Heavy Metal Detoxification in the Treatment of ASD
Heavy Metal Detoxification, (also known as Chelation), is the process of taking a medication that has a strong binding affinity for toxic metals in the body. Once the medication is in the bloodstream, it seeks out the metal and binds to it very tightly.
Research has shown that for most affected people, Autism is a result of a complex interaction between genetic sensitivity to toxins, type of toxic exposure, amount of toxic exposure, and the timing of the toxic exposure at a critical window during brain development. Research has shown that people on the autistic spectrum are not good excreters of toxins (especially mercury) – they are poor detoxifiers. Autism has been called a “mercury efflux” disorder. All of us are exposed to toxins, but some people are genetically better at detoxifying them than others. For example, if 100 people smoke the same number of cigarettes over a period of time, they do not all get cancer – some get cancer, some get heart disease, some get emphysema, and some only get wrinkles and bad breath. The same individual variety of responses is true of all toxins, including mercury. Not everyone who is exposed to it at the critical age becomes autistic. In treating this problem, avoidance of further exposure to toxic metals is very important – such as not eating seafood, or putting amalgam (silver) fillings into teeth. If you have questions about this, please discuss with one of our practitioners.
For additional information about detoxifying heavy metals, please click here.
In my opinion, there are no true natural chelators. There are natural agents that can help the body detoxify (such as methyl B12 and Glutathione), and there are natural substances that have an affinity for loose metals, but they are not true chelators.
Natural substances like Chlorella and Cilantro have a history of being recommended for detoxification. The problem with agents like this, is that they grow in water or soil that may be contaminated, and have the potential to actually introduce toxic metals to the body. One study showed that Organic Cilantro sold at a natural health food store contained high levels of lead – which it had pulled from the soil it was grown in. Organic just means that it was grown without pesticides – it does not mean that the soil is free from toxins. Many natural herbal agents also contain toxins – even if the company says that it is safe.
Many new natural products come on the market each year claiming to chelate heavy metals, but none have actually proven that they do it. A popular new supplement is made from volcanic rock, and claims to be a nanocolloidal detoxification agent. The world’s leading mercury researcher – Dr. Boyd Haley – tested this product and found that when it was added to mercury in a test tube, it did not bind to the mercury. It may function similarly to activated charcoal capsules and bind to loose toxins in the gut, but it is very unlikely that it is pulling bound metals from tissue storage sites. A research study is being done to evaluate this product. If it is found to actually be effective, then I will consider recommending it.
I find that children with autism in my practice rarely have ongoing exposure to the toxins that affected them. Their toxic exposure is usually in the past, with the metal toxins in storage in their organs. Natural detox agents do not have the power to remove these stored toxins – only true chelating medications can do that. Also, chelating medications never introduce additional toxins to the body – they are very “clean”. My opinion is that for something as important as removing toxic heavy metals from a child’s body, a scientifically tried and true method should be used.
We live in a toxic world. Every man, woman, and infant child has hundreds of chemicals and heavy metals in their body – exposed prenatally, in utero, and of course every day after that. One in six women on earth is mercury toxic, and that doesn’t even count the other metals and chemicals that are stored in her body that are easily transmitted to the growing fetus. We know much more about the effects of heavy metal toxins than we do about the chemical toxins in our environment. At least there are a limited number of metal poisons – but the number of chemical poisons is seemingly endless! Read More…