticides present in GMO soy are actually present in such soy lecithin I do not know. For example, E-Lyte's BodyBio PC, Jarrow Formula's Mega PC-35 and NT Factor make no reference to being 'Non-GMO'. There are a few Phosphatidyl Choline supplements that state 'Non-GMO', including Carlson Labs' Phosphatidyl Choline and Now Foods Lecithin capsules.

However, when it comes to Lecithin granules there are many more Non-GMO products, e.g. Now Foods Lecithin Granules, Bluebonnet Nutrition Lecithin, Lanes Lecithin, Cytoplan Phospholec High Potency Lecithin Granules (35% Phosphatidyl Choline).

There are not many sources of Organic (and Non-GMO) Lecithin granules, the only examples I have found are Now Foods Organic Lecithin Granules and Mountain Rose Herbs Organic Lecithin Liquid. The Now Foods product seems to have been discontinued. However, I have tried the Now Foods Lecithin product and did not like the taste compared to the other Lecithin granules he tried. It had a bright yellow/orange colour. There is always some difference in texture and colour between Lecithin granules, but usually they are relatively pale in colour. Whether this was an indication that the Now Foods product was actually superior, or inferior, I cannot say!

Bear in mind that just because a Lecithin-based supplement is Non-GMO or Organic does not necessarily mean that it will work better with your body than one that is not. A product made from non-organic ingredients may sometimes be of a higher quality than one from an organic source, and also may contain less contaminants (depending on the extent of pollution in the area of the organic farm). Also the body is often quite fussy about what it likes and does not like and there is sometimes no predicting what it prefers.

Soy lecithin may be cheap and convenient for many vegans. Soy lecithin is the most common source of lecithin. Soy lecithin does not contain the protein portion of the Soy Bean, and so those allergic to Soy may not be allergic to Soy Lecithin from a protein perspective. However, many detractors of soy consumption point out that soy contains Phytoestrogens. These have been shown to migrate with the protein portion of soy, so the phyoestrogen content of soy lecithin is relatively low. However, from a kinesiological perspective, not everyone's body may want or get along with soy lecithin. I have only ever tested positively for Jarrow Formula's Phosphatidyl Serine (PS100), and only neutrally for Lanes Lecithin granules; and negatively for a handful of PS supplements.

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Other Sources of Lecithin - Egg Yolk and Sunflower:

Egg Yolk Lecithin

Lecithin, and indeed Phosphatidyl Choline, was first isolated from egg yolks and was only later isolated from soy beans. Egg yolks have been used in baking historically because of their lecithin content, which helps bind baked items together. Soy lecithin can be used for baking but is inferior in certain application. Of course, here we are not interested in the cooking aspects of Lecithin but its Phospholipid content and medicinal applications.

Egg whites contain nearly all protein, whereas egg yolks contain virtually all the fat. Eggs protein is rated at 100% in terms of Protein Quality and so are highly assimilable, probably more so than Soy Protein. Whilst eggs do contain cholesterol, there is no evidence that consuming eggs has ever raised a person's serum cholesterol levels. It is thought that the presence of the Lecithin helps to prevent its absorption. Eating meat, fish and milk dairy is a different story (but even then direct dietary sources only make up a small part of total cholesterol intake/production in the body). Egg Yolk Lecithin is arguably more bioavailable than Soy Lecithin.

Sources of Egg Yolk are of course, chicken eggs (preferably eaten Free Range and Organic), duck's eggs and quail's eggs. Chicken eggs are the most commonly available and cheapest. Duck's eggs are slightly larger than chicken's eggs, up to twice the weight. Quail's eggs are roughly a third of the size of a chicken's egg.

A whole, large, hard boiled chicken's egg (weighing 50g) contains roughly 10.6% Fat, 12.6% of Protein and 1.12% Carbohydrate (including shell weight).

In terms of Phosphatidyl Choline content, the figures are rather hard to come by, but figures for a raw egg yolk, weighing 17g, from a large egg, according to Wikipedia are 116mg of Choline and 66mg of Phosphorus. So perhaps this is around 182mg of Phosphatidyl Choline. The Cholesterol figure is around 210mg per egg yolk.

According to Wikipedia, these figures are based on a large US egg, minus the shell, total weight 50g. The shell comprises 12% of total egg weight (around 7g in this case). Normal egg weight varies from 35g to 71g, depending on egg classification (small to very large).

One internet source states that in two 30.2g eggs (presumably), there is 4.1g of Lecithin. If we assume that there is 182mg of PC in a 50g egg, then there is presumably around 110mg in a 30.2g egg. If each such egg has 2.05g of Lecithin in it, then the PC content of egg yolk is approximately 5.4%. This is roughly a quarter that of typical Soy Lecithin granule sources, although still very significant. This may not be an accurate figure of course, as I have no way of verifying the internet source in question.

There is no calorific benefit (in terms of dieting) to just eating the yolks compared to eating whole eggs, as the egg white is virtually all protein, and a good source of nutrition. Two chicken eggs a day may provide roughly the same amount of Phospholipids as half a teaspoon of Soy Lecithin.

Eggs are rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, but contain no Omega 3 fatty acids, so it may be as well to supplement with Fish oil or Flaxseed Oil if you are consuming significant amounts of egg regularly.

It is well to vary one's lecithin intake, in any case, e.g. changing egg type a couple of times a week, or take breaks, e.g. a couple of days a week, as eating chicken eggs EVERY SINGLE DAY is not really a good idea from a nutrition perspective, as the body likes a change in its dietary inputs, rather than the same food types every day.

An alternative to eating eggs is Egg Yolk Lecithin supplements, made from Egg Yolk Concentrate. One example is Nature's Plus Egg Yolk Lecithin 600mg capsules, which contain 10% PC. This is manufactured from Egg Yolk concentrate. This is not organic (and probably not derived from free range egg sources).

Meat and fish do contain some Phosphatidyl Choline, on account of the cell membrane content of these muscle fibres, but the concentration is not as great as in eggs. Vegetables do contain some lecithin of course, but generally in relatively low quantities, and certainly not enough for phospholipid therapy purposes in those with particularly oxidised cell membranes.

Sunflower Lecithin

A vegan alternative to soy lecithin is in the form of Sunflower Lecithin. This can be purchased in liquid form (as can soy lecithin) and also in capsule form. Examples include LoveRawFoods' Raw Sunflower Lecithin (liquid) and Now Foods Sunflower Lecithin (1200mg capsules). These are Non-GMO, Soy-Free, the latter containing 3.6g (3600mg) of Sunflower Lecithin per 3 capsules, equivalent to a heaped teaspoon of Soy Lecithin Granules. The PC content of Sunflower Lecithin is 17.5% which is roughly equivalent to Soy Lecithin (granules). It does however smell disgusting in my opinion, but that isn't so much an issue if you are taking capsules. It did neutrally muscle test on me (meaning nutrition).

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Phospholipid Exchange (PLX) - IV Phosphatidyl Choline Infusions

Phosphatidyl choline (abbreviated to phos chol) is usually orally supplemented. In extreme cases, IV therapy or injection is prescribed by certain doctors in addition to oral supplementation, for example for the removal of high levels of glutathione conjugates from the mitochondrial membrane and to rebuild the inter- and intra-cellular membranes (i.e. cell membranes and mitochondrial membranes) from oxidative (free radical) damage.

Phospholipid Exchange (PLX) Therapy is the intravenous push of phosphatidyl choline into the blood stream. Usually a combination of Phos Chol and Glutathione injections are used. A similar effect can be had from oral consumption of high levels of Phos Chol. However, when ingested orally, it is likely that because the blood supply from the digestive tract goes straight to the liver, that the liver and gallbladder will utilise most of this PC for bile production, pushing it straight back into the digestive tract, expelling a number of toxins with it. Injecting it bypasses the liver and allows the tissues to absorb the PC as required before eventually being captured by the liver (assuming it has not all been absorbed by the tissues). Thus one can try to replicate a PLX by large quantities of orally ingested PC, but this will result in considerably more bile production/ejection than with the injection.

Phos Chol treatment is usually combined with oral omega 3/6 intake and glutathione supplementation/injection. Where Phos Chol injections are prescribed (usually once a week, but may be up to three times daily for those suffering from chronic diseases), a daily oral regime of Phos Chol intake is also accompanied to boost the effectiveness. Your consultant should be able to advise you of what is appropriate and what dosage and frequency.

An example of a typical Phos Chol PLX injection might consist of two 5ml ampoules of the Lipostabil brand of phosphatidyl choline (i.e. 10ml in total) and 20ml of Glutathione (100mg/ml concentration, i.e. 2g). My PLX injections with Nutrition Associates were in this format, injected intravenously over a period of 5 minutes or so. I have known some practitioners to recommend 3 ampoules of Lipostabil injected via infusion (IV drip) over the period of an hour, followed by a Folinic Acid (Leucovorin) infusion for 30 minutes, followed by another 3 ampoules of Lipostabil by infusion (drip) over the period of an hour. A slower delivery is likely to be more effective and spike levels less than a rapid injection.

Each 5ml ampoule of Lipostabil N i.v. contains phospholipids composed of 93% 3-sn-Phosphatidyl Choline (250mg) in a base of 96% alcohol (i.e. 4% phospholipids). So two ampoules of Lipostabil provides 500mg of Phos Chol, which does not seem much, but it is available in the blood stream immediately, as opposed to orally where it has to pass through the digestive tract. The phosphatidyl choline is administered first, following by the glutathione (to bind with any neurotoxins released by the PC coming into contact with the mitochondrial membranes etc.), and finally saline (3-5ml). Lipostabil is manufactured in Germany. There are numberous negative stories about Lipostabil on the internet, but these relate to the subcutaneous injection of it for weight loss purposes, which is not recommended by the manufacturer. A fact sheet by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK is listed below regarding this matter. The injections we are concerned with here are I.V. (i.e. straight into the blood stream), which is what the product's intended usage is.

MHRA Fact Sheet about Lipostabil:

Wikipedia defines 'saline' at the link below.

Please see the B-Vitamin Dosages section on the Nutritional Deficiencies page for more information on Glutathione injections and the Myer's Cocktail.

Some people report feeling very ill after a PLX for a couple of days. Others report feeling actually much better after a PLX injection for a couple of days. This may be in part on account of the increased levels of glutathione in the blood. Usually the patient may take one or two PLXes to get used to it, and so normally a half dosage (i.e. 1 ampoule of PC and 10ml of Glutathione) is administered for the first one or two PLXes, before subsequently administering full strength PLXes. It is normally played by ear and if the first half dosage PLX goes ok, then a full dosage may be administered for the second PLX.

If one is consuming ionised water or ERT/MRET water (as discussed on the electromagnetic page) on the same day as the PLX, the effect of the PLX may be greatly enhanced, depending on the individual's electromagnetic balance and amount drunk. It may or may not also result in an increased likelihood of the vein collapsing, when first consumed. These factors clearly depend on the individual. Combining ERT/MRET water with PLXes may however help to accelerate the overall detoxification programme.

PLXes may also be taken in conjunction with a B12 injection, which is performed IV using the same needle and vein. This are can be in the form of, for example, a 5000-20,000 mcg methylcobalamin injection, or a 2000mcg cyanocobalamin injections. Clearly the former is much more effective than the latter, as methyl B12 is more readily absorbed than Cyano B12. The B12 can be administered either intra muscular (IM) or intra venous (IV). If given IV in the same vein as the PLX, a 5 minute gap is usually observed from having the PLX, to having the B12 injection, to optimise the extent of absorption. 3-5ml of saline is also injected immediately after the B12. Please see the section above on The Body's Natural Mechanisms For Detoxification on this page, and also the Nutritional Deficiencies page for more information on B-Vitamin deficiencies and methylation.

A personal web site on one person's experiences of Phospholipid Exchange (PLX) Therapy is shown below. A very useful web site with an excellent links page.

PhoenixCFS has an overview of treating methylation problems which includes references to supplementation (Vitamin and Phospholipid etc) and detoxification.

It may help to avoid any mineral supplements (for example, essential minerals (metals) or trace minerals (metals)) on the day of the PLX, so that the PLX can more effectively act to remove some of the heavy metals that are attached to the inter- and intra-cellular membranes.

