Updated: Feb 2
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is the physician who has pioneered the use of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet for helping children with intractable digestive issues. She and one of her practitioners, Becky Plotner, asked me to do an online presentation about ACC chelation for GAPS practitioners all over the world. The following is what I had to say.
Good day to you all , wherever you are in the world. My name is Rebecca Lee and I am, along with Andy Cutler, Phd., the coauthor of the recently published book, The Mercury Detoxification Manual. Andy also published 2 other books: Amalgam Illness, Diagnosis and Treatment and Hairtest Interpretation, Finding Hidden Toxicities about chronic mercury poisoning and how to interpret hair tests.
When Amalgam Illness was written 20 years ago, Andy calculated that between 1 to 6% of the population had enough mercury in them to disrupt their body’s biochemistry and make them sick. Before he died two years ago, I asked him what he thought that number was now and he answered, closer to 30 to 50%. That means that since you are practitioners of one kind or another and deal with sick people, probably all of your patients have this issue.
For me, mercury is “the unified field theory” toxin behind this holocaust of idiopathic chronic illness in the world today. Digestive issues, neurological issues, autoimmune diseases and on and on. Chronic diseases that, in conventional medicine, nobody knows what causes and for which there are only powerful pharmaceutical drugs to control symptoms.
Andy Cutler, who came up with the protocol which we have described in the new book, was a chemistry PhD with his degree from Princeton University. He got involved with this issue because he became poisoned himself from some amalgam dental work that was placed below his gum line, with access to his blood system. He developed allergies and food sensitivities, but for him the worst thing was that his intellect stopped working. And he was a person with a Mensa Society level IQ.
Like most of us who got poisoned this way, he spent a few years going from doctor to doctor. Finally, what he affectionately referred to as a “voodoo doctor” took the risk of telling him what was wrong. I say “took the risk,” because that practitioner subsequently got into trouble with his medical board.
Andy explained to me that fortuitously, he had just the right kind of technical background to realize that what he was being told to do to detox made no sense. The PhD he was working on involved studying the kinetics of chemicals and it was no big leap to understanding pharmacokinetics, which is the way chemicals move around and react in the human body. He had the training to be able to read and understand medical textbooks, scientific and medical papers….He would even reanalyze the raw data used in studies to make sure that the conclusions reached by the scientists in question were correct.
The protocol Andy figured out in order to detox himself is called the Andy Cutler protocol, ACC, or frequent low dose oral chelation….which distinguishes it from any other chelation method out there.
Chelation is a well understood chemical process. A chelator is a molecule which in the case of mercury chelation, has two thiol groups (which are a certain kind of sulfur molecule) spaced an appropriate distance apart. This molecule latches on to the mercury ion and tears it away from where it is lodged in the body. Andy identified two chelators that were already in use for chelating mercury and lead and which he considered safe to use. But neither of these were fat soluble so he needed to find a chelator that was fat soluble and could cross the lipid barriers of the cell walls and organs and the blood brain barrier into the brain. He finally found the information he needed in a Russian study that he was able to translate and understand. This study led him to discover that alpha lipoic acid, an over-the-counter antioxidant, is at the same time a fat soluble, dithiol chelator.
The big problem with all the mercury chelation protocols until Andy’s is that mercury easily gets dropped by the chelators and redistributed into sensitive parts of the body. Mercury is extremely nasty and toxic, but in some locations in the body it can’t do much harm. But if you move it around it can relocate to some place where it can do a whole lot of harm. It doesn’t matter how much you are able to excrete, if while doing so you inadvertently move the poison from someplace where it is not hurting you to your brain or hormone producing glands. Andy’s protocol solves this problem by dosing the chelators on their half-life. Every time a chelator starts to dissipate and is ready to drop off the mercury to which it has bonded, there is another dose of chelator coming in behind ready to pick up what has been dropped. That is why the Andy Cutler protocol involves setting alarms and taking the chelators every three or four hours all day and all night for minimum three days and the two intervening nights. This “round” sets up a little assembly line for excreting the mercury, The minimum round time ensures that the net amount of mercury excreted is greater than the amount that gets redistributed at the end of the round.
I came across Andy’s work after I got a mercury diagnosis from a chiropractic neurologist about 8 or 9 years ago. I had been suffering from anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue, aches and pains that moved from place to place, insomnia and digestive issues. The doctor gave me a chelation protocol to follow but told me that it was okay to do it without removing my amalgam fillings. Unfortunately, unlike Andy, I had no way to evaluate what I was being told to do. This regime had me weeping all day and I was smart enough to stop. The chelators had been picking up mercury from the gigantic reservoir in my teeth and redistributing it God knows where. After that I started poking around on the internet and came across Andy’s work. I ordered both Amalgam Illness and the Hairtest Interpretation and devoured them, although I had hardly any capacity to concentrate and had a hard time understanding what I was reading. I had to go out and spend over $3000 dollars on my teeth. Unfortunately, when I started chelating with the lipoic acid I got horribly sick and my liver enzymes skyrocketed into the triple digits. I had to spend another $3000 to get 4 crowns removed and checked under. Two of them hid mercury fillings. After that chelation went very smoothly and I have since regained my good health.
