Mercury and Autism Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is Mercury Poisoning related to Autism?
In their paper "Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning" Bernard et. al, http://www.autism.com/triggers/vaccine/mercurylong.htm have revealed a startling similarity in the symptoms of Autism and Mercury Poisoning. While this may sound frightening, it actually shines a bright ray of hope into the lives of families living with an autistic child. Why? Because mercury poisoning can be cured.
Q: Who is Andy Cutler?
Andy Cutler is a Ph.D. chemist who found himself sick with mercury poisoning and figured out how to get well. He wrote a book called "Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and treatment" It sells for $35 and you can order it directly from his web site: http://hometown.aol.com/noamalgam Andy spends many hours answering questions on our list, and he always tells it like it is—no bull.
Q: Who is Dr. Amy?
Dr. Amy Holmes is an M.D. in Louisiana who is working with parents of many autistic children to help them chelate mercury and other toxic metals from their children. Dr. Amy used to be an oncologist. She retired to raise her infant son, only to find out that he has autism. Now she has gone back to work to help her son and others' children. Dr. Amy has a website: http://www.healing-arts.org/children/holmes.htm that describes the mercury problem and her treatment protocol. Licensing laws prohibit Dr. Amy from consulting with people who are not her patients. However, your doctor may call Dr. Amy at (225)767-7433 to consult with her or receive a faxed copy of her protocol.
Q: How dangerous is mercury?
Very. Mercury is the second most toxic element on earth, second only to plutonium. The amount of mercury found in one mercury thermometer is enough to pollute a small lake. Mercury toxicity has been linked to a large number of diseases, including arthritis, altzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, learning disabilities and ADHD.
Q: How could my child have become mercury poisoned?
Many parents believe the major culprit to be thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines and other medications. Thimerosal is 50% mercury by weight. In October 1998, the FDA banned the use of thimerosal in over the counter medications, but it is still used in most vaccines. Since multiple vaccines are often given on the same day, the amount of mercury injected into a typical infant exceeds the EPA's "safe" limits. Before the FDA ban, mercury had been added to eye drops, contact lens preparations, nasal sprays, contraceptive creams, hemmhoroid creams, lubricating gels, allergy injections, and antiseptics such as Mercurochrome® and merthiolate.
There are many other common sources for mercury exposure. Here's a short list:
It is important to note that mercury present in a mother's body is passed to her baby through the placenta, and later, through breast milk. See: "Mercury from maternal "silver" tooth fillings in sheep and human breast milk. A source of neonatal exposure." By Vimy, Hooper and King
Q: But my dentist told me that dental amalgam is perfectly safe.
The presence of mercury in dental amalgams is a very controversial subject. Despite the fact that dental amaglam xontains 50% mercury, the American Dental Association's official position is that dental amalgam is safe, and that mercury does not pose a health risk. However, numerous research studies show that dental amalgams are a major source of mercury toxicity. Because of the ADA's position, your dentist risks losing his license if he tells you that mercury is dangerous, no matter what he personally believes.
Q: If mercury poisoning is caused by vaccines, then why don't aren't all kids mercury toxic?
Sensitivity to mercury varies widely from person to person, as does the body's natural ability to detoxify. Some children can get rid of the mercury quickly, while in others, the toxin remains in the body longer, allowing it time to bind tightly in the brain and other organs.
Q: How can I find out if my child has mercury poisoning?
Dr. Amy Holmes lists a number of useful medical tests on her website: http://www.healing-arts.org/children/holmes.htm A trace minerals analysis, or hair test, is an inexpensive, non-invasive and reasonably accurate test for determining the body's burden of mercury and other heavy metals. Doctor's Data (708/231-3649) is a great source for obtaining this test. Keep in mind that mercury may be so tightly bound in the body's organs that it doesn't show up in large amounts in the hair test. Instead of looking at mercury by itself, it is necessary to look at all of the elements and to apply the "counting rules" (posted in files) to determine if mercury is present.
Q: OK, I'm convinced my child is mercury toxic. What do I do now?
