Chelation: oral not very effective, IV causes brain fog

10 Feb

One very common therapy in the Complementary and Altenative Medicine (CAM) world is chelation. It has been very popular amongst DAN doctors and other CAM practitioners in the autism community, largely based on the mistaken ideas that (a) autism symptoms are similar to mercury poisoning and (b) autism is caused by mercury (from vaccines and elsewhere).

I’ll say it here and I’ll repeat it at the end of this piece: any parent who believes his/her child is a victim of heavy metal poisoning should take that child to a medical toxicologist. Find an expert in toxicology. This is not a project to take on yourself and your child deserves the best. Find someone trained and experienced in toxicology. You can search by state or country.

That said, here are two articles I’ve run across recently which reminded me of why people should seek experts. First, the most common oral chelating agent (DMSA, succimer) is not very effective against mercury. Second, IV chelation can result in “brain fog” lasting days.

An NIH Research Matters article titled “Lead Poisoning Treatment Less Effective for Mercury” discusses measurements of blood mercury levels in children in a trial of chelation for high lead levels.

A drug commonly used to treat lead poisoning is relatively ineffective at removing mercury from the blood. The finding provides insight into a compound currently being used as an alternative therapy for autism.

Here are the concluding paragraphs:

A research team led by Dr. Walter Rogan at NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) sought to investigate whether succimer can also remove mercury from the blood. The team used blood samples and data from 767 children, aged 12 to 33 months, who participated in an earlier clinical trial of children who were treated for high blood levels of lead.

The research team measured mercury concentrations in blood samples collected prior to treatment, a week after beginning treatment with succimer or placebo, and again after 3 month-long courses of treatment. The study was funded by NIEHS, NIH’s National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The results appeared online on October 1, 2010, in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The researchers found that, after 1 week, succimer lowered blood concentrations of mercury by 8%. In contrast, it reduced blood lead concentration by 42%. After 5 months, those taking succimer had blood mercury concentrations about 20% lower than the control group. However, the therapy had only slowed the rate at which the children accumulated mercury.

“Succimer is effective for treating children with lead poisoning, but it does not work very well for mercury,” Rogan says. “Although succimer may slow the increase in blood mercury concentrations, such small changes seem unlikely to produce any clinical benefit.”

In an article in Integrative Medicine, Joseph Pizzorno (a leading naturopath) talks about his experience with IV DMPS.

Unfortunately, my first experience with IV DMPS at the normal dosage (250 mg) resulted in significant “brain fog”. I experienced obvious impaired memory and decreased cognitive capacity for several hours (my wife asserts she noticed effects for a full week).

He goes on to tell that even though he believes that overall he is doing better due to lower mercury levels, his team asked him to refrain from IV chelation before meetings. His colleagues were able to see the obvious adverse effects (Dr. Pizzorno refers these as “adverse IV chelation effects”)

I repeat this here: any parent who believes his/her child is a victim of heavy metal poisoning should take that child to a medical toxicologist. Find an expert in toxicology. This is not a project to take on yourself and your child deserves the best. Find someone trained and experienced in toxicology. You can search by state or country.

About these ads

12 Responses to “Chelation: oral not very effective, IV causes brain fog”

  1. Kasey Hyde February 10, 2011 at 18:53 #

    Haven’t seen your posts on FB in a while. This is a great one. My son’s ABA therapist told me that the kids that he sees who get chelation treatments are very hard to deal with. Once they get back to normal – no treatments for a few days/weeks – they are much, much better. I thought of this with the brain fog mentioned in the post.

  2. autiemum February 10, 2011 at 20:08 #

    Why were these children accumulating mercury? Presumably they needed treatment for lead levels in their blood and so were given succimer. The researchers took the opportunity to track the effects on blood mercury levels. The succimer reduced the blood mercury levels but they continued to rise? Am I understanding that correctly? The blood mercury levels must have been below the level necessitating treatment (otherwise the children should have been treated with a proper treatment) but the levels were rising and succimer only slowed the rise. What was going on with these children?

    • Sullivan February 10, 2011 at 20:26 #

      autiemum,

      these kids were being treated for high levels of lead. The mercury measurements were secondary to the primary focus on lead. The blood levels of mercury were not high enough on their own to warrant treatment.

      Blood levels of mercury did drop, just not very fast. Succimer isn’t that effective against mercury and children see a constant exposure.

