DMSA is available in a prescription 100 mg dose called Chemet. The FDA removed it as an OTC supplement.
Genova has a great comprehensive Toxic Element Profile (that looks at Lead, Mercury, Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Uranium, and more). Their Toxic Effects Core is also a very nice test which looks into volatile solvents, chlorinated pesticides, PCBs, organophosphates, bisphenol A compounds, phthalates, and parabens.
Step 1: Getting Ready for Detoxification
This process can take a few months, and I can’t stress enough how important this preparation step is. It is accomplished by optimizing your nutritional status and detoxifying ability. Once this is done you will begin mobilizing and binding the metals in your body and excreting them through your urine, bile, stool, and sweat.
Here is what I recommend to my patients.
- Optimize your gut function. Eliminate the common food allergens (dairy, gluten, corn, eggs, etc.), taking probiotics and enzymes for one to two months before detoxifying.
- Optimize your nutritional status for detoxification. Use healthy fats (omega-3 fats, olive oil, and flax oil), amino acids (which boost all your liver’s detoxification capacity), and minerals, particularly zinc and selenium (which help your body detoxify metals).
- Enhance your liver’s detoxification pathways. Take folate and vitamins B12 and B6 and eating sulfur-containing foods such as broccoli, collards, kale, daikon radish, garlic, onions, and omega-3 eggs.
- Start sauna therapy. Make sure you take adequate electrolyte and mineral replacements to prevent dehydration and mineral loss from the sweat.
- Optimize elimination routes for metals including your urine, stool, and sweat. Use fluids, fiber, and saunas.
At this stage you can integrate the following to support your liver detoxification pathways even more:
- Alginate from seaweed (this binds to metal in the gut)
- Selenium, zinc, n-acetylcysteine, lipoic acid, milk thistle, and garlic
- Find a biological dentist to evaluate the extent of your mercury fillings and options for replacing them.
- Get a test to assess your total body load of mercury. This is called a challenge or provocation test. This is done with a doctor’s prescription and under a doctor’s supervision. The easiest and safest way to do this is to take 500 mg of DMPS in one dose first thing in the morning after emptying your bladder, followed by a six-hour urine collection. DMPS is a prescription drug and is not FDA-approved in the US, although it has been approved and used for decades in Europe.
- The other option is to use DMSA, which is FDA-approved. It pulls out a lot less mercury and needs to be taken at a dose of 30 mg/kg for the challenge test. I find this is not as effective to get a true reading on what is in the body.
- Use binding agents to pull the mercury out of your body. There is a lot of controversy about the best way to do this. But after helping people detox from heavy metals for 10 years, I’ve found the safest and most effective treatment is oral DMSA. It is taken as follows: One 100 to 250 mg capsule of DMSA orally three times a day before meals. Take it for three days. Then take 11 days off. Do this for six months. Then recheck your level of mercury through the challenge test.
- Do saunas daily — especially on those days when doing DMSA.
- Consider getting intravenous vitamins and antioxidants for three months while undergoing this process this to administer glutathione, phospholipids, vitamin C, and B vitamins to boost detoxification. This is harder to get, but can help the process work better and help you feel better throughout the process.
- Drink enough filtered water and fluids to make urine clear.
- Make sure you have bowel movements twice a day. This is very important or you will reabsorb mercury from the gut. You can add ground flax seeds to shakes or foods, or take one to two 150-mg magnesium citrate capsules twice a day if you are not going regularly. You can also try even stronger laxatives if you have to such as senna or cascara.
- Consider whey protein to boost glutathione if you are not allergic to dairy.
Dr. Mercola discusses here and here approaches to mercury detox.