If your child has dental amalgams, you will need to find a mercury-free dentist who can replace the silver amalgam fillings with some other material. Next, you should try to find a doctor who can help with chelation. Keep in mind that most regular allopathic doctors are not familiar with mercury toxicity. You don't have to go to a regular MD. "Alternative" doctors such as osteopaths, naturopaths, homeopaths and chiropractors may be able to help you obtain chelating agents and monitor your child's health during the process. You don't have to have a doctor to chelate, but it is a very good idea.
Q: What are chelating agents?
Chelating agents are compounds with two or more binding groups for certain metals combined into one molecule. Chelating agents for mercury are DMPS(2,3 dimercaptopropanesulfonate sodium), DMSA(2,3 meso DiMercaptoSuccinic Acid. Generic name: Succimer. Trade name: Chemet) and LA (alpha-lipoic acid). DMPS has been approved for bulk distribution by compounding pharmacies and is excellent for removing mercury from the body (but not the brain) if it is used properly. Unfortunately many physicians use it and other chelating agents improperly, and like any drug these can be extremely dangerous when not used right. DMSA is a prescription medication which has been approved by the FDA for lead-poisoning in children. It also works well for mercury. DMSA removes mercury from everywhere in the body except the brain, because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. Alpha-lipoic acid(LA) is an over-the-counter supplement which has been found to effectively chelate mercury. Unlike DMSA and DMPS, LA will cross the blood-brain barrier, and so it can move mercury out of or into the brain. LA should not be used if there has been recent mercury exposure (within 3 months) or if your child has high copper levels, since LA reduces copper excretion.
Q: What is the proper dosage and administration schedule for DMSA and LA?
The dosage is less important than the administration schedule. If you remember nothing else about this FAQ, remember this: DMSA or LA must be given in small, frequent doses (every 3-4 hours, even at night) over several days to be effective. Infrequent dosage will just stir up the mercury and redistribute it in the body, making your child sicker. For DMSA or LA, start with 1/8 to ½ mg. per pound of child. If giving LA by itself, give it every 3 hours. DMSA is given every 4 hours. DMSA + LA should be given every 3 hours. DMPS alone should be given every 8 hours. Chelation should be done in cycles of at 3 to 7 days on the chelator, followed by at least as many days off as a rest period. Many parents find it convenient to chelate on weekends, starting when the child gets home from school and stopping on Monday morning, with weekdays as rest days. With the schedule, sleep is only interrupted on weekends and parents don't have to depend on school employees to give the medicine.
Q: I've started chelating and my child is having bad side effects. What can I do?
Some side effects that listmembers have reported include increased urination, redness of the face and extremities, rash, heartburn, and diarrhea. Your child may also show an increase in autistic symptoms (may become more "stimmy" or show more oppositional behavior). If the side effects are severe or difficult to deal with, stop the cycle and allow a rest time, then start the next cycle with a lower dosage. You may also want to try a shorter chelation cycle, with a larger rest period in between.
Q: I've made an appointment for a hair test and I'm trying to find a doctor to help me chelate. Is there anything I can do right now?
Yes—you can begin supplementation. There are many dietary supplements that can help your child to feel better now, and during the chelation process. Here are some important ones:
Take these 4 times a day: Vitamin B
complex, Vitamin C, and Milk Thistle extract
Q: My doctor says that my child is not mercury toxic because his blood and urine mercury levels are "within normal limits." What do you think?
Most MDs are more familiar with lead poisoning than mercury poisoning. Blood and urine tests are the standard for measuring lead, but these tests are inadequate for mercury. This is because once mercury enters the body, it very quickly leaves the bloodstream and accumulates in the internal organs. Therefore, urine and blood tests will only show mercury if the person has been exposed to a large amount of mercury very recently. Chronic long-term exposure (amalgams) or old exposure (vaccines) will not show up with these tests. A better way to test for mercury is the above-mentioned hair elements test.
Q: My alternative doctor wants to do a DMPS challenge test. Is this safe?