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Combining PLX with FIR Saunas

If you are undergoing FIR Sauna or OAPD treatments, it is highly recommended to avoid having an FIR Sauna 24 hours prior to having a PLX injection. Otherwise it may have an effect on your veins and the ease of physically administering the injection successfully (e.g. effects may include collapsing veins or Phos Chol coming out of the vein and spreading out under the skin). The precise effects may vary according to the individual. There is no hard and fast rule about how soon to have your next FIR Sauna or OAPD session AFTER the injection - this is something you will have to learn to play by ear. You may find it optimal to wait at least 2-3 days after the injection before starting your FIR Saunas or OAPD sessions up again (i.e. if you have the PLX on day 1, you would have the FIR sauna on day 4), or your tolerance to the saunas may be very low and you will have to take a break before you can resume your normal schedule. You may find that you may have to build up the FIR Sauna intensity and frequency over a few days and not dive straight into 2 saunas a day (for example) the next day. Some examples are shown below of FIR sauna schedules for a person who can comfortably do 10 minutes in the sauna at a time. Please note that Day 8 is the same as Day 1, and so on.

The general recommendation is to take Phosphatidyl Choline oral supplements daily, normally two to three times a day, with a meal. Some practitioners recommend one day on, one day off, doing the FIR Sauna and taking the oral Phospholipids on the same day.

If you are engaging in a serious FIR sauna program, then it is unwise to exceed your comfortable normal amount of oral phosphatidyl choline on the day before or the day of an FIR sauna. Otherwise, if you do push your limits on the phospholipids, you may find that you cannot perform your usual FIR sauna duration as it gives you a big headache early on.

I personally found that after approximately 6 months of taking oral phospholipids (e.g. 8 capsules of BodyBio PC per day), FIR saunas 2-3 times a week, and roughly 20 PLX injections, that there was no longer no ATP blocking on his mitochondria translocator sites, but that there was still rapid depletion of energy on energy demand. After approximately 9 months of taking oral phospholipids (the last 3 of those taking equivalent of 12 capsules of BodyBio PC per day, or a combination of BodyBio and Citicoline), FIR saunas 2-3 times a week, and 30 PLX injections, all the (previously very high levels of) glutathione conjugates of a drug or other chemical and traces of toxic metals on the white cell mitochondrial membrane had disappeared.

An ATP Profile and Translocator Protein microscopy should highlight any issues around the inter- and intra- cellular membranes, as described on the identification page. A metabolic profile (organic acid analysis) based on a urine sample may also provide indirect evidence of ATP efficiency, which may provide a rough idea of the efficiency of the mitochondrial membrane. Phospholipid therapy may work very well in conjunction with regular FIR sauna usage, and I consider both to be an essential part of a detoxification programme that is concerned with heavy metal and organic toxin removal from the inter- and intra-cellular membranes.

FIR saunas are examined in more detail in the section below on light therapies.

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Light Therapies / Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Therapies:

There are a number of light-based detoxification treatments on the market, such as far infrared (FIR) saunas, infrared heat pads, detox food pads (discussed in the section below), laser energetic detoxification (LED), low level laser therapy (LLLT) and many others. These work on the basis of heating the inside of the body through infrared light, of which approximately only 20% heats the air and 80% of which heats the skin and penetrates the body. It acts to dilate blood vessels and increasing blood circulation, and probably increasing cellular activity. This may increase the body's ability to detoxify itself through its natural mechanisms. LED is different as it also utilises principles of homeopathy.

Light-based therapies work on the basis of draining toxins from the lymphatic system as well as stimulating the release of toxins from the inter- and intra-cellular membranes (cell and mitochondria membranes). The toxins themselves are then freed up in the bloodstream and are eliminated mainly by the liver and kidneys, but also though sweat and breath to a smaller extent. Light-based therapies are commonly used to help promote the elimination of glutathione conjugates or neurotoxins that are attached to and impairing the inter- and intra-cellular membranes, especially the mitochondrial membranes. Such a condition is known as Neurotoxic Membrane Syndrome or NMS.

Depending on what types of toxicity you are suffering from, they may help you as part of your detoxification programme, as indeed will any activity that makes you eliminate toxins through your skin as sweat, to a lesser extent (such as saunas, hot baths etc.). Please note that anyone who engages in regular activities involving sweating (!), whether they are saunas, work outs etc., it is very important to replace the lost electrolyte minerals calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride either in one's diet or through supplementation (or both) as otherwise this can result in severe mineral depletion over time and mineral deficiencies. One does not actually have to sweat during a light therapy session to obtain the detoxification benefit from it. However, it is a good idea to shower afterwards to wash off any toxins from the surface of the skin that have been excreted in sweat, so that they are not reabsorbed. Although specific light therapies can be extremely powerful detoxification methods in themselves, I do not personally recommend to use a light therapy as your ONLY mechanism of detoxification, but for optimum results should be used with some of the other methods described on this page. Links to information web sites about light therapies can be found on the links page. Some light therapies are listed below.

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Far Infrared (FIR) Saunas

What is FIR and how does it work?

Far infrared radiation (FIR) is a component of sunlight and has been the subject of various studies, focussing on its effect on cardiovascular conditioning, similar to exercise. The infrared spectrum ranges from 0.75 micrometres to 1000 micrometers (formerly known as microns). The shorter wavelength (0.75 to 1.4) is known as 'near-infrared' and is visible red, followed by short-wavelength infrared (1.4 - 3). Mid-wavelength infrafred is between 3 and 8 micrometres. Long-wavelength infrared is between 8 and 15 micrometres, and finally Far infrared is defined as being 15-1000 micrometres (0.05 - 1 mm). All forms of infrared radiation are below the microwave radiation band which is from 1mm wavelength and upwards.

Far Infrared (FIR) Saunas (a.k.a FIRS) are devices that use a particular set of infrared wavelengths to stimulate the body. Most FIR sauna manufacturers devices seem to output from around 4 to 14 microns. This is claimed to be the most beneficial frequency for humans, and indeed matches the wavelength of radiation emitted from humans. This would more accurately be defined then as being mid- to long-wavelength infrared rather than far infrared, however the manufacturers all seem to define FIR as being 5 to 1000 micrometres (approximating the CIE division scheme, but most schemes including the above do not) so they use the nomenclature 'FIR'.

FIR Saunas do not use hot air or steam convection and conduction to heat the body as do steam and dry saunas (i.e. direct contact with skin). They use a series of bulbs or heating elements that radiate FIR radiation at the user that passes through the skin. Those who do not react well with steam saunas or hot baths (on account of over stimulation of the endocrine system and inability to sleep) will more than likely not have this issue with FIR saunas.

FIR penetrate deep into the body's tissues (approximately 4-5cm) and heats water molecules and thus the body (in a safe way compared with harmful microwave radiation), increasing cardiovascular function and blood circulation, whilst also perhaps energetically stimulating the cells and helping to release toxins. It is probably a combination of the heating of the tissues and the dilating effect the radiation has on the blood vessels, combined with their electromagnetic stimulation, that results in the release of mainly organic toxins into the blood stream and lymph (from the lipid/fatty compartments of the body), and the mobilisation of waste in the lympathic system. However, I do not believe that FIR can effectively mobilise the entire lymphatic system - it depends also on how clogged up it is. Other benefits of FIR are decreased joint stiffness, increased extensability of collagen tissues and pain relief.

FIR saunas help to energise the cells of the body. They are sometimes used by the elderly to improve circulation and increase energy levels, and promote a healthy metabolism. They may for example assist in bowel movements on the day of the sauna. It is at higher levels of energetic functioning that cells are best able to function on a biochemical and metabolic level. If we consider the fact that cells that are at a higher state of energetic functioning will more readily rid their membranes and fatty cells of toxins, then one can probably safely assume that conversely that neurotoxins on the inter- and intra-cellular membranes decrease the potential maximum energetic states that the cells can actually reach and their biochemical efficiency. Once the body is rid of the majority of its neurotoxins from the cell membranes and fatty cells, then light therapies like FIR saunas can then really be used for longer periods at each session, where the focus can be on increasing the energetic state of the cells, without having to worry about the side effects and limits imposed by the release of toxins in a controlled manner.

Some links showing additional information about the effect of FIR saunas are listed below. (12 pages)

The long term effects of FIR sauna usage have not been studied with closely monitored trials, so the effects are still somewhat unknown, but informal studies by the Russians since the 1950s have revealed a number of beneficial effects.

An important effect of FIR is to replicate the effect of a fever to some degree, i.e. a raised internal core body temperature to around 38C (hyperthermia), which can help to kill pathogenic organisms by boosting the immune system temporarily (increase levels of disease fighting white blood cells, antibodies and interferon. The temperature rise also activates the sweat glands which may help the body to excrete toxins. Heart rate is also known to increase, with a corresponding increase in flow rate of blood throughout the body, increasing nutrient, oxygen (and possibly mobilised toxin) levels. It is also reputed to detoxify fat cells (adipose tissue). Toxic substances are secreted during sweating through the dermis-layer fat glands.
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Types of FIR Sauna:

FIR Saunas are not commonly available to the public for use, although certain health spas may use them. In general, steam based heat saunas are more popular and common. A purchase of one's own Far Infrared Sauna may be therefore required if one cannot locate one for use at a sauna, health spa or fitness club. This may work out cheaper over the medium term than renting on or paying per session. There is no reason however that you can't buy one for yourself and allow your friends and family to use it. Or club together and buy one. One UK supplier for infra-red sauna rental is listed on the links page.

If you consider the cost of certain types or a combination of detoxification supplements over 6 months or even 18 months, then the one off capital cost of purchasing an FIR Sauna is actually quite small and relatively good value. It can also be shared by a number of people. I strongly believe that the use of an FIR Sauna is an important part of any cellular detoxification programme.

There are a wide variety of FIR sauna products, including portable saunas, domes, mattresses and blankets, as well as the tradition wooden sauna cabins. There is some evidence to suggest that saunas made from poplar are preferable to cedar on account on cedar wood's potential to release gaseous toxins, so bear this in mind if you decide to purchase a wood cabin FIR sauna. One can also purchase FIR heaters individually and set up a sauna in your bathroom - this is a cheaper way to set up an FIR sauna in your home. The differences between them are clearly cost, the total bodily surface area that the FIR heating elements are able to radiate onto, proximity to the skin, power consumption issues, the posture you wish to adopt in the unit, and the ease of which you can move or wipe sweat from your body with a towel or paper towel. Consider the relative benefits of the different FIR sauna models or options available.

A portable tent-style or dome style FIR Saunas are available. Also wood cabin style saunas. One can purchase dedicated FIR heaters also.

Below is an example of how FIR Heaters can be set up in your bathroom if you want to try that method.

There is some speculation that an FIR blanket/coccoon sauna may be optimal as it puts the elements into very close contact with the skin. The FIR blanket sauna (like a sleeping bag) can also be used to target specification sections of the body as it has 3 channel (area) settings, each with adjustable temperature and timer settings. If you wish to sweat during an FIR session, then a blanket style sauna may be optimal as the 'blanket' is in contact with the skin and does heat up - and a suitable temperature can be selected to promote sweating if desired.

Below is an example of a 'blanket' or 'sleeping bag' style FIR sauna, that I have used.

Close up shots of the control unit for the above sauna are shown below.

A shot of the sauna open to dry after use is shown below. Only the main rectangular area would emit FIR radiation when in use.

Probably the cheapest way to detoxify your body with FIR is to simply buy a couple (up to say a maximum of 5) of red 250W Infrared Reflector bulbs and a couple of Porcelain Lamp Holders or similar heat resistant lamps and mount them in a suitable manner. Just be sure to check to wattage of the bulbs and the maximum wattage capability of the light fitting or lamp you are using. Often, regular desk lamps etc have a rating of 60 or 100W. You may be able to get away with using a 100W light fitting with 125W bulbs for very brief periods of usage, although it is not recommended for safety reasons. If you elect to install lamp holders, then you will need to be experienced in DIY or have a qualified electrician help you (for safety reasons).

Choosing to buy your own infrared bulbs might only cost you 5% of the cost of buying a FIR sauna. These would be in the other end of the infrared spectrum, closer to visible light, and produce a red light - they may tend towards Near-Infrared and Short-Wavelength Infrared (the visible end). The bulbs should probably be mounted 20cm apart (centre to centre) to ensure even heat radiation distribution. You could mount the bulbs overhead or on a wall, depending on what angle you want the light to hit you. With vertically mounted (overhead) bulbs, you would lie underneath them. With horizontally mounted bulbs, you would sit on a wooden chair (for example) and face the bulbs. Never leave the infrared bulbs or FIR sauna on unattended. An example of these items are shown at the links below from a UK on-line supplier. They should be available from electrical suppliers in your country.

An example of horizontally mounted 250W infrared reflector bulbs (i.e. 250W per bulb) is shown in the picture below, using the above items, as set up by a friend of mine.

Bear in mind that the electricity consumption of a blanket-style FIR sauna with a total (maximum) power output of 300W (at 36VDC) will be massively less than an array of 250W (at 230V or 110V AC) infrared reflector bulbs, and so if used in the long term, the latter solution could well become more costly, depending on the number of bulbs used.

Regarding the magnetic fields that are produced by different types of Infrared saunas, the majority of these are produced in the control unit or power supply (if separate), so if this is kept away from the body then there is no significant magnetic field exposure. Many FIR cabin saunas (very costly) incorporate the main power supply and control unit into the wall, often including an FIR or IR heating element. If you do purchase such a sauna, then be aware that it may be best not to sit next to such an element. Infrared bulbs have a negligible magnetic field. Regarding the electric field, an FIR sauna with a separate power supply/control unit such as a sauna bag will be running at a lower voltage (36V DC) than the cheap type of FIR sauna pad that plugs straight into the mains, which will be 110V or 230V AC very close to the body, which will produce a much stronger and alternating electric field. The control unit of a sauna bag will of course be at mains voltage so it is best to keep this away from your body, especially your head, but usually the cables are long enough to enable this. Infrared bulb arrays of course are at mains voltage (110 or 230V AC), and they tend to run at high wattages (e.g. up to 250W per bulb), so the electric field from these, even a few feet away, is likely to be extremely high (and alternating). If you are sensitive to EMFs then you may want to bear the above considerations in mind. Regarding critique of FIR compared with IR bulbs, I have yet to see any evidence that FIR emits actual microwave radiation. FIR is close to the microwave spectrum but it is not actually microwave. IR is reported to have similar effects. When I have more information on this, I will comment further.

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FIR Sauna Duration:

At the start of a detoxification programme, one may elect to start with 5 minute sessions every other day and built up slowly over time, as one would with a detoxification supplement. If one has a weak cardiac function, then one may want to start off with 1 or 2 minute sessions to start with.

Before increasing session lengths by the next 5 minute step (i.e. increasing from 5 minutes to 10 minutes), one can try having 2 saunas per day, for example of 5 minutes duration each. One can start off with every other day, then increase to 2 days on 1 day off, 3 days on 1 day off, and finally moving to every day. It depends on the individual and which pattern one feels most comfortable with. However, be aware that doing the maximum number of minutes per day, every day, may well take its toll on the liver and adrenal glands, so remember to pace yourself for the long haul rather than burn yourself out in a month or two.

Once one is used to FIR, then the most usual duration/frequency of FIR sauna use for detoxification is approximately 20 minutes per session, approximately 3 times per week, or every other day. The maximum duration recommended is 30 minutes in one session. But it may take many individuals a long time to build up to this.

Dr John McLaren Howard, of Acumen and ex-director of Biolab Medical Unit (UK), has stated that FIR is best used in short-sharp treatments, and should never be used like an ordinary sauna, as one only sets up an equilibrium between excretion and reabsorption through the skin. He recommends short durations in the FIR Sauna (e.g. 10 to 15 minutes), followed by immediate, rapid showering off - to get the best from this technique. He has also stated that longer periods in an FIR sauna (and indeed a steam sauna) can also deplete potassium, which may have an adverse cumulative effect on heart function and also adrenal function. This may be in addition to the cardiovascular effect of FIR being equivalent to mild exercise, putting a workload on the heart in any case.

Potassium deficiency may be physically felt by muscle twitches, for example, in the eye lid or perhaps upper arm etc. If you do experience such symptoms it would be best to desist from FIR usage for at least a week, supplementing Potassium all the while, with Potassium-rich foods, and/or in supplemental form. When you start back up again it may be wise to only use the sauna every other day as a maximum. As mentioned, mineral supplementation during an FIR sauna programme is of paramount importance.

It may be useful to keep a record of your FIR sauna usage, noting down the temperature, duration, and number of sessions performed at each setting/duration, and which part of the body has been exposed (whole body except head, head only, etc.) In this way, you can see patterns that emerge and see how many sessions you have performed at any one duration, so you know roughly when to next experiment with slightly longer durations etc.

How long should you continue to use your FIR sauna? Well, if you can get to the point where you can use it every day for 30-60 minutes or so with no detoxification side effects over a prolonged period, then you have probably completely detoxified your body's tissues. Unless you have actually reached this point, then you should continue your FIR schedule and not quit or give up unless of course you need to take a break for a few weeks or so to rest your liver etc. In any case, once you have reached this point, you can use the sauna a couple of times a week to energise the body's cells and to relax in any case.

However, you won't know for sure unless you actually perform a Translocator Protein Studies test to examine if there are any partial detoxification products stuck to the mitochondrial white cell membranes; or indeed a Fat Biopsy to examine the levels of organic toxins remaining in the adipose fat cells. Please see the Identification page for more information regarding suitable tests.

The reason we say 30-60 minutes maximum is that over time although the maximum comfortable duration that you can use the FIR sauna gradually increases through use, there may be a certain limit on the amount of time you can spend in the FIR sauna before your endocrine system becomes overstimulated. You will notice this as you will fail to fall asleep the night after an FIR sauna session. If you are taking adrenal stimulating supplements (e.g. herbs or glandulars), you may wish to cut back on these to a dosage where you can fall asleep at night again, and if necessary cut them out completely. In most cases, it is the act of taking adrenal stimulating herbs or supplements which restricts your FIR sauna duration, if you have progressed this far, and simply by cutting them out you can increase the duration (without overstimulating the endocrine system) and simply be limited by the actual detoxification limit instead.

I have tried this, and it seems to work fine. e.g. I could do 35 minute sessions whilst taking an adrenal stimulating supplement but no more without incurring insomnia. I was however able to do 60+ minutes (not advisable) without taking an adrenal supplement at all. Another approach is to omit the adrenal stimulating supplement(s) on the day of the FIR sauna, but continue with your normal dosage on all other days. As you increase the level of stimulation, your endocrine system may well no longer require an adrenal stimulating supplement at all (even on FIR-free days).

If none of the above options are possible or work for you, then cut back on the FIR duration until you reach a comfortable level. The amount of EM stimulation your endocrine system can cope with every day may well change with time, and you may well quickly adapt or get used to higher levels of stimulation, and so it may well be possible to increase the FIR duration with time. Experiment. It is something that you will have to figure out for yourself.

I have experimented with FIR Sauna duration, and have performed session durations up to 80 minutes. I however found that at 70-80 minutes, one may experience palpitations of the heart and a strange feeling in the heart muscle. This may build up over time, in terms of one's susceptibility to develop these symptoms with consecutive long FIR sauna sessions; or from one very long FIR session; to the extent that the heart nuscle may feel uncomfortable for days on end. If this happens to you then it is best to lay off the FIR saunas for a week or so or until you feel totally happy to continue again (and also avoiding anything more than light exercise, hot showers and lying on your left side in bed). The heart muscle in such instances may well be overstimulated electromagnetically and also in its cardio-vascular capacity (as FIR saunas are a method of burning calories, and it may be easy to exceed one's cardiovascular capacity by just lieing down in the FIR sauna!) It is therefore probably wise not to exceed 60 minutes in one session - 45 minutes may be the optimal maximum for one session if performed 3 times a week. If one requires more session time to reach the maximum level of comfortable detoxification, then it may be better to break it up into more sessions, and perform say a 30 minute session every day (rather than 60 minute session every other day). Try and experiment and stick only to what feels comfortable for you.

As a general rule, you should not engage in a single session of FIR longer than you can perform moderate exercise for (without a break); and you should not do more FIR sessions per week than you can comfortably perform exercise sessions per week, without wearing yourself out. Also bear in mind that if you do exercise during the week as well as FIR sauna sessions, then you have to be able to cope with both!

If you reach the limit of what your endocrine system can cope with in terms of FIR (i.e. insomnia at night), then that is not to say that you are not still detoxifying your body at each FIR session, it is just that you are not able to reach the optimum limit. Keep using the FIR sauna regularly for many months until you feel you have finished detoxing. Of course, many people choose to use FIR not for detoxification but for increasing cellular energy levels, so there is no reason why you should necessarily stop taking FIR saunas just because you feel you have finished detoxing for the moment. All in all an FIR sauna is an excellent tool, and one of the most important for cellular detoxification.

Towards the end of your FIR sauna detoxification programme, which may be after a couple of months or perhaps a year and a half, then you may well find that you can take a whole body FIR sauna late in the evening and not have this interfere with your sleep pattern in any way. This is also true if one is doing higher durations on body parts such as the feet.

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Considerations for FIR Sauna Usage:

If one feels fatigued or experiences headaches immediately or hours after a sauna, then one has overdone it, and one should ideally wait until one feels normal again, and wait a further day, before resuming the sauna programme on the following day. You may find that if you have overdone it, you can't simply revert back to the last schedule that worked comfortably without any headaches or fatigue without at least a day or two's break. If the day after having felt fatigued from saunas you revert back to your previous schedule, you may find it still continues to give you a headache. This is a sign that the liver needs time to clear all the toxins that have been released from the tissues and that are floating around the blood stream, before you release any more. Otherwise the toxins in the blood don't have a chance to go down sufficiently to a comfortable level and remain elevated (hence the headaches). If you are feeling temporarily run down for other reasons (overdoing things etc.), then you may find your body and liver unable to tolerate the normal amount of FIR sauna treatments, so it may be best to recover properly first before resuming.

Other detoxification symptoms may include acne or boils, perhaps on the shoulders, neck or skull. This is more symptomatic of drugs and chemical detoxing rather than heavy metals, but of course this may vary according to the individual. They are a sign that the liver and detoxification pathways of the body are overburdened (i.e. an adverse inflammatory response, and that one should consider lowering one's exposure to FIR in order to keep toxin relase within the body's ability to eliminate them.

In general, when using FIR saunas, the body will feel the most warmth in areas where the circulation is strongest, and less warmth in those areas where circulation is weak. FIR Saunas may also help with muscle and ligament injuries (and healing in general) on account of their deep heat penetration and stimulation of the body's circulation and internal organs. Although you can indeed purchase your own FIR Sauna, it is highly advisable to seek professional guidance as to how to structure your FIR Sauna programme, as there is a fine line between optimum detoxification and release too many toxins at once (causing a bad/splitting headache and other detox symptoms, much like taking too much Cilantro).

Remember to always drink a glass of water before and after the sauna, preferably at least 2 x 8 fluid ounces for every 15 minutes in the sauna. And also don't forget to replace any electrolyte minerals as described above. In addition, a small amount of chlorella can be taken 15-30 minutes prior to the FIR sauna, to help absorb any heavy metals released from the tissues into the blood stream.

The mineral loss results from sweating, and the more you sweat, the more minerals you will lose, particularly Magnesium. Toxins are released into the bloodstream and also escape from the body in the sweat. The more you sweat the better, as you are removing more waste from the lymphatic system, but it is not a big issue if you don not sweat (very much) at all, as there are other pathways for removal of the toxins. Increased temperatures can promote sweating, particularly in a sleeping bag style FIR sauna. If you do sweat, it is a good idea to actually wipe or mop up the sweat with a towel or with paper towels, rather than simply leaving the sweat on one's skin, where some of the toxins may be reabsorbed. This is clearly easier in a tent style FIR sauna than in a sleeping bag style FIR sauna. Otherwise one can simply ensure that one goes immediately to the shower and does not hang around after leaving the sauna bag, maybe wiping and cleaning it after your shower, rather than before. Be aware than regular use of FIR saunas, where sweating occurs, as indeed any other regular activity or regular exposure to environments where you sweat profusely, can result in mineral depletion, and one should try to remineralise effectively as one goes along. It is also a good idea to have a mineral level blood test every 3 to 6 months to proactively ensure that any significant demineralisation does not occur.

