The Mercury Detoxification Manual: A Guide to Mercury Chelation
By Rebecca Rust Lee and Andrew Hall Cutler
Andy Cutler Publishing
Do you have brain fog? How about anxiety, insomnia, depression or panic attacks? Are you so forgetful that you’re afraid you’re accidentally going to set your house on fire? Have you been diagnosed with a degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s? If you can relate to any of these symptoms, or if you have a medical file over an inch thick with no solutions in sight, you should pick up The Mercury Detoxification Manual. This succinct guide is for those who suspect that they are mercury-toxic and are looking for a way to detox. The book lays out clearly the symptoms of mercury toxicity, how to proceed with chelation and the pitfalls to avoid along the way.
There are myriad symptoms that point to mercury poisoning—over two hundred fifty, in fact. Symptoms of toxicity may involve neurological, renal, respiratory, cardiovascular, hepatic, reproductive and immune system conditions. Because mercury toxicity presents in all these different ways, it’s no wonder that many doctors overlook it as an obvious reason why so many are sick.
Much of the world’s population has been exposed to mercury. Amalgam (“silver”) fillings—50 percent mercury—are the number-one source of exposure, off-gassing into the mouth and body over time. A second source is the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal. In the U.S., multidose flu shots (and some tetanus-diphtheria vaccines) contain up to twenty-five micrograms of thimerosal per dose, and U.S. vaccine makers also use thimerosal in the manufacturing process; around the world, millions of doses of thimerosal-containing vaccines are still in routine use. A third source contributing to our toxic load of mercury are pollutants in our environment—including compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and fluorescent lightbulbs that have not been disposed of properly.
Many people promise “ the” answer to mercury chelation, but the Andy Cutler Chelation (ACC) protocol stands apart, both in its approach and in the great success that many of its adherents have experienced. Dr. Cutler laid out the science behind mercury toxicity and described his chelation protocol in his first book, Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment. However, even the most diligent health-seekers—let alone those struggling with mercury toxicity—sometimes found the comprehensive tome (written in extensive scientific detail) overwhelming. Cutler and Rebecca Rust Lee went on to write The Mercury Detoxification Manual t o m ake t he i nformation c learer and more accessible. (Unfortunately, Dr. Cutler passed away before the manual was published. Rust Lee explains in the foreword that his death was unrelated to chelation.)
The ACC protocol is a method of frequent low-dose chelation. It centers around the premise that chelation is most effective when working according to the chelating agent’s half-life— “the time it takes for the concentration of a substance to fall to half its original value.” In other words, when chelating, we must keep in mind that the chelator only works for a fixed period of time. When the chelator attaches to a mercury molecule and begins escorting it through the bloodstream for excretion, at some point its strength fades; then, a follow-up chelator must pick up the “baton” (the mercury molecule) and continue the process.
Other chelation protocols often simply move mercury from one place in the body to another, making patients sicker and leaving them convinced that chelation just doesn’t work for them. Working according to the chelator’s half-life is a response to this dilemma. Rather than stirring mercury up in the body only to have it resettle elsewhere, the ACC protocol ensures that mercury is picked up and escorted out of the body altogether.
The ACC protocol recommends choosing from among the following chelators: DMPS (dimercapto-propane sulfonate), DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid) or ALA (alpha-lipoic acid)—all of which are available over the counter. (This is another feature that sets ACC apart from other chelation protocols; the ACC protocol only uses supplements that are readily available to all from any distributor.) Each of these chelators works slightly differently. For example, DMPS must be taken every six to eight hours, whereas DMSA is every four hours and ALA every three hours. ALA is the most important chelator as it is the only one that removes mercury from the brain.
Cutler and Rust Lee emphasize how critical it is to follow the chelation protocol exactly. The pattern of dosing with ALA, for example, is to take the chelator every three hours for seventy-two hours, followed by four days off. This translates to three days on, four days off. This schedule allows the body time to recover between rounds. The idea is to go slowly to avoid causing more damage to the body. (Mercury has done enough of that already.)
Whichever chelator is chosen, it is important to keep in mind that “slow and steady wins the race.” Chelation is a marathon, not a sprint. Not only is it advisable to give the body a break during the process (using the “on round/ off round” schedule just mentioned), but the protocol encourages each person to take their time before increasing the dosage of the chelator. Dosages are increased by half after several asymptomatic rounds.
The idea is to start the chelator at a low dosage that the body can tolerate (often 12.5-25 mgs or so) and to slowly move up to 200 mgs over the course of months or even years. The first dosage is a trial of sorts to see how the body handles it. Once an individual is able to chelate at the highest dosage, without any presenting symptoms, they are likely mercury-free.
Several steps are required before even starting the ACC protocol. The first is to ensure an amalgam-free mouth (no silver fillings or even specks). If a person has silver fillings, it is best to have them removed carefully by a holistic or biological dentist who understands the risks of mercury vapor exposure and follows the proper protocol to protect the patient.
It is also important to support the body with supplements before beginning chelation and to continue to support the body throughout the chelation process. The “core four” supplements are magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. This is critical because mercury interferes with mineral transport in the body. Magnesium and zinc are often deficient among those who are mercury-toxic. Vitamin C and vitamin E are needed to help protect against the oxidative damage that comes with a heavy load of mercury toxicity. Almost everyone will need adrenal and liver support as well. Other supplements may be needed depending on the individual’s symptoms.
The Mercury Detoxification Manual goes over all of these how-to’s in a direct, no-nonsense manner, with helpful tables, figures and graphics and straightforward chapter headings and sub-headings like, “Dental Work: The Biggest Hurdle,” “The Ins and Outs of Chelation,” “Supplements Never, Ever to Take” and “How Long Does This Take?” Throughout the book, symbols indicate pitfalls to avoid and key points that deserve extra attention. The manual also includes dietary recommendations, emphasizing the importance of eating a nourishing organic diet in a chapter titled “Diet: What You Eat Has a Huge Impact on How You Feel.” In addition, and importantly, the two authors warn readers about which foods and supplements to avoid during chelation. This includes staying away from cilantro and chlorella—despite their reputation as “natural chelators”— and not taking glutathione during chelation.
Because chelation is such a controversial topic, and because Cutler and Rust Lee wanted to emphasize that there are no guarantees that the protocol outlined will be successful with every individual, the book begins with a disclaimer. Here is my disclaimer: I offered to review this book because I am convinced of the efficacy of the ACC protocol for detoxing mercury. I have a friend who was depressed and nearly suicidal. Following the ACC guidelines, she has had a dramatic turnaround. Thanks to careful chelation, her depression has lifted, as have any thoughts of self-harm. She feels hopeful and her life has purpose. This is one of many reasons I highly endorse the ACC protocol. I believe it is the safest and most scientific approach to chelation. This manual outlines the protocol with clarity, and I wholeheartedly give it a thumbs up.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2019