No. DMPS challenge tests and IV chelation with DMPS can be very dangerous—see www.dmpsbackfire.com. A challenge test is when a doctor administers a large amount of chelator in a single dose, and then tests the urine for metals. Challenge tests in general aren't useful for diagnosing mercury toxicity because everyone has some mercury in them, and DMPS (or DMSA) will mobilize it. If DMPS is to be used, it should be administered orally, every 8 hours. And no one should take a chelator of any kind if they have dental amalgam fillings. Some doctors suggest doing the same sort of challenge test using a large oral dose of DMSA, or will suggest treatment with infrequent doses of chelator (once a day or every other day) This is also dangerous. Chelators should always be given in frequent, small doses (every 3-4 hours for DMSA, every 8 hours for DMPS).
Q: I've heard that glutathione, chlorella, cilantro, cysteine, MSM, NAC, garlic, and saunas will chelate naturally, and that the natural way is better. Is this true?
Don't assume that because something is "natural," that it is necessarily better. As Andy has reminded us, strychnine and botulism are natural, and deadly. That said, some natural remedies are excellent. LA is a natural supplement available at health food stores, and it has been found to be a good chelator for mercury and arsenic.You have to read about and study each one so that you have some idea what you are giving your child. All of these remedies have been discussed on the list, and some of our listmembers swear by them. You are encouraged to inform yourself and make up your own mind. But here's what Andy and Amy say about them: Glutathione – Andy: "Glutathione is not a chelator. Supplemental glutathione itself is of very little value since your gut should digest it. If your gut is not digesting it you will soon start taking other things to MAKE your gut digest it because letting undigested things like glutathione into your bloodstream will soon cause major allergy problems." Chlorella—Andy: "While there is little in press that shows chlorella to be harmful, there are multitudinous observations of real people which show that. All you have to do is ask around. Chlorella is simply another "sulfur food." It is very harmful to people who are high in sulfur." "Dr. Klinghardt, is the one that popularized DMPS injections and DMSA every other day, the first and second most dangerous mercury treatment protocols. Now he is on to chlorella, which is also very dangerous. I know several people who took it per his protocol and suffered permanent neurological damage as a result." Cilantro—Andy: "There is some superstition that cilantro helps, and it really may, but it isn't clear how to use it." And this from Dr. Amy Holmes—"Cilantro. Untested. A few reports that it MAY cross the blood-brain barrier and chelate mercury, but no data. Please bear in mind that no one knows what the ingredient in cilantro is that MAY do this. Is every cilantro equal? Who knows? I don't see how one could possibly be even somewhat sure that you are keeping a relatively steady blood level of THE INGREDIENT when we don't know what THE INGREDIENT is or if all cilantro has the same amount of it. And if anything in mercury chelation is more important, I can't think of it."
Cysteine—Not a chelator. Andy: "Don't give cysteine/cystine or sources of it during ALA chelation unless you definitively know the child has low plasma levels of cysteine (not low-ish, definitively abnormally low)."Dr. Amy: "I think we are much better off leaving glutathione, MSM, cysteine, etc. supplements alone. They cause many more problems than they can fix in an untested person. MSM—Not a chelator.Andy: "The more I hear about MSM the more I suggest people avoid it. I keep getting random negative reports." And "It is an exceptionally bad idea to use MSM, cysteine, NAC or glutathione with LA since LA naturally increases your body's cysteine and glutathione levels." NAC—This is a supplement which will cause the body to produce more glutathione. Andy: "Neither NAC nor glutathione remove any mercury from the brain - but they do make whatever mercury is there a lot more toxic if administered in excessive amounts." Garlic—Not a chelator, but posters say it's great for pinworms. Saunas—Andy: "Sauna has been used to detox mercury miners since time immemorial - when they get too messed up, they go to the sauna during work hours instead of into the mineshaft." "Sweating does indeed increase mercury excretion. Probably an hour or two of sauna is the same as 50 mg of DMSA every 4 hours for a day." Note: Posters urged caution with saunas because mercury toxic people are often heat sensitive.