  3. autiemum February 10, 2011 at 20:57 #

    That’s not quite what it says. To quote “the therapy had only slowed the rate at which the children accumulated mercury.” It was 20% lower than the control group but (see above) still rising

  4. passionlessDrone February 10, 2011 at 22:30 #

    Hi autiemum –

    I thought the same thing. Why were these children accumulating mercury at all? We’d really need to see the original study; maybe the press release, which seems to be widely replicated pretty much verbatim, has something wrong there.

    A summary of the original paper is here, which largely found a lack of effect in the cognitive domain after chelation. :(

    http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/epi/studies/tlc/index.cfm

    But no real details on the participants; it would be very nice to know, for example, if the group that got placebo continued to have increases in lead levels too. (?) Maybe their lead levels higher to start with because they were in an environment with exposure risks that carried alongside risks for mercury.

    It is possible that the children who were getting placebo were under growing detoxification demands as a result of not having their lead levels treated, and as such, accumulated mercury as a byproduct of lead exposure and impaired excretion.

    However in either of these cases, I’d think you’d see cognitive gains from treatment as the placebo group declined due to increasing metal exposure, which they didn’t. Too much press release, too little data.

    – pD

  5. daedalus2u February 11, 2011 at 04:30 #

    Interesting cognitive bias for the naturopath. Everyone around him thinks he is having cognitive difficulties and he thinks he is doing better.

    This is the person that people trust to treat them?

    • Sullivan February 11, 2011 at 04:43 #

      autiemum–sorry about that. You are correct.

      daedalus2u. This particular naturopath founded a college for these practitioners.

  6. autiemum February 11, 2011 at 08:09 #

    “It is possible that the children who were getting placebo were under growing detoxification demands as a result of not having their lead levels treated, and as such, accumulated mercury as a byproduct of lead exposure and impaired excretion.”

    But if their lead levels needed treating they must have been being treated. You can’t ethically leave them untreated because you need a control group. Similarly, if they needed treatment for blood mercury levels (either group) then ethically they must be given it. They can’t be left to suffer so they can be studied.

    The control group must simply have been age, IQ matched children who didn’t need treatment. The only people who needed treatment and the only thing they needed treatment for must have been the children with high blood lead levels because they are the only people treated and that’s the only thing they were treated for. The mercury levels of both must have been inconsequential.

    Researchers are unable to do the research to stop people chelating their kids because the study would damage those taking part. If chelation isn’t clinically indicated (as it isn’t in all those autistic kids who are chelated) then no researcher can chelate them to “see what happens”.

    My guess would be that there is something wrong with the liver (or something else) of the chelated kids and they do not excrete metals which is why they have accumulated the lead and continue to accumulate mercury when the control group do neither.

  7. daedalus2u February 11, 2011 at 15:17 #

    I think this was a reanalysis of archived blood samples taken during a clinical trial for lead. I think this was the clinical trial

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200105103441902

    At the time, it was not known if succimer reduced the adverse effects of lead exposure in children with these lead levels. Later work did show that (in rats) treatment with succimer in the absence of lead poisoning did cause adverse neurological effects, so there is a lead level at which you don’t want to treat because the treatment is worse than the lead is.

    They found that at these blood lead levels there was no improvement of neuropsychiatric functioning so chelation with succimer is not indicated.

  8. John May 29, 2011 at 19:03 #

    Wow. Talk about a shamefully ignorant conclusion!

    In order for mercury to be effectively chelated with DMSA, a FREQUENT-DOSING SCHEDULE is necessary, to maintain relatively-consistent blood levels of the chelator and thus avoid excessive redistribution. Every chelation substance has a half-life within the human organism and Andy Cutler explains this.

    As far as Pizzorno’s IV DMPS experiences…well…DMPS is not immune to the half-life issue and thus needs to be administered at least once every 8 hours in order for redistribution issues not to occur to a significant degree. Consequently, it is no surprise at all that he experienced cognitive issues whilst undergoing isolated doses. I shudder to think how much redistribution must’ve been occurring in his body. See DMPSbackfire.com for more on this.

    I have a lot of respect for Joseph Pizzorno’s contribution to contemporary naturopathy and I’m frankly surprised he does not know about the half-life of chelation substances and the aforementioned necessity to accommodate these through the implementation of a frequent-dosing schedule.

  9. Mickie Roller May 23, 2012 at 14:22 #

    Read my website. I believe it’s mercury fillings. Thanks.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Chelation: oral not very effective, IV causes brain fog « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com - February 10, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev and jamie davis, Alltop Autism. Alltop Autism said: Chelation: oral not very effective, IV causes brain fog http://bit.ly/hEnWfJ [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,033 other followers

%d bloggers like this: