(When Detox is Dangerous – Part 1 of 3)
The Truth About Heavy Metals, Mercury Poisoning, and Mercury
A decade ago, only the “health nuts” were interested in heavy metal detox and cleansing. Still, with volumes of research linking many diseases to toxins, detox has become a household word. Unfortunately, most cleanse and detox products are like the street cleaners you see moving slowly along the street with their big rotating brushes and high-powered vacuums. It looks impressive until you realize that it is only moving dirt and debris to another part of the street. Your next thought is, “This is what my tax dollars are paying for?” The truth is your money is no better spent on the heavy metal cleanse you bought from a local health food store or even your health practitioner. Most of these detox products do nothing, and at best or worst, move the toxins from one place to another in the body. When the dirt and debris get moved around the street and not cleaned-up, it is definitely not dangerous, but it is most definitely dangerous when this occurs in our bodies.
In many past articles and videos, I discuss what I call “True Cellular Detox,” as well as my 5R’s of Cellular Healing and Detox as a road map and a “how-to” for real detox:
- R1 – Removing the Source
- R2 – Regenerating the Cell Membrane
- R3 – Restoring Cellular Energy
- R4 – Reducing Cellular Inflammation
- R5 – Reestablishing Methylation
In this particular article, I do not feel the need to restate the importance of True Cellular Detox and my 5R’s, but take detox to another level and be detox specific to one type of toxin. Certain types of toxins, such as heavy metals, are so difficult to remove from the body that they need to be detoxed much differently than other toxins. My biggest pet peeve in natural heath is how most doctors go about the detox of heavy metals.
Both alternative and allopathic doctors do heavy metal detox wrong, so most heavy metal detox is ineffective and dangerous.
As all detox goes, heavy metal detox can be the most dangerous detox of all. Done correctly, it can be the safest and most rewarding of all. I have watched more people get their lives back from what was considered an unexplainable or irreversible illness with the correct heavy metal detoxification protocol than any other single alternative solution.
How My Life Changed Forever
This is how my life changed. As a matter of fact, the only reason I am so passionate about this topic or have any authority on the topic of heavy metal detox is that I lived it. I have heard some people say you should only go to doctors who have been through what you are going through, and perhaps there is some truth to that. I could never understand what I know if I went to school for 8 more years (and I did). This level of certainty and knowledge can only come from suffering.
I had many silver fillings in my mouth from the time I was young. Due to some needed dental work, I had two of them drilled out (about 6 remained), and gold fillings were put in their place. Even at that time, I knew silver fillings were considered harmful to the body, and gold was considered a better choice, but there was a lot more than I was about to learn. After the fillings were replaced, I became very sick. Unfortunately, it took me three to four years of misery to figure out it was related to the fillings. Silver (amalgam) fillings contain 50% mercury, which vaporizes and cross into your brain, where it bio-accumulates over time.
Studies like the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) amalgam study show that the number of fillings in your mouth is proportional to how much mercury is in your brain1. The studies indicate that this highly toxic heavy metal significantly impacts the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, located in the brain, bio-accumulating most mercury. The hypothalamus and pituitary are the master glands that control all hormones and endocrine glands, like our thyroid and adrenals. Therefore when the control tower is impacted by mercury toxicity, a dramatic cascading effect is observed in the entire hormonal system causing hormone dysregulation. When our hormones are not speaking clearly to our body, it affects our sex drive, fertility, how we feel, sleep, think, adapt to stress, our energy levels, and even weight loss or gain.
Tragic to Catastrophic: Galvanism and Mouth Metals
Removing my two mercury amalgam fillings was a tragic decision that changed my life forever. However, replacing them with gold fillings while having mercury amalgam in my mouth is what I believe to be catastrophic.
Like many others before me, I placed gold fillings in my mouth; it set up what is described as a galvanic reaction (electrical current). The electrical current generated under these circumstances causes the mercury in remaining amalgam fillings to leach out at an alarming rate that would far exceed any Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water or air quality limits several times over. I had four remaining fillings in my mouth. This unknowingly bad decision set up the perfect storm in my mouth for heavy metal poisoning that sent shock waves of both financial and emotional challenges. I thought gold fillings were the best alternative, but no one told me about galvanism.
Studies show that a galvanic reaction can cause the mercury to come out of the fillings 10 times faster than normal2. Mercury amalgam fillings combined with any other metal in the mouth such as a crown, bridge, or retainer will also lead to galvanism and an increase in mercury bioaccumulation, especially in the brain. The electrical current alone causes many unexplainable symptoms like anxiety and brain fog. I had all of that occurring and much more. I had symptoms of a thyroid problem, but my blood work was always normal. All of my other blood work was also normal, which was quite frustrating. Sound familiar? Many of the clients I coach back to health can relate to the hopeless feeling and dread of not knowing the cause. I so badly wanted to find something wrong because then I could fix it.
My fatigue was very debilitating, and it became difficult to work or engage in any normal life activities whatsoever. The worst part was as fatigued as I was during the day, I could not sleep at night. I would typically wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 AM and not get back to sleep. It became worse than just not sleeping. I would wake up with a feeling of dread. I recall my wife asking me what I felt like she saw me crying in a fetal position. All I could either say or explain was that I just felt like I had to cry. It was a feeling of dread that made me not want to live, and believe me; I didn't at times. At the time, I felt I would rather have died than go on living like that. My greatest fear was living the rest of my life as I was; I had no fear of dying, which would be easy for me in those dark times. I know it doesn't sound too manly or “faith-filled,” but this is honestly who I had become while suffering from mercury poisoning. Thank God the feeling of dread was transient and would mostly come at night. There were many other times that I would be having what I consider a “good day,” and then out of nowhere, I would get a feeling of debilitating anxiety. I recall the fear of anticipating what was coming next and when. I didn't have to think of things to worry about; the feeling just came over me.
There were other moments that I was filled with such rage and anger that I feared for my family. A feeling of extreme irritability would emanate from inside of me. A crying baby, a loud noise, or even an action movie would make it worse. As a matter of fact, I couldn't even go to a movie theater because the loud sounds and excitement would cause a feeling of nervousness and anxiety. This also included the stress involved with watching a football game. My body – more specifically my endocrine system and hormones – could not adapt to otherwise enjoyable excitement or stressors.
Almost overnight, I became someone I didn't know, and worse yet, someone my wife and family didn't know. I can say it may have been harder on my wife than myself, or equally difficult, but differently. I could not adapt to any stress whatsoever, emotional or physical. Before I got sick, I was riding my road bike 200+ miles a week and in the best shape of my life. If I walked down the street, I would be left fatigued and wiped out for days. My sleep and anxiety would become worse from the smallest of efforts or stress. I recall a friend saying, “You should just push through it,” as if that’s what he would do. Yeah, right! Don’t you love the advice from others at times? Especially those you expect to understand the most.
As you might imagine, I fell into a deep depression. I didn't want to be around people, nor could I, because I started to notice that I would react to fragrances such as perfumes and fabric softeners. If it wasn't certain chemicals causing bizarre symptoms like brain fog, dizziness, headaches, tingling, twitching, or irritability, everything I ate now caused discomfort and symptoms. I became intolerant to most foods. I would get bloated after some or develop constipation or diarrhea with others. After eating almost any food at all, I would be wiped out and more symptomatic. As hard as I tried, I could not figure it out. I thought it was this food or that; however, at one point, I realized that food avoidance wasn't the answer. There had to be something causing it all.
Your Adrenals and Thyroid Are NOT Far Enough Up-Stream to Regain Health
I knew it was something up-stream that was the problem. My inability to sleep, adapt to stress, and control my body temperature gave me a clue that my endocrine system was at least a part of the problem. The thyroid and the adrenal glands make up a major part of the endocrine system. However, it’s the pituitary and hypothalamus, as we mentioned, in the center of your brain that controls it all. I knew there was a problem in this part of my brain; I didn't know what the problem was. The frustrating part was that I would get worse or help certain symptoms and then create new ones any time I tried to treat any of these endocrine glands. For example, if I supported my adrenals or thyroid gland, I would have more energy, but I would have more anxiety and sleep worse. Even when I would address the hypothalamus and pituitary (where I knew the problem was), I would get worse, not better. I knew there was still something even further up-stream affecting this part of my brain.[
Mad as a Hatter? The Wrong Mercury and Heavy Metal Test That So Many Take
In my hours of research, when my brain was connected to reality, I came across Mad Hatters Disease and realized I was, in fact, “mad as a hatter.” I had almost every symptom of this historical disease. The term became popular because people who made felt hats, starting in the mid-1800s, became insane with a classic set of symptoms, most of which I had. As it turned out, they all had mercury poisoning. Mercury was used to keeping down the mold population that would infiltrate and ruin the felt hats; consequently, the “mad hatters” were being exposed to mercury every day, leading to their symptoms and, ultimately, their death. This was a more acute (short term) form of mercury toxicity, unlike mine, a chronic (long term) form from my amalgam fillings. Nonetheless, the symptoms were so similar that I went to get a blood test. To my disappointment, the test was negative. I was devastated because I thought I had FINALLY found the answer. I knew there was a cause, and I wasn’t ever going to stop looking for what it was. A life of medication covering up my symptoms as if I were just a mad man was not an option I would ever consider. Believe me; many doctors wanted to put me on medications insinuating it was “all in my head.” They were correct about one thing; the problem was in my head, but the mercury amalgam fillings, leaching neurotoxins into my body and brain, causing the problem, not my sanity.
At this point, I was still unaware that it was, in fact, the fillings in my teeth that were leaching mercury into my brain (most of which was going right into my hypothalamus and pituitary). I started to ask my wife if perhaps I was just crazy. She reminded me of who I was, who God made me, and brought me back to my core belief that something had, in fact, CAUSED this.
God Had Answered My Prayers Through an Insightful Endocrinologist
It wasn't until about a year later that through my research that I had made friends with a very bright endocrinologist who one day said, “Dan, I think you have mercury poisoning.” I told him I thought so too and that I had been tested a year ago, and the results were negative. He asked me what test I did, and I explained it was a blood test. He emphatically told me that I had done the wrong test! He told me that a blood test would only be positive if the mercury poisoning were acute. An example of acute exposure would typically be found in an industrial accident or spill releasing high mercury levels that are breathed or ingested. He stated that I most likely had chronic mercury toxicity. He told me the exact test I needed to run and how to prepare for it. I ran the test immediately, and sure enough, I was off the charts toxic in mercury. My next question was where he thought it came from. He asked if I had any dental work done around the time I got sick. I found my cycling journal where I recorded all of my training and documented how I was feeling. I discovered that the date I got the gold filling in and the two amalgams out was two days before my symptoms began! God had answered my prayers. It was a long three to four years of suffering, but at least I could work toward regaining my life again. I felt empowered with new hope for the first time in years.
It wasn't until I researched how to get the rest of the fillings out of my mouth correctly and the mercury out of my brain that I could get my life back. It is essential to realize that I would have never recovered fully if I didn't get the source removed correctly. This is true for anyone who is struggling to regain health. I am continuously reminding the doctors whom I teach and coach that if a patient is not fully recovering, there is a stressor that has been missed up-stream. Most of the time, it is a neurotoxic source such as mold, a Lyme infection, root canal, cavitation from a previously extracted tooth, or a hidden amalgam filling under a crown. If any of these major stressors remain, you will never FULLY recover despite the perfect diet and health regime. Whatever you do, PLEASE do not start drilling out fillings or removing root canals. There is a safe and proper protocol that we utilize that works not to become worse but better.
All of the information that I preach and teach came out of this pain. God truly does work all things out for good for those who love him and those called according to His purpose. This is paraphrased from Romans 8:28 in the Bible, and my wife would continually remind me of these words. I could not see it at the time, and to be honest, her constant optimism and positive words would anger me. At times I just wanted to feel sorry for myself and give up, but God had other plans, no doubt. When my mind would clear, and I could remove myself from self-pity, I would dig deep in my own rescue. All of the information I learned that would not only save my life but thousands of others, as it turned out, came from so much prayer that I cannot even take credit. I am truly just the messenger.
In the next article, I will be discussing how to do detox right, especially regarding heavy metals. I will be also be discussing the specific dangers and pitfalls that most people make during heavy metal detox.
Detox Article Series:
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- Echeverria, D., Aposhian, H.V., Woods, J.S., Heyer, N.J., Aposhian, M.M., Bittner JR., A.C., Mahurin, R.L., Cianciola, M. Neurobehavioral effects from exposure to dental amalgam Hg: new distinctions between recent exposure and Hg body burden. http://www.fasebj.org/content/12/11/971.long
- Windham, Bernard (Ed). Oral galvanism and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF): factors along with mercury’s high volatility and extreme toxicity in significant exposure levels and oral effects from amalgam fillings. http://www.flcv.com/galv.html