Q: I've gotten back the hair test results for my child, and it shows he has high levels of other metals besides mercury. What should I do?
Generally, you remove the other metals first. High levels of lead, copper, arsenic, antimony or aluminum can cause symptoms similar to mercury poisoning. If your child has high levels of several metals, he is likely very sick. Test again in three months. Recommendations for chelating other metals: Lead: Use DMSA, but follow the protocol for mercury in case mercury is present as well. Administer every 3-4 hours for several days, then rest for the same number of days, etc. Arsenic: LA works very well for arsenic. Chelate using mercury protocol (every 3 hours, with on/off cycles). Antimony: Use SAMe, 5 mg a day per pound of kid in divided doses. Or you can use the "poor man's methylating mix" of B-12 (100 mcg per pound), folate (10 mcg per pound) and TMG or choline (10-20 mg per pound). Spread these through the day. They may be energizing so you might want to give them in the earlier part of the day. Copper: Copper absorption can be greatly reduced by giving 25 mg zinc + 250 mcg molybdenum 4 times a day, and also by excluding high copper foods from the diet. Nuts, organ meats, shellfish, molasses and sometimes unwashed produce are high. Glycine, taurine and milk thistle extract might help get rid of copper faster. Note: You should not give LA if your child has high copper levels, as LA will drive copper levels higher. Aluminum: Restrict dietary intake. Don't cook in aluminum pans, or drink sodas from aluminum cans. Certain baking powders, antacids and antiperspirants contain aluminum, so be sure to check labels. Cadmium: Zinc may help. Antioxidant supplements help reduce the symptoms of all heavy metal problems.
Q: My child is GFCF. Can I continue the diet?
If it makes your child feel better, then by all means continue. Bernie Windham has written a paper that describes how mercury interferes with the enzyme that is needed to digest gluten and casein. Many people who are mercury toxic are sensitive to food that are high in sulfur, which includes all dairy products. Regarding yeast: Mercury causes damage to the immune system, and a weakened immune system allows yeast, bacteria and and all sorts of other nasties to proliferate in the body. Yeast overgrowth can cause "leaky gut"—a condition in which the lining of the intestine becomes somewhat porous, allowing undigested particles to enter the bloodstream, causing allergic reactions. Mercury toxic individuals often suffer from food allergies. Therefore, a GFCF (gluten and casein-free) diet is probably a good idea before and during chelation. Theoretically, once the mercury is removed, the immune system is restored, and the gut is allowed to heal (this may require antibiotics and/or anti-fungals), the child may be able eat "regular" foods again.
Q: Has anyone actually "cured" their autistic child by chelating them?
The book "Turning Lead Into Gold" describes several cases of children with "autistic tendencies" who improved dramatically after chelation for lead. As of this writing, no one on this list has completely cured their child from mercury poisoning. But it's early yet. Dr. Amy is getting some wonderful results with the children in her practice, and numerous parents have reported improvements in their autistic children with each chelation cycle.
Q: How long does it take to complete chelation ?
Six months to two years, depending on how toxic a person is and how quickly you chelate. Children younger than 8 seem to respond more quickly than older children.
Q: My child has only one amalgam filling, and I can't seem to find a dentist who will agree to replace it. Can't I go ahead and chelate?
Absolutely not. You cannot start chelation if there are any silver amalgam fillings present. The chelator will remove mercury from the filling and deposit it in your child's body, making him even more toxic.
Q: How can I find a mercury-free dentist?
Try the following website:
Be very careful when selecting a dentist. Composite fillings require more skill in placement than amalgam, and the risk for further mercury exposure during amalgam replacement is great. The dentist should follow something similar to the IOAMT protocol: http://mall.turnpike.net/P/PDHA/mercury/iaomt.htm for amalgam removal and replacement.
Information provided by YAHOO E-GROUPS. Please check http://www.yahoo.com or http://www.groups.yahoo.com for more information and updates. NOTE: This is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor for any decisions on diagnosis and treatments.