Dr. Hyman relates his personal story about having to see multiple specialists about his health collapse and being given prescriptions for depression, fatigue, and low libido - Prozac, Ritalin, Provigil, Ambien, Valium, Advil, and Viagra among others. After working with Jeffrey Bland PhD (at a time when functional medicine didn't exist) and doing extensive Genova testing (and good history and symptom mapping from what he calls - a super-generalist - rather than multiple super-specialists) - the root cause of his health collapse was found to include problems with an imbalanced diet / gut microbiome, MTHFR / glutathione gene mutations, and mercury toxicity. This event and the therapeutic journey he took seems to be what transformed his career from a standard family practice physician into the world-renowned functional medicine physician he is today.
Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. He is a practicing family physician, an eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and has been a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, CNN, The View, the Katie Couric show and The Dr. Oz Show.
His article on how to rid the body of mercury is quite good.
Except: "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.
Step 2: Integrate Additional Steps to Support Detoxification
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
Step 3: The Metal Detoxification Period
Find a biological dentist to evaluate the extent of your mercury fillings and options for replacing them.
This can be done slowly over time, but must be done VERY carefully and only under a trained biological dentist’s supervision to avoid burdening yourself with more mercury during the removal process.
- 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 [it is currently only available at some compounding pharmacies - in Gainesville, Florida WestLab can compound this prescription only medication].
- 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."