One may find that FIR usage is most needed or effective in the winter, as the body is subjected to less natural light (i.e. radiation) and tends to sweat less (depending on clothing and home heating etc.)

I personally prefer to have a sauna first thing in the morning. I have noted that more sweating occurs when there is food in the stomach, although it is probably advisable to avoid an FIR immediately after a meal as blood will be concentrated more around the stomach rather than around the body as a whole.

One other possible factor to bear in mind when using FIR saunas is that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, too much exposure to strong light, especially those frequencies that which heats the body, either internally or on the surface, may result in a large increase in yang in the body (and heart fire/hot energy). According to my acunpuncturist, FIR Sauna usage may well help the body to build up yang energy and also build up Qi. If one is suffering from excessive heat energy in the body and also yin deficiency, whilst very short durations may be useful up to a point, it may also result in excessive heat energy in the body. Some constitutions may tolerate FIR more than others clearly. Whilst building up yang energy in the body with FIR or exposure to light, one is clearly doing nothing to increase yin energy, so simply doing more and more FIR is not going to help you in this respect. Long term it may exacerbate any hot energy issues you have, creating more imbalance in the body, not less. So, with regular usage, and for those individuals who are yin deficient (e.g. most CFS sufferers) this may be a price that one has to pay, in the short term, to enjoy the detoxification and increased blood/lymphatic circulation benefits that FIR offers. See the Digestive Disorders page for more information.

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Combining FIR Saunas with Other Detoxification Protocols:

If you are commencing on a regular FIR sauna regime, it may be wise to temporarily suspend taking any oral chelating agents, or at least allow for enough days after the FIR Sauna before you start taking chelating agents, and of course not to take any additional chelating agents on the day of the FIR Sauna. Otherwise, if you do the maximum comfortable duration/amount of FIR saunas, plus the maximum comfortable daily dosage of chelation product, then you will in effect be loading the liver twice as much as you would if you only stuck to one. If you do both in this manner, then at some point your liver will start to become warn out and it may affect your energy levels, and you may notice some physical liver discomfort. If this occurs then you should stop all chelation and mobilising products and FIR saunas for at least a couple of weeks until your liver recovers (and preferably have an energetic treatment on your liver to increase its qi levels).

FIR Saunas may work well in conjunction with high dosages of Niacin (Vitamin B3). High dosages of Niacin produce an effect called skin flushing, but doses slightly lower than this but way above 'normal' may assist in vasodilation and the effectiveness of the FIR sauna treatment. Dosages of between 50 and 1000mg have been tolerated by different individuals, so it is best to work your way up slowly, rather than try 1000mg initially! If you do take too much, then you will experience a temporary redness and stinging sensation which will disappear after a little while. Prolonged ingestion of dosages of Niacin that cause flushing may well cause liver damage, so it is important to stay within this limit. It is best to take this Niacin dosage up to an hour before the FIR Sauna. I have not tried this protocol but will be investigating it shortly. This is an optional addition to the FIR Sauna treatment programme and is of course not strictly necessary; and you do so at your own risk. To read more about Niacin, please see the Nutritional Deficiencies page.

Another protocol that may help your FIR treatments is to take an enzyme such as Bromelain (on an empty stomach), which can help to remove stagnant substances and waste that might be clogging up the lymphatic system and bloodstream, which might assist in releasing more toxins from the fat cells. Bromelain is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. More information on Bromelain can be found on the Nutritional Deficiencies page. However, some critics argue that such Enzymes are really for anti-inflammatory use, and if you do not have an inflammation problem, then they are really just fancy antioxidants (and possibly not the best use of your money).

FIR Saunas may also work well also in conjunction with the use of detox foot patches, which also utilise FIR. FIR Saunas also tends to complement Phospholipid Therapy. Phospholipid Therapy helps to promote bile production and ensure the effective functioning of the pathway of the liver for excretion of toxins, and so helps to eliminte the toxins that are released from the tissues into the bloodstream and lymphatic system during FIR sauna use. Please see the Phospholipid Therapy section below for additional sauna schedule considerations. Remember that if you are taking one or more chelation products, or Phos Chol, then they may have a cumulative effect in the number of toxins that are released, and so may affect the intensity of FIR saunas that you can comfortably have. A balance must be struck.

If you are undergoing FIR Sauna treatments, it is highly recommended to avoid having an FIR Sauna 24 hours prior to having a PLX injection (described below in the Phospholipid Therapy section. Otherwise it may have an effect on your veins and the ease of physically administering the injection successfully (e.g. effects may include collapsing veins or Phos Chol coming out of the vein and spreading out under the skin). The precise effects may vary according to the individual. There is no hard and fast rule about how soon to have your next FIR Sauna AFTER the injection - this is something you will have to learn to play by ear. You may find it optimal to wait at least 1-2 days after the injection before starting your FIR Saunas up again (i.e. if you have the PLX on day 1, you would have the FIR sauna on day 4), or your tolerance to the saunas may be very low and you will have to take a break before you can resume your normal schedule. You may find that you may have to build up the FIR Sauna intensity and frequency over a few days and not dive straight into 2 saunas a day (for example) the next day. Some examples are shown below of FIR sauna schedules for a person who can comfortably do 10 minutes in the sauna at a time. Please note that Day 8 is the same as Day 1, and so on.

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It appears that the predominant cardiovascular effect on the heart is due to direct FIR radiation striking and heating up the heart muscle. Of course, FIR will generally warm the inner core and stimulate blood circulation locally also. Bearing this in mind, if one's heart is the limiting factor in one's FIR usage, particularly for those with weak Cardiac/Mitochondrial function, one may wish to expose the mid abdomen down to FIR. This is easiest achieved in a sleeping bag style sauna, and one can climb inside, with the top edge of the 'sleeping bag' touching the bottom of one's rib cage, which should ensure that the heart muscle does not receive any radiation directly. I have tried this, and it appears that I can spend at least twice as long in the FIR sauna this way than I can if doing FIR on the neck down. If you can comfortably do 10+ minutes in a normal fashion, then clearly it is not really worth doing the above. It is only really if you cannot do more than 1-2 minutes in the sauna on account of cardiac issues. Clearly the more of your body you expose to FIR during your sauna times the better, and the above is really just a compromise.

The sleeping bag style FIR sauna can also be used to treat the soles of the feet. Normally whilst lying in the FIR sauna, the head or soles of the feet are never exposed directly. What may be helpful is to do 5 minutes or so, sitting on a chair, with one's feet inside the sauna, a couple of times a week. This provides part of the effect of Detox Foot Patches, in terms of FIR output and stimulation of acupuncture points on the feet corresponding to different organs of the body (and encouraging release of toxins from these organs) and also opening up the meridians in the legs; but does not provide the negative ions that detox patches do. However, using the sauna in this way may in some cases increase the rate of absorption of the detox foot patches, e.g. 5 - 15 minutes of FIR on the soles of the feet may reduce the amount of time required for the detox patches to be worn each day for a couple of days.

You may also choose to actually lie with your head and neck inside the FIR sauna bag, making sure you can breathe of course, and try perhaps 5 minutes initially and add this to your sauna routine. This could either be achieved by laying on your side, with the back of your head and neck in the folded section of the sauna bag, so that the sauna is in contact with your skull on three sides (e.g. the left side of your head is touching the bottom of the inside of the sauna bag, the right side of your head is touching to top of the inside of the sauna bag). You may need to use a few pillows or cushions under the sauna bag, to keep your neck in line with your spine. Lying like this is probably preferable to lying on your back, as in this case, your eyes (even with eyelids closed) may be subject to too much FIR stimulation. In many cases, there are a number of neurotoxins in the brain itself, which is high in fatty tissue, and as such any FIR treatment on the head should be treated as a normal FIR session according to one's FIR sauna schedule. The throat also contains the thyroid gland, and the back of the neck below the skull contains two lymph nodes, and these are all good glands to detoxify with FIR. Although using the FIR blanket sauna is meant to stimulate the entire body indirectly, targetting the head specifically may well provide more detoxification from the head and neck specifically. The extent of penetration of the skull with FIR is another matter (which is why it is good to combine this type of therapy with phospholid therapy - perhaps it could be determined by brain biopsy (joke!)) Try these alternative methods of usage out and experiment, to see what pattern of sauna usage suits you best. I found that I tended to lose weight quickly (if not doing weight training regularly) when performing 2-3 FIR full body saunas per week. This did not appear to be the case when only performing FIR sauna treatments on my feet.

You may well find that if, for example, you just use the FIR sauna on your feet (i.e. soles of feet) or other parts of the body (excluding the heart), then you may well be able to build up to much more than 45 minutes per day. For example, I initially could only do 15 minutes on his feet, but after a 16 months of FIR sauna usage was able to do several hours a day on his feet, which would not have been possible for a whole body FIR sauna session (as the heart would probably not cope with it!) I found that in the early stages, that the maximum duration of a whole body FIR sauna was roughly the same as the maximum duration of just his feet. Towards the end of my FIR detoxification programme, whilst I respected the amount of FIR that the heart can take, I built up the duration of FIR on his feet up to 5-7 hours a day, when it became totally impractical, whereupon he moved onto other detoxification methods instead for a while (i.e. chelation or EM Stimulating Wrist Bands, etc.) I would not really recommend such extended usage on the feet however. I would also probably not recommend doing this excessive FIR duration with your head either! Experiment and find where your comfortable limits are. Use your common sense. At your own risk.

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Light Beam Generator (LBG)

LBG, also known as Oxygen-Assisted Photon Detoxification (OAPD), is a lymphatic detoxification therapy, using extremely low current, cold gas light photons to transfer energy frequency patterns to cells in the targeted lymphatic regions. Frequency modulation is accomplished using a sweep generator, which sweeps all frequencies from 0Hz (through ELF waves, radio waves, microwaves) to visible light wave frequencies. In normal use, a high frequency is used (i.e. visible light frequency). The photons are pulsed at approximately 1 to 1.3 Hz. The photons pass through pressurised oxygen, which is claimed to impart 'oxygen's energetic signature' to the photons. The body utilises those frequencies that are needed. This sounds a little like pseudo-science (and homeopathy) but I can confirm that OAPD really does work. For more information on electromagnetic radiation from cold sources - with frequencies of low visible light (not invisible frequencies such as FIR or below)- see the electromagnetic page. LBG is claimed to work by rebalancing the charge of the cellsÕ electromagnetic field in the lymphatic system, to separate them from each other and their accumulated fluids and waste protein structures (such as artificial hormones found in non-organic meat that accumulate in the body through meat consumption), thus removing blockages in the lymphatic system, improving lympathic circulation efficiency. Please see the Immune System Impairment page for more information on the lymphatic system.

LBG/OAPD can also help to restore electromagnetic balance to cells, restoring any frequencies that may be deficient. The therapy is performed using a device known as Light Beam Generator, which normally has between 4 and 6 probes. The LBG device mst be primed with oxygen from an oxygen cylinder. The probes emit photons and are placed over the lymph nodes on the body, usually in symmetrical pairs (one of each side of the body). The probes can be laid on top of cotton underwear or a cotton shirt (with no print on it) for example, but more layers are probably not a good idea. A typical treatment lasts for 2 hours, and up to 2 treatments can be performed in one day, or 4 treatments on two consecutive days per week. If treatments are recommended for an individual, a minimum of 6 sessions is usual required, up to a maximum of perhaps 12 in extreme cases of lymphatic blockages or electromagnetic deficiencies. If you do intend to have a course of OAPD sessions, make sure that you target the right lymph nodes, especially if you have an enlarged ones (e.g. a back of the neck).

