Managing mercury toxicity in Functional Medicine.

Managing mercury toxicity in Functional Medicine.

We assess toxic metals in the clinic using a two stage provocation test. It is done using home urine collections. These samples are sent to specialist lab in Kansas for analysis. There is a baseline urine done early in the morning. The patient then takes a chelating agent called meso 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). This is a compounded medication and the dose depends upon the weight of the patient.

DMSA was used to detoxify children exposed to lead so can be used to remove many different toxic metals as well as mercury. It is used for both detection and treatment.

Blood testing for toxic metals is not that helpful. For instance should you chew on a lead pipe the metal will be in the blood for a mere three weeks. Then it lodges in bone. Different metals have predilections for differing body compartments. Another metal that prefers bone, for instance, is strontium. This is why we use DMSA to draw the metals out of the various compartments. Then we can get a better sense of the whole body burden.

Once we know there is a metal problem we have to prepare the body for the work of detoxification. We use a specific diet from the Institute for Functional Medicine. This uses foods that support nutritionally the two phases of detoxification in the liver. These need both to be firing well prior to using the DMSA as a treatment. Liver function tests are done on all the patients so we know if there is a serious problems with this organ in advance.

Phase two of liver detoxification relies on a lot of nutrients found in meat. In most people phase one is firing well but phase two is sluggish. This leads to unstable and potentially damaging compounds between the phases. So eat some steak to support your poor liver.

Sauna

We consider the use of sauna to be an integral part of the process of detoxification. Ideally 5 times a week with a dose of liposomal glutathione about 20 minutes prior. Infra red saunas produce the most sweat so are preferred. Please have a hot shower afterwards as a cold one closes the pores. Wash with a non moisturising soap such as Castille. The towel you use to rub yourself down with must not be reused and put straight into the laundry. Treat it like a contaminated item.

A man relaxing in a Russian steam bath or banya.

In Finland those men who made greatest use of the sauna had a huge reduction in heart disease. More than any supposed block buster drug. The heart can also be damaged by toxic metals.

In the peripolar regions there this usually a tradition of high heat exposure. In North America it was a sweat lodge, in Scandinavia the sauna and across Russia banya. We are originally a creature of the African Savana and have a profound need to sweat.

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