I noticed that adrenal function had significantly improved after 4 sessions to the point where fewer adrenal supplements were required (i.e. one might notice that one cannot sleep unless one reduces the dosage! One may want to review whether one needs to start taking adrenal supplements again further down in one's treatment programme however.) A good and targeted OAPD session feels a little like an acupuncture session, or being treated with negative ions. I did however notice that OAPD did not really do much to reduce the size of a moderately swollen lymph node on the right side of his neck, despite many sessions targeted specifically at the neck lymph nodes. Unlike FIR, the radiation does not heat the body, nor does the treatment release toxins from the tissues across the body to the extent that FIR does (FIR radiation is normally spread over the whole body, rather than targetted at the relevant lymph nodes for an individual). See the Immune System Deficiencies page for more information on the lympathic system. It is best to avoid an OAPD session the day after a PLX injection, as it may leave you feeling excessively tired and with a headache for 24 hours. And it is probably wise to avoid any FIR sauna treatments the day after an OAPD session or sessions.

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LymphStar Pro

LymphStar Pro by Alt Med Services is a type of light therapy device used to stimulate the lymphatic system and to break down physical blockages in it, by passing light through a gas prior to striking the body, in a similar way to LBG/OAPD (as described above). However, it differs in that it does not utilise oxygen, but 'ionised noble gas technology'. Noble gases are those elements that are those relatively unreactive gaseous elements with a complete outer electron shell. It utilises Xenon, Argon and Krypton in a properietary combination within a Pyrex tube. These gases are electrically excited, causing an energy field, or plasma, to emit form the glass tube and onto the skin. The device is said to emit energetic "information" to the body via the harmonics of sound and frequencies of light to the energy field of the cell. The pattern of frequencies used is highly complex and designed to include the minimum of repetition, to provide the broadest spectrum of beneficial EM frequencies to the body. The method has been found to be effective in re-polarising the electrical charge of proteins in the lympathic fluid in order to break down blockages of such proteins where present and restore proper and healthy lymphatic circulation. The LymphStar Pro device is shown below. Alt Med Services also offer an ionising foot bath generation device called a Cygnus Aqua-Cleanse.

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Lustre - Electro Lymphatic Drainage/Therapy (ELT)

Lustre is a light generation device created by a company called Lustre Tech. It is said to utilise cold-gas-ionization technology to produce negatively charged light photons (negative quanta charge). These light photons are set to a specific frequency and are able to penetrate up to 2 inches below the skin into the tissues. The negatively charged photons affect the flow of both blood and lymphatic fluid. Substance P, lactic acid, neurokinins and other substances are claimed to be released from the muscles which subsequently relax, relieving muscle tension and creating more space to allow fluids to flow more freely. It is also said to break congestion of red blood cells and waste protein materials that stick together on account of insufficient negative charge in the membranes of the red blood cells. The treatment is thus intended to restore cell membrane electrical charge. The design seems similar to LymphStar Pro, and it appears to work on the basis of passing light of specific frequencies through an ionised gas inside a 'wand'. Whether this is the same gas mix as LymphStar or not has not been declared by the manufacturer.

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Laser Energetic Detoxification (LED)

LED therapy works on the basis of shining a laser light beam through a homeopathic substance (to be detoxified from the body) which then stimulates the body's ability to detoxify that particular substance. The type of substance that is an issue can be determined kinesiologically. This method is reputed to be successful for the detoxification of sulphur-based antibiotics, benzene, zylene, toluene, gasoline and pesticides, for example. It can also be used to stimulate the immune system to help assist in the elimination of bacterial infections, for example, lyme disease. Laser Energetic Detoxification (aka LED) should not be confused with Light Emitting Diode (LED)!

Dr W. Lee Cowden, MD is a lecturer in a variety of disciplines including applied kinesiology (muscle testing) and has authored a number of books. He also developed the Laser Energetic Detoxification (LED) method. He is currently based in Chandler, near Phoenix, Arizona. He runs the Academy of Bio-Energetic and Integrative Medicine (ABEIM), which runs a variety of related seminars nationally as well as internationally.

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Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

LLLT is used in conjunction with a variety of therapies such as acupuncture and physiotherapy for sports injury rehabilitation. LLLT can use a variety of frequencies depending on what the purpose of the treatment is.

LLLT tends to use red light at the very edge of the normal visible spectrum. The wavelength is typically around 655nm, or 0.655 micrometres (microns), as per the RadiantLife LT nasal LLLT device. Infrared spectrum does not start until around 700-750nm. LLLT does not penetrate very far into the tissues or skin, compared with far infrared (FIR) radiation, which is why applications tend to focus on surface muscles or the nasal passages. In the latter application, a 665nm red laser LED is inserted up the nose and clipped onto the side of the nose to hold it in place. Here, blood vessels are within easy reach of the laser light which can then condition the red blood cells to hopefully promote more efficient oxygen transport. A RadiantLife LT session lasts 25 minutes and is suggested for use twice a day, although users may wish to use the device less frequently perhaps in combination with other therapies. One may want to build up to 25 minutes over a period of weeks or months as it may be too much initially (causing headaches or palpitations).

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Other Electromagnetic Stimulation:

We have examined above how electromagnetic radiation based therapies, such as FIR saunas, can play an extremely important part in a detoxification programme. There are other techniques for simulating the body's electromagnetic field. This include those magnetic products that stimulate the body's own electromagnetic field. These come in a variety of forms such as magnetic wrist bands, Teslar (pulsed) bracelets/watches, and unidirectional magnetic fields such as that found in a magnetic sleep pad. Whilst sounding rather strange, they can be very powerful detoxification tools, at least as powerful as FIR saunas. Detailed information on how such electromagnetic therapies work and detoxification tips is available on the Electromagnetic Therapies page.

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Foot Detox Patches and Tourmaline:

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Foot Detox Patches

Detoxification patches (applied to the foot) were developed by Japanese scientists and work on the principle of using reflexology points on the foot to detoxify varies organs or groups of organs or body parts. The patches are attached to the underside of each foot with an adhesive pad. They help to improve circulation and to remove toxins from the lympathic system. A patch is required on each foot and are usually positioned on the instep of the foot, although the position is varied according to where the most toxins are being drawn from (which corresponding organs). The patch absorbs moisure and may turn from a white colour to a brown or black colour after use. So you can actually see how much absorption is occurring, and when the process has been completed (in as far as the respective targetted organs releasing as many toxins as they are able/willing to into the lymphatic fluid using this method of stimulation). When detoxing is complete (with the patches) they no longer become damp and brown, but stay dry and white. The patch may be worn longways or sideways, but longways may provide the greatest coverage for the largest number of organs. The duration of usage varies from 6-12 hours (or until extremely damp) depending on the supplier's recommendations and they are usually worn at night, under a pair of socks. Patches are usually worn on successive nights until the patches no longer show any discolouration. Some users may find that they cannot sleep very well whilst wearing the patches, so may elect to wear the patches during the daytime, in which case, additional microporous tape may (or may not) be required to hold the patch in place properly for the duration of its use (applied slightly loosely as to not constrict the foot during normal motion). In addition, if patches are worn during the day, then by the nature of the fact that the user is walking on them, depending on where the patch is placed, the contents of the patch may not remain completely evenly distributed within the patch itself, resulting in a slightly smaller surface area of the foot receiving treatment, and on occasion feeling 'lumpy' and uncomfortable. This will of course vary according to the patch manufacturer and the wearer's habits. The patches seem to increase Qi circulation somewhat which may be felt in the legs many hours after removing the patches and may help to raise one's energy levels slightly also. It is a good idea to clean the feet prior to use each day. It is also wise to wash the feet thoroughly after removing the patches for the day, and dispose of the patches hygienically. One may also consider exfoliating excessive dead skin etc if this has built up over time at the start of a detox foot patch regime.

Using microporous tape to fix the patches onto the foot may only be necessary when worn on the heel in particular or sometimes on the ball of the foot, when being worn during the day. If the rate of absorption varies from day to day, you may find it useful to peel the patch up every few hours to have a 'peek' at how much has been absorbed, and taking them off and washing your feet once all white patches have disappeared from the middle of the patch and the 'goo' has started to come onto the edge of the adhesive pad.

Two pictures of Champney's (now Serenity)'s Detox Patches being prepared for use are shown below.

A picture of Champneys (aka Serenity)' Detox Patches after use is shown below.

The ingredients of the patches varies, but may include wood vinegar (a distilled compound from tree sap), Tourmaline (a semi-precious stone), Pearl Stone, Highly Purified Silica, Chitosan (extract from exoskeleton from lobster/crab/shrimp - usually only hundredths of a gram), Polyolic Alcohol, Starch, Mugwort Extract, etc.

The wood vinegar is dried and is a powerful absorbant. Tourmaline emits a warming, far infrared (FIR) radiation and negatively charged ions. These two ingredients appear to be common to most detox foot patches, however the amount and purity in each patch will of course vary according to supplier and brand. When the patch is placed in contact with the sole of the foot, the warming effect of the FIR radiation stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation, and also opens up the pores on the skin (in contact with the patch), causing more perspiration. The lymph system beings to move toxins to the patches where the some of fluid is claimed to be absorbed. The negative ions stimulate the reflexology meridian points on the foot resulting in the targeted organs releasing stored toxins into the lymphatic system. The negative ions are also said to stimulate the production of serotonin. The body usually only transports a small quantity of toxins to the entire surface of the skin (via sweat) relative to those eliminated by the liver and kidneys. The excess lymphatic fluid is eliminated via sweat and absorbed by the detox foot patches. This fluid contains toxins. The brown or black colouration of the patches is a result of them absorbing liquid and it is the colour of the contents of the patch becoming damp. It is not necessarily indicative of the colour of the toxins. The toxins are likely invisible to the eye within the sweat. If you were to pour water onto a patch, it would likely go brown. However, the body tends not to release so much lymphatic fluid when the lymph is circulating properly and does not contain too many toxins. The organs also do not release more into the lymph once they are cleansed.

Tourmaline is sometimes embedded into clothing or used in jewelry, to provide an energising effect from the negative ions released and absorbed by the body. This is discussed at the end of this section on foot detox patches.

Beneficial effects of negative ions (as emitted by detox foot patches) are documented in a variety of research papers and studies. Negative ions seem to stimulate the nervous system and also may have an anti-oxidative effect.

Detox foot patches do seem to work very well indeed. I have trialled a variety of different brands, and so far I have found the Serenity (formerly branded by Champneys), Bodytox, Patch-It! and Detoku brands to be the most effective (probably in that order). They are not as powerful as using an FIR sauna by any means (in terms of FIR emission), but can be used as a beneficial accompaniment to a detox programme. There are many different types and brands, and some are very cheap indeed, and good for the money, but tend to have correspondingly less filling in each patch. This may result in not enough absorptive capability and excess sweat and fluid leaking out of the patch and onto your socks.

Bodytox offer 2 types of foot detox patches, 'Detox Foot Patches' and 'Detox Warm Patches'. The ingredients are slightly different in both, but they are both designed to emit FIR radiation and negative ions, and absorb excess lymph. The warm patches differ in that they are designed to stimulate circulation in the feet to assist in alleviating the symptoms of cold feet. However, whilst I was quite happy with the Detox Foot Patches, I was less convinced by the Detox Warm Patches. The Detox Warm Patches perhaps worked too well, as they felt like I was wearing red chili peppers on his feet after 3-4 hours to the point where it almost became unbearable. This is a shame as the patches can take much longer to actually absorb as much lymph as they are able to, sometimes up to 12 hours. I do not personally recommend the Detox Warm Patches.

Certain brands of detox patch do no contain chitosan (i.e. are 'vegetarian'), for example, 7, Patch-It! or HealthyDirect Detox Patches. One is however not supposed to eat the patch (!), so whether it can really be called vegan or vegetarian is another matter; and some may view a lobster as a lower life form than a large mammal such as a cow that is used to make leather shoes worn by many people who do not eat beef. This is clearly a personal decision. Those with an allergy to shellfish are unlikely to have any adverse reaction (e.g. slight skin rash in the covered area on the foot) with detox patches that contain chitosan.

Patch-It! detox patches are somewhat different to all the others I have tried, in that they seem to stop working after 7 hours or when the patches are moist, whereas the other patches seem to keep going and get gooier and gooier until fluid starts to leak out of the sides etc. In addition, they do not produce a goo as such, but the absorbent filling merely becomes moist, its appearance not changing that markedly the more is absorbed, and so it is hard to determine just how much absorption has actually taken place and when they should be removed. My evaluation is subjective, and suggests that those who are interested in using them try a few different brands for themselves. I have an associate who tried the same top brands and she believed that Serenity/Champneys patches were the best overall also.

Additional patches can be worn on other areas of the body (not instead of on the feet) to generate heat and increase healing at injury sites. Please follow the manufacturers instructions. Detox patches are not to be worn over broken skin.

If one's feet become cold, then one may notice that the level of secretion of lymph from the body (i.e. the amount or rate at which the patches absorb) declines. If your feet are cold (in relative terms), then you may just wish to either warm your feet up by wearing more socks or simply wear the patches for longer each day. Similarly, secretion may be greater whilst awake rather than if worn whilst one is asleep, on account of greater circulation to the extremities and an increase in one's pulse and metabolic rate etc. As a general rule, patches should be worn until the 'goo' starts to leak out of the side and onto the adhesive pads, which may be 6-8 hours or may be shorter or longer. Over time, one will find that the rate of absorption of toxins into the patch (if repeatedly worn on the same place on the feet) slows down gradually, and if the position of the patches is changed, fast secretion may well resume again. When one has got to the point where hardly any toxins are released from anywhere on the sole of the feet, then one has finished detoxing using the patches. Wearing more than one pair of patches on your feet can be done, but is probably not advisable as it may over excite your nervous system, and cause problems for you when trying to get to sleep at night.

The amount of toxins that the patches absorb may be increased if additional FIR treatments are used concurrently. For example, if FIR Sauna treatments are used, if a detox patch is worn on the same day, it will tend to absorb slightly more toxins and be much damper, but this of course depends on the individual. There is no reason why you cannot use an FIR sauna every other day and wear detox foot patches every day, until your detoxing is complete. Some manufacturers recommend 5 days on and 2 days off for detox foot patches. Others recommend every day use until all toxins are eliminated. This may take a few days or maybe a few years depending on the individual. For those with CFS or related conditions, it is likely to take at least a few months if not years using this method alone. I highly recommend that people try a reputable brand of detox foot patches, as a brief trial at the minimum.

You may find that when wearing detox patches on different parts of the feet, if you wear the patch close to your toes, then you may towards the end of the time you wear the patch that day that 'goo' may leak out of the sides of the patch and make the area around your toes moist. If worn in such a manner regularly, they may potentially encourage a condition like athlete's foot. You may thus wish to keep the patches sufficiently away from the toes during use, and stick to all the other areas of the foot for everyday use.

You may find it useful to keep a daily record of detox patch usage, and marking down each day that you wear a pair of patches. Alternatively, if you record the date when you first started wearing them, assuming that you use them every day, then this could suffice also. You may wish to keep a note of the part of the foot used and the number of days of patches on each area.

Some research data on detox foot patches can be found at the web site below.

The BodyTox, Patch-It! and Detoku brands of detox food patches have been medically approved by the FDA. Approximately 15 million detox food patches have been sold in the South East Asian market up to 2006. Most appear to be manufactured in South Korea.

Some people might argue that foot detox patches are a big con, and that they simply absorb sweat and go brown, and there is little detoxification benefit nor evidence of actually detoxifying specific organs or parts of the body. Whilst detox patches do indeed become damp and go brown when they absorb sweat, lymph or even water, for some bizarre reason beyond my understanding, they only seem to absorb the lymph from the body part they have targetted. For example, if one places a detox patch on the sole of one's foot, and one has been using the patches on this part of the foot for some months, the patches will gradually absorb less and less toxins from the corresponding body parts and start to develop white/dry patches. However, if one is then the move the patch slightly, so that it covers an area corresponding to organs/areas that have not been detoxified before, then instead of the whole patch going brown, only that part of the patch corresponding to those organs actually goes brown. Presumably if all the patch was doing was absorbing lymph or sweat, then the whole patch would go brown. However, this is not the case. There are of course various other ways of quantifying the detoxification process, including blood tests, urine tests and hair analysis tests which can be conducted during the detoxification process to measure how much progress is actually being made. However, the reliability of such data is in question if one is engaging in multiple detoxification protocols simultaneously, as one cannot then assess individually which protocols are more effective than others. One could engage in one protocol at a time, but there is little benefit in dragging the process too much longer than is necessary. One has to use one's common sense.

I had been using foot detox patches pretty solidly for 2.5 years, between January 2007 until June 2009, using a total of 856 pairs! This equates to a total cost of £1835 if buying patches at a discount! I started off with 200 pairs of patches in the middle of the foot, and as the patches gradually absorbed less fluid from this area, he wore them alternate days on the ball of the foot and the heel of the foot. I wore them during the day as I found that I could not sleep after the first few hours of putting the patches on. Clearly this meant frequent foot washing; and also soiling many pairs of socks, which were more or less ok after washing each time. At the time of finishing, the detox patches were still absorbing fluid from each part of the foot, slightly less so from the middle of the foot. There was more absorption in the winter than the summer. I could have continued but felt that I really couldn't be bothered. As to whether it is an effective detoxification method is hard to say, as I was during 2007 and 2008 detoxing heavily using other methods concurrently. As a detoxification method then I would not rate it as the best method by any means - or indeed a method to be used in isolation. However, even after 2.5 years I still liked the negative ion emissions (and also the FIR emissions) from the Tourmaline in the foot patches, as this continued to stimulate my nervous system. However, this is certainly not the cheapest way to achieve this! And a number of chunky pieces of tourmaline jewelry could be purchased at a fraction of the cost. Whilst wearing jewelry has similar effects in certain respects, it does not work on the reflexology points on the foot like detox foot patches claim to do, does not absorb toxins in the same way (with the except of Ki Flow jewelry, and do not feel as intense as the foot patches. However, the jewelry can be worn around the clock if required, whereas the patches are only worn for 6-12 hours at a time, although the after effect of tingling on the soles of the feet may continue for may hours after the patches have been removed. Clearly each individual has different detoxification requirements and variable levels of detoxification efficiency, but I do feel the manufacturers' claims are heavily exaggerated.

So all in all, I don't regret using the detox foot patches for so long, although I wish I hadn't paid quite so much for them. I could also potentially have gained main of the same benefits from other technologies including placing my feet on flat quartz or other crystals (if sat at a desk, for instance), or using an FIR Sauna or getting more sunlight (for significantly higher exposure to FIR radiation). If they did actually do any detoxification, it would have been indirect via stimulating the endocrine system and blood circulation, but probably little more. Tourmaline jewelry is discussed below.

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Tourmaline Jewelry:

Tourmaline, one of the key ingredients of foot detox patches, is sometimes embedded into clothing or used in jewelry, to provide an energising effect from the negative ions released and absorbed by the body. It is an inexpensive mineral (crystal) and the main cost of beads is the actual manual labour than the raw material cost. The more finely polished and shaped the beads are, in general, the more expensive they are. Part of the cost is also how fancy the necklace is. Jewelry varies in terms of actual mass of tourmaline used. Tourmaline comes in a variety of colours, including black for a more manly look (!) There are other types of mineral than also emit negative ions, including Amethyst. You can purchase these minerals or crystals on a famous auction web site or at your local jewelry or 'crystal' store.

Ki Flow are manufacturers of tourmaline and zeolite jewelry, two minerals which ground up and mixed together produce approximately 8x more negative ions than tourmaline does on its own. They have some research to prove this on their web site. Rather than produce intolerably powerful pieces of jewelry, they have elected to simply use a small amount of this mineral mixture instead, inside a silicone porous tube, allowing the jewelry to be extremely lightweight. The zeolite component of the tourmaline/zeolite powder inside can absorb toxins (and dirt) and over time they tend to darken and need replacing. It is estimated they last for 1-2 years. Of course, whilst pieces of Tourmaline can be strung together as a bracelet or necklace, such a Tourmaline/Zeolite mixture needs to be kept in a housing, and Ki Flow achieve this by using a Silicone rubber perforated tubing. The zeolite in the bracelet or necklace tends to absorb toxins over time and the bracelet becomes darker, and is normally discarded after up to 12 months of use (if worn daily).

I have tried a few different types of necklace, one with black tourmaline, and another with amethyst, sodalite, hematite and clear quartz. He found both to be beneficial, improving circulation and resulting in a tingling in my legs and the soles of my feet (not unlike wearing a foot detox patch). I did however find that when used in combination, e.g. wearing two necklaces together (i.e. in the same place), or wearing a foot detox patch on the ball of the foot (corresponding to the upper body), the amount of stimulation was too much and I felt slightly strange and could not sleep. Removing one piece of crystal containing jewelry or the foot patches caused this sensation and these symptoms to gradually subside. I also found that when at the limits of detoxification capability (from chelation or phospholipid therapy - i.e. experiencing a headache etc.), adding a crystal necklace made the over-detoxification symptoms worse and they continued to intensify until the necklace was removed.

With tourmaline or other crystal jewelry, depending on the number and size of stones on the piece, there is likely to be more of a detoxifying effect (negative ions and FIR) than there is with foot detox patches. This should be noted when wearing other EM field stimulating devices, such as Teslar or Magnetic Wrist bands, or when using FIR saunas, or when undergoing chelation as mentioned above. In terms of cost effectiveness, they are also much better value than foot detox patches, as it is a one off purchase, versus a regular purchase for foot detox patches, which can mount up to thousands of pounds if used daily for a number of years!

One consideration for Foot Detox Patches vs Tourmaline or Amethyst Jewelry, other than cost and logistics, are the properties of the crystal over time. One can speculate as to why such crystals emit negative ions and FIR radiation, and according to the law of conservation of energy, cannot do so indefinitely. Whether this emission is therefore 'fuelled' in any way by absorbing light (radiation), heat or otherwise from the environment, I cannot say. Some people believe that crystals need to be 'cleaned' every week ideally, by placing them outside on some soil, grass or rocks/stones (preferably not on concrete or tarmac etc.) overnight or for 24 hours. One can similarly immerse them in sea salt over night. This is said to 'clean' them by absorbing the energy that themselves have absorbed from the environment, in particular the wearer who is in close proximity to the jewelry on a regular basis. Some say this works on a similar basis to bio-energy healing, as discussed on the Energetic Therapies page, drawing out 'bad energy' from the body. By the same logic, it is considered by some to be useful to have large crystals around the house to 'absorb negative energy' and indeed when one has received a piece of crystal jewelry, one may want to 'wash' it prior to use as it may have absorbed 'energy' from the manufacturer's employees who have handled it. Whether you believe this to be true or not, and if it is one step too far into 'new age hocus pocus', you can try it and feel if it makes any difference or not. I am not aware of any research into the FIR and Negative Ion emissions of crystals before and after such treatment and most people who believe in such ideas tend to accept it on faith and experience rather than subject the notion to scientific analysis. This is not a consideration for Foot Detox Patches which are disposed of each day.

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Centrophenoxine (CPH) / Meclofenoxate HCl:

Meclofenoxate Hydrochloride, also known as Lucidril or Centrophenoxine (CPH), is a nootropic drug used to successfully treat a wide range of diseases and psychoneurologic disorders, including Senile Dementia and Alzeheimer's Disease. It is also believed to be a useful anti-ageing, life extension and memory enhancing drug and extended life spans have been demonstrated in mice and fruit flies treated with CPH. The anti-ageing properties are largely due to the drug's ability to detoxify the cells of excessive Lipofuscin accumulation, which prevents proper intracellular functioning and communication and greatly accelerates the ageing of cells. CPH also enhances mitochondrial activity in the brain, including associated brain glucose and oxygen uptake and CO2 production. It also increases neuron RNA and protein production (which tend to decline with age).

CPH was first developed in 1959 at the French National Scientific Research Centre. It has been studied extensively since the 1970s. CPH is an ester of the Neurotransmitter precursor DMAE (Dimethylethanolamine) and also pCPA (4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid). DMAE is a precursor (and metabolite) of Choline, which is used to make the Neurotransmitter Acetylcholine (Ach), and also the essential brain and nervous system lipids Phosphatidyl Choline and also Sphingomyelin. Increased Ach levels can help with focus, memory and learning (if levels are low to start with). DMAE is produced in the nervous system, but is also found in high relative concentrations in fish. pCPA is a synthetic version of the group of plant hormones known as Auxins. It is reputed to directly stimulate the activity of DNA and RNA.

CPH is absorbed well orally. After absorption, a small percentage is broken down by the liver to yield DMAE and pCPA. The DMAE is methylated by the liver to Choline. The pCPA stimulates RNA and protein production (as Auxins do in plants) except in humans it is stimulated in the neurons. The Choline and action of the pCPA both help to increase the repair of synapses.

The remainder of the CPH is circulated in the bloodstream, and accumulates especially in the heart and brain. Here the CPH removes Lipofuscin from the cells, the cellular debris and pigment waste that tends to accumulate in cells with age, particularly in the area of cellular membranes. This can result in improved cellular and membrane hydration and function. Cellular dehydration is believed to be one of the factors in the premature ageing. It is also claimed to help remove liver spots (brown spots) that tend to form on the skin with age. Studies on ageing rats revealed that CPH was a highly effective agent a removing Lipofuscin, reducing Lipofuscin levels in the brain by 28-42% in 8 weeks of CPH treatment. Pharmacokinetic studies also reveal that much higher levels of DMAE are found in the brain after CPH supplementation compared with supplementation with DMAE which does not so readily cross the Blood-Brain-Barrier. CPH can also help to increase the activity of Acetylcholinestase (AChE) enzymes, which are responsible for the breakdown of Acetylcholine. The cholinergic system tends to decline with age.

'Professor Zs-Navy himself became involved in research to find substances that could aid in the removal of lipofuscin deposits and improve cellular lipidity and communication. The development was Centrophenoxine (Lucidril ¨) which is perhaps the most efficient substance currently available; (interestingly, Professor Zs-Navy is currently working on an analogue). Other substances that have shown an ability to remove lipofuscin include DMAE and the amino-acids Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Carnosine. Possible side effects include nausea or mild dizziness. High dosages may cause jaw clenching. It is contraindicated for use in those with high blood pressure or convulsive disorders such as Epilepsy.'

The Membrane Hypothesis of Aging bulletin by Prof. Imre. Zs.-Nagy can be read at the link below.

One supplier of Centrophenoxine is Profound Products. This comes in a jar of 60 tablets, of 250mg. This brand muscle tested positively on me in October 2010, and is the brand I have continued to use ever since, as the quality seems higher than cheaper alternatives from my experience.

A compilation abstracts from different studies on Centrophenoxine can be found on the Life Extension web site link below.

A typical dosage of CPH is around 250mg twice a day. I have been taking around 250mg twice a day since 2009, which for the large part has been a comfortable dosage. At various points I ceased to take it because it resulted in too much heavy metal mobilisation. Doses should only be increased slowly and under supervision. As part of the CPH is broken down into DMAE, it is possible to have adverse effects from excessive DMAE levels (i.e. neurological toxicity effects such as seeing stars etc.) from taking too much CPH. The amount of CPH required to produce this toxic effect may depend on how low your Ach neurotransmitter levels are. Less acute symptoms of elevated Ach levels can include muscle tension, headache, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and restlessness. Elevated ACh can result in increased Peroxynitrite production and free radical activity, ironically, via Hyper-Excitement of the Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors. CPH in of itself however is non-toxic. CPH use may require additional Choline or Phosphatidyl Choline consumption.

Alternatives to Centrophenoxine as stated above may include the amino acids Acetyl-L-Carnitine, L-Carnosine, the Neurotransmitter precursor DMAE, Ginkgo Biloba and possibly the nootropic drug Piracetam (only demonstrated on rats). These compounds may however not be as effective, although may work well in combination with Centrophenoxine (e.g. Dr Perlmutter's NeuroActives BrainSustain that contains ALC and Ginkgo Biloba). In isolation, they do not also have the stimulating effect on brain efficiency and function that Centrophenoxine has (with the exception of Piracetam). DMAE is a site-specific hydroxyl radical (OHR) scavenger. Piracetam is sometimes used on combination with CPH in order to enhance its effects.

Piracetam consists of 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide and is a cyclic derivative of the Neurotransmitter GABA. I have personally found that it has a more pronounced effect on mental sharpness than CPH, almost to the point of providind a feeling of a 'headrush', at a dosage of 200 to 400mg, which wears off after about 60 minutes. Piracetam does not break down into DMAE but aids to stimulate brain circulation, although is not adaptogenic like Gingko Biloba. I have found that Piracetam is quite harsh on the kidneys, comparable to EDTA in this respect. There are analogues to Piracetam available, as well as different classes of nootropics, that are more potent, that I have not yet tried.

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Example of a Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse/Flush:

The example of a liver and gallbladder cleanse below is based broadly on that described by Andreas Moritz in his book 'From the Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush'. This has been included for information purposes only. There are many other types of liver and gallbladder cleanses and some may be equally as effective. Andreas Moritz has authored a number of other relevant books such as 'Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation'. For further information, please purchase the book. It is important to follow a gallbladder flush to the letter, and to ensure that you have all the required ingredients before starting. Failure to follow the procedure properly may result in becoming very nauseous or in the worst case scenario having to go to hospital to have gallstones surgically removed from your billiary tubes if they get stuck and are not flushed out properly.

It may not be possible to flush out all the gallstones/mineral deposits from the gallbladder in one go, so an additional gallbladder cleanse may be necessary. It is generally a good idea to leave 6 weeks between cleanses to allow the stones to build up a little, to create more pressure for when they are blasted out during the next cleanse. A gallbladder cleanse will most likely deplete your energy levels greatly, in addition to the colonic hydrotherapy which accompanies it. This procedure is likelyt to impact your energy levels in the short term. Repeated colonic hydrotherapy and/or gallbladder cleanses over a number of months (e.g. more than 2) are not recommended as it will likely greatly impact the CFS patient's energy levels.

A point worth remembering is that those with an impaired digestive system, perhaps most people trying this cleanse, that betaine HCl (the dose you normally take with a meal) and digestive enzyme capsules should also be taken together with the cleansing mixture (fruit juice with olive oil). Otherwise the cleansing mixture has a tendency to remain in your stomach all night undigested and make you feel slightly nauseous during the early hours of the morning, which is highly unpleasant. If necessary, depending on how sensitive your stomach is and how little stomach acid you produce, you may want to take some additional betaine HCl and digestive enzymes during the night. You will know when you have taken too much by the sensation of heartburn. You may also want to take Betaine HCl with the glasses of epsom salts, see how you get on.

Suppliers of epsom salts and malic acid supplements can be found on the links page. Epsom salts can also be purchased at a dispensing chemist.

Another Variant of the Gallbladder Flush can be found below. It is based on Dr Richard Schulze's method. I have not personally tried this and cannot vouch for it.

Dr Richard Schulze's Liver/Gallbladder and Kidney/Bladder cleanses, and indeed other Kidney/Bladder cleanses, are described in the Detoxification Diets section below.

Another variant is the coffee enema. This is perhaps less fatiguing than the above, which involves the absorption of caffeine directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the filtering of the liver, to stimulate the liver from the outside, the increase the gallbladder's output. It may be accompanied by taking Calcium Magnesium Butyrate for a few days beforehand, to provide the liver with enough calories to burn to function faster during the actual coffee enema. Butyrate is the produced in the colon by the fermentation of soluble fibre by good bacteria under normal circumstances.

Herbs can be used to cleanse the gallbladder and to dissolve gallstones. Hydrangea root and Gravel root described below can also be used to dissolve gallstones. Gravel root may be somewhat harsh on the liver. One may debate whether it is preferable to blast out the stones as described above rather than slowly dissolve them and introduce the dissolved toxins contained therein into the GI tract slowly over time where they can be reabsorbed. Reabsorption cannot be ruled out during a traditional gallbladder flush however but the transit time of the stones in the GI tract is usually short and many but not all of the toxins are within the matrix of the softened stones. Peppermint leaf, cramp bark, wild yam root, fennel seed, barberry bark, ginger root and catnip leaf can all be used to cleanse the gallbladder.

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Kidney Stone Elimination:

Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. Most kidney stones pass out of the body with any intervention. However some do not and require treatment. Some individuals may be more prone to developing/forming kidney stones for genetic reasons, but on the whole it is dependent on diet and a high 'oxalate' intake (e.g. chocolate, rhubarb, spinach, wheat germ, tea etc.) One of the most important things is to drink enough water so that one is drinking enough water and not consuming too high dissolved mineral concentrations (e.g. excessive supplementation) or consuming too much oxalate.

There are of course medical procedures for removing kidney stones, but what we are proposing here is to remove them naturally, using highly effective herbs, as a first point of call, before cutting up the body unnecessarily.

A number of different methods for kidney flushes are described on CureZone also describes two teas which help to dissolve kidney stones:

- Melon seed tea
- Celery seed tea

These are produced from crushed seeds (in a mortar and pestle). For example, melon seeds can be taken from each melon you eat, and rinsed/cleaned, dried and stored; and crushed in a small mortar and pestle as and when you wish to prepare each cup of tea. Please note that melon seeds can be extremely difficult to crush - as I found out - even with a heavy duty mortar and pestle. One can however purchase pre-crushed celery seeds, although this may be regarded as 'cheating' and the packet should no doubt be well sealed in between uses. I personally find crushed celery seed tea somewhat disgusting, but is isn't that big a deal! They are quite acidic though in a tea or tincture. I have not tried all of the methods for kidney flushes and dissolving kidney stones on and so cannot vouch for them as yet, but will update this section accordingly in the future.

According to Dr Richard Schulze, the key herbs used by Schulze that help to dissolve kidney stones are:

- Hydrangea root / Hortensia root
- Gravel root (Eupatorium purpureum)

These will also help to dissolve gallbladder stones or gallstones, although some may wish to 'blast' these out rather than slowly dissolve them, as dissolving them will also dissolve the toxins contained therein and increase chances of their reabsorption in the GI tract.

Hydrangea is actually a genus of 70-75 different individual species, rather than a particular species itself. One species commonly used is Hydrangea arborescens. Hydrangea root is a diuretic, but is also a very powerful stimulant of the GI tract, more powerful than a laxative, and classed as a cathartic. Be cautious in your dosages of Hydrangea root or it may result in diarrhea. Hydrangea root is not recommended for long term usage, which should not be the case anyway with a kidney cleanse.

Gravel root has many beneficial qualities, including anti-inflammatory properties, but also contains hepatotoxins and decreases blood supply to certain liver cells, and may exacerbate liver problems/disease and is also known to cause stomach pains.

Certain herbs, commonly used to dissolve Kidney Stones, such as Hydrangea Root and Gravel Root, also appear to have chelating qualities from my experience. Taking significant quantities of these herbs, in addition to one's normal chelation dosage of another chelant product or herb can result in over-detoxification symptoms.

Other herbs for removing kidney and gallstones include:

- Stone breaker leaf (Phyllanthus niruri)
- Burdock seed

The chelating agent EDTA can also be of use to dissolve kidney and gallstones, as it tends to bond with valency 2 metals, both nutritional metals like Calcium and also heavy metals, but it does strain the kidneys somewhat.

According to Schulze, a number of herbs and plant extracts may also help to help 'flush' the kidneys. Many of these herbs are simply diuretics to promote more urination and also anti-bacterial herbs. These are listed below.

- Uva Ursi leaf
- Arctostaphylos uva ursi
- Juniper berries
- Juniperus communis
- Corn silk
- Zea mays
- Horsetail herb
- Equisetum arvense
- Burdock root and seed
- Arctium lappa
- Parsley leaf and root
- Petroselinum crispum
- Pipsissewa leaf
- Chimaphilla umbellata tops
- Goldenrod flower tops
- Solidago virgaurea

An example of a product containing all of the above herbs is Dr Schulze's Kidney/Bladder Formula). Please note that this herbal tincture and tea is used as part of a Kidney Flush programme to ensure maximum benefit. However, the Hydrangea Root and Gravel root can of course be purchased separately as a dry herb or in tincture form, from a number of organic herb suppliers, and used not necessarily as part of a formal 'Kidney Flush programme'.

Kidney/Bladder Formula

Kidney/Bladder Tea

Ojibway Tea herb powder (aka Essiac tea - after Rene Caisse who treated and cured cancer patients in the 1930s and 40s using it) contains Sheep Sorrel, Burdock Root (mentioned above), Slippery Elm and Turkey/Indian Rhubarb).

Dr Joseph Mercola adds some additional herbs to the list for treating acute incidences of kidney stones. Most of these are diuretics:

- Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
- Cleavers (Galium aparine)
- Crampbark (Viburnum opulus)
- Khella (Ammi visnagi)
- Stone root (Collinsonia canadensis)
- Seven barks (Hydrangea aborescens) - mentioned above

Potassium Citrate is more frequently used to treat kidney stones, although this is probably partly due to the citric acid, and partly due to the alkaline properties, which help in the prevention of growth or formation of kidney stones (kidney stones tend to form in acidic urinary environments).

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Fluoride Elimination:

How does one remove Fluoride from the blood, tissues and bones? Well the first thing to do is to stop taking in Fluoride, from toothpaste or drinking water (if applicable) etc. Fluoride blood and tissue levels SHOULD drop off fairly quickly, but if not, one can perhaps consider ensuring one's Calcium and Boron levels are sufficiently high (not in the low range) so that there are plenty of cations to bind with the Fluoride for removal from the body. Calcium carbonate or calcium rich foods can be consumed. Boron can also be supplemented, and is found in some Calcium/Bone growth supplements, and in dedicated supplements such as chelated Boron (bound to an amino acid for easy absorption). Some practitioners recommend Steam saunas and exercise, and indeed any activity that generates sweating (!)

Toxic cations, i.e. positive ions, can be removed from the body with chelators, as is discussed on the Detoxification page. Toxic (inorganic) anions are not usually so difficult to remove from the body, but certain anions like Sulphites and Fluorides etc. are toxic and may have severe effects on the endocrine system and nervous system, amongst other effects, depending on concentration.

Some practitioners recommend Borax, a.k.a. Disodium Tetraborate (a salt of boric acid) - a mineral salt containing Boron. It is commonly used in detergents. I have no personal experience of this and cannot comment on the appropriateness of its usage. The article 'Clinical Experience with Inorganic Non-radioactive Iodine/Iodide' by David Brownstein, M.D. can be read at the link below. 94.7% of 500 of his patients tested (various conditions) were deficient in inorganic iodine. He also found a link between hypothyroidism, breast diseases and low iodine levels. In addition, he found that supplementing with iodine increased the rate of excretion of toxic halides of Bromide and Fluoride, as well as Mercury (actually chelating out Mercury from the tissues). The proliferation of fluoride and bromide intake from oral sources appears to inhibit the update of iodine from our diet.

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Skin Cleansing:

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Bentonite Clay Bath

Bentonite clay, whilst described above for internal use, can also be used for external use.

Bentonite clay can be used in the bath. This can help to absorb toxins present in the outermost layer of the skin. Remember that the skin is the largest organ of the body and is one of the body's natural pathways for detoxification. So, if you are undergoing a detoxification programme, it is useful to cleanse the skin of toxins on a regular basis. Gently heap 2 or 3 ounces (70-100g) of Bentonite Clay onto the top of the hot/warm bath water and wait for it to sink to the bottom (perhaps 5-10 minutes). Then mix thoroughly and bathe as usual. Your bath water will take on a slightly dark, milky appearance. This isn't that much more expensive than buying those bubble bath fizzy balls and is so much better for your skin! Make sure you shower down afterwards and rinse away all the clay residue from your bath tub. Please note that using bentonite in a bath requires considerably more than you would use in a P & B Shake and may exhaust your supply quickly. Probably the optimum length of time for a soak in a mild clay bath is 30-60 minutes. Make sure you rinse and wash yourself down thoroughly afterwards, as Bentonite clay may clog up the pores in your skin and prevent the skin from 'breathing'. Some people find that if they have such a bath too late in the evening (e.g. much after 6pm), then they are unable to get to sleep later that night. However, this may well vary from individual to individual. If one does not have a bath tub, one can try using a foot bath instead, although clearly the surface area of skin being cleansed is hugely less.

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'Mud' Pack

An alternative to a clay bath is to apply a clay paste (mud pack) to the skin. Because the clay is much more concentrated when applied to the skin in this way than when in a bath, it may provide a great detoxification benefit. Take a bowl of filtered water and add enough clay chunks (an external clay is recommended, see below) so that the water level just covers all the chunks. Leave for a couple of hours and it is ready for use. You may find it a little cold to apply. You can make it using freshly boiled water instead, in which case you probably need slightly less water volume to make the right consistency paste, and by the time it has cooled down to luke warm it is ready for use and application. If you are using a fine internal clay, then sprinkle it on the top of the water and leave it to settle overnight. Rinse yourself off in the shower (so that your whole naked body is wet). Then take the bowl into the shower with you. Scoop up small amounts of thick clay at a time and apply to the skin. Cover your whole body, including your face, ears and scalp. If you are confident about your balance, you can apply to the soles of your feet as well, although this may make things a little slippery, so proceed with caution and stand with a wide shoulder width stance. Once applied, stand in the shower for at least 20 minutes. During this period of standing you may find that certain parts of your body dry, in which case take a little more clay or water from the bowl and apply/rub in to those dry areas. Occasionally you can massage the clay around your body. You could try listening to some music or doing some breathing exercises if you get bored. Afterwards, rinse off with warm water using a massaging or rubbing action to make sure all the clay comes off. You may indeed make quite a mess in your shower cabinet, so taking a brush in there and using the shower to rinse/scrub it off the walls should only take 5 minutes or so. Don't trip over the glass bowl on your way out of the shower. Remember the clay pack in the shower does not have to be a solo activity and can be enjoyed with your husband, wife or partner. Remember, detoxification can be fun!! You may find that if you spent too long with a clay pack on or if you do it too late in the day, you may have trouble sleeping. Try it first thing in the morning and limiting the time initially and see how it goes. Whether it is the act of cleansing the skin and stimulating the body, or the negatively charged anions that stimulate the nervous system and adrenal glands (like other minerals like tourmaline or zeolite that emit negative ions), I am not certain.

There are a number of detoxifying clays available on the market, for example, Argiletz clays (montmorillonite or green clays). The purity of clays varies very greatly. The actual chemical composition also varies greatly also. Typically the cheaper clays are for external use only, and are of much lower purity than clays for internal use, and may contain grit and the occasional stone or rock! External clays often come in hard chunks, and do not have to be crushed prior to use. They can simply be placed into bath water or in a bowl of water (if being applied as a mud pack) to soak and crumble apart. Be sure to rinse off afterwards, as you may well get thick silt in your ears and eyes. Only certain clays of high purity are really optimal for internal use (i.e. eating/drinking), typically containing the cations calcium, magnesium and sodium in specific proportions. These come in the form of a very fine dry clay powder. You may elect to use a cheaper clay for external use and the more expensive bentonite (montmorillonite) clay for internal use. Having said that, when you have a clay bath you may require two to three times more of a cheaper, external clay compared to how much of a pure, internal clay. The cost for either type however is quite small in the grand scale of things.

Suppliers of bentonite clay can be found on the links page.

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Skin Exfoliation

You may find it useful to use an exfoliating pad or glove (for example sisal natural fibre glove) to scrub the skin, whilst in the shower for example, which will help detoxing via the skin. Brush towards the heart. Continue to scrub a given area until it feels slightly sore (temporarily) or until it goes a little pink colour (whichever comes first). Start from the feet and work your way up the body - first scrub the soles of the feet, then the whole foot, the ankles, the calves, thighs, then stomach and buttocks, chest, then your back (strokes moving upwards and towards the heart. Go slightly easier on the breasts. The nipples don't require scrubbing and are more sensitive than the rest of the skin. Next scrub your arms, starting from your hands and working up to your shoulders (i.e. towards the heart). Finally, scrub the head, ears, throat and neck. Skin scrubbing/exfoliation is best performed with dry skin, as wet skin is more likely to stretch. A good rub down with a pair of exfoliating gloves is also a form of tip to toe massage. Perhaps have a wash and shower after the skin scrubbing exercise. Don't forget to rinse off your exfoliating pad or gloves after use. It is best to dedicate one set of exfoliating gloves or a scrubbing pad per person. You may not wish to do this every day, but maybe once or twice a week. Find a rhythm that suits you. Above is an example of a pair of abrasive, exfoliating gloves that I picked up at his local Holland and Barrett store. You may want to clean the gloves periodically as they will become greasy and slightly smelly. Always dry out before use.

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Skin Brushing

An alternative to skin scrubbing as described above is gentle skin brushing. This is probably not particularly effective if at all at exfoliation, but is primarily a lymphatic circulation stimulating exercise. This can be performed with a gentle brush, with a long handle. Natural fibres are preferable. As above, brush strokes should be performed towards the heart (to encourage it to pumped around). This can be performed up to twice a day and helps to stimulate your lymphatic system as well as help to remove excess dead skin. You may want to avoid the nipples as they can become quite sore if brushed daily (the same problem long distance runners sometimes have with their T-shirt or vest rubbing against their nipples repeatedly - very uncomfortable - cured by putting a plaster over each nipple!) There is no need to brush the face. Ideally, take a shower after skin brushing.

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Himalayan Crystal Salt Bath

Not strictly related to bentonite clay, but Himalayan Crystal Salt can be used in a bath to assist in detoxification of the skin through osmosis. 1 to 2lbs of the rock salt is placed into warm water, and once dissolved, one should bath in the water for 30 minutes maximum (using no soap or shampoo). Allow the skin to dry naturally and rest for 30-60 minutes afterwards. On account of the large amount of Himalayan Crystal Salt required, this is however MUCH more expensive than using bentonite or other clays as described above.

For information relating to Skin Elasticity and the Fountain of Youth, please see that section on the Effects of Toxicity page.

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MSM Bath

According to William Rasmussen in his book 'Lead Detoxification Naturally', MSM can be used externally as well as internally. MSM baths can be used to assist in Lead detoxification, in place of using clays like Bentonite in the bath, or Bentonite or other clay packs on the body. MSM is not however able to bind with organic toxins like clays are. Rasmussen writes that MSM has such a strong affinity for Lead, and is able to penetrate into the pores and outer layer of skin where it may come into contact with lead-carrying blood and lymphatic fluid. Here it binds with Lead. Lead-bound MSM is unable to cross cellular membranes easily as the molecule is very large, so the pathway for excretion from the skin is through sweating. This is why it is important to use quite hot water in the bath (or foot bath), to encourage sweating, or to at least take a hot shower afterwards to build up the sweating process again. Rasmussen discourages prolonged use of such a bath, when the temperature becomes too cool to allow sweating, as Lead-bound MSM may be trapped in the skin. Usually 20-30 minutes is optimal and after that it becomes counterproductive. One can get around this problem potentially if one wants longer in the bath or foot bath by adding more hot water. It is likely that some MSM is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and tissues with an MSM bath, and this may cause potentially adverse detoxification side effects in some individuals through heavy metal mobilisation (according to Andy Cutler, who opposes MSM supplementation. Rasmussen states that 2 tablespoons of MSM is sufficient for either a full bath or a foot bath. Rasmussen mentions using such a bath 2-3 times week. One example of a large capacity source of MSM is Jarrow Formula's MSM Sulfur Powder (1lb/454g - also comes in 2.2lbs/1kg size), which is relatively inexpensive if obtained from the USA. Other sources of MSM include horse feed suppliers. Alternative sources of Sulphur-containing minerals can be used, instead of MSM, including sulphur mineral concentrates from natural sulphur springs (more expensive than using MSM).

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Other Detoxification Methods:

Below are described some other methods for detoxification, some of which I have personally tried. They are listed for completeness, but in my experience and personal opinion are not of that great interest (in relative terms). They may not be as effective as the techniques mentioned above, in isolation, but may perhaps supplement the procedures described above. However, please feel free to come to your own conclusions.

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