I would like to give you a little run down of what is in the book which I hope will make you consider using ACC in your practice. There is a chapter where we discuss how people get exposed and how easy it is for this to happen. Mercury has been used extensively in manufacturing and technology so it is pretty much everywhere. It is used in thermostats and tilt switches, it is in energy saving light bulbs and on and on. It is also used medicinally in dentistry and as a preservative in vaccines. Mercury vaporizes at room temperature and mercury vapor is easily absorbed and can cross all the lipid barriers in the body…including the blood brain barrier. Once it is established in the organs, it does not come out on its own.
Mercury interferes with the body’s chemical systems in many different places. It is also outright oxidative and does damage by burning the crap out of things. It causes hundreds of different symptoms. These range from anxiety and depression to full blown psychosis; from gut dysbiosis and candida to Crohn’s disease. It is probably behind the entire holocaust of autoimmune disease that society now experiences: MS, ALS, Lupus, Parkinson’s and so forth. Neurological disorders are a common problem and they range from what looks like plain eccentricity up past Asperger’s through ADD and ADHD into full blown autism. This information is well documented in the scientific and medical literature, starting back centuries ago when the men in the hatting profession were studied and their shyness and weirdness was given a name: “erethism mercurialis” or “mad hatters’ disease”. If no doctor ever diagnoses it nowadays it is because the sheer range of symptoms is confusing, because it is hard to test for and because it is a political no-go zone.
One objection I hear to my “unified field theory” for idiopathic chronic disease, is, “well, all these different symptoms can be caused by many other things”. Anxiety, for instance, or Lyme disease, or chronic mold and so forth and so on. But mercury causes anxiety and depression. Mercury compromises the immune system so that Lyme or candida or whatever get a chance to go berserk. A lot of people spend years rushing down rabbit holes chasing Lyme disease or mold exposure and so forth. But we have found that mercury is the underlying cause of these problems. If you chelate enough, your immune system will start working properly and your infections will disappear, or the antibiotics will be able to do their work, or you will stop being so reactive to chemicals or mold. I agree with the chiropractors, that the body’s default is health. If there is nothing interfering then the body will reside in a state of health. People recover their health by treating their symptoms, but if you are constantly dealing with new conditions coming back, or only maintaining homeostasis by taking boatloads of supplement or having to stay permanently on a special diet, you have not as yet got the root cause of what is wrong. Mercury causes so many symptoms treating them is like playing wackamole.
Mercury is very hard to find on a lab test. Challenge tests seem to be the “standard of care” for this in the medical community but Andy thought them undiagnostic and also dangerous. We use hair tests and look for mercury’s footprint of “deranged mineral transport.” We analyze the results using five statistical tests called the “counting rules” that Andy came up with.
Dental work is a huge hurdle because you can’t make a move to detox anything without removing every last little speck of amalgam from your mouth. You have to go to a special dentist to get this done and it is not cheap! I got terribly sick chelating with 1 amalgam hidden under two crowns. People who have even tiny specks of mercury left in their mouths can just get worse if they chelate, or go on and on for years without making any progress. On our Facebook support group, we ask people to post digital bitewing x-rays and get them checked for specks by one of our dentists before they start fooling around with chelators. Of course most children and some adults are lucky to have never had fillings and can skip a whole lot of grief and expense.
There is of a chapter on how to follow the protocol. I wrote in the most organized way I could, with bulleted and step by step instructions and it is aimed at about a sixth grade comprehension level. I did this because many of our readers are foreigners and also because people with chronic mercury often have a terrible time concentrating and taking in new information. They forget the beginning of a paragraph before they get to the end.
The protocol is safe because it is frequent low dose chelation. An aspect of this that is really important is finding your starting dose of chelator. Most people can start at 25 or 50 mg of ALA but some people are so sensitive they have to “microdose.” By finding an appropriate starting dose and slowly building that up over time and sticking to the half-life dosing schedule, the person chelating is able to control the intensity of the symptoms he or she may experience and go at their own pace. There is never any huge mobilization of mercury and the accompanying redistribution which is the danger with other chelation methods.
Chelating mercury out of the body and regaining your health can take several years. For children, in the book Fight Autism and Win, the authors suggest at least two hundred weekly rounds to reach recovery. In the meantime, symptoms come and go in their typical mercurial fashion. We give suggestions for supplements you can take to deal with symptoms as they may come up while you are chelating. Andy tended to prefer supplements to prescription drugs and says on p.77:
“Dietary supplements and prescription drugs are all chemicals. Neither are magically better than the other. We simply want you to use those chemicals that will make you feel better. Our experience has been that dietary supplements are more likely to be tolerated and are often as useful as drugs, although for certain conditions prescription drugs are necessary and do work better.”
He wasn’t the most tolerant person with outright mentally ill people and insisted they be on their meds before he would work with them. He found that people who were non-compliant with psych meds rarely had enough self-discipline to stick with chelation.
In chapter 8 there are discussions of some of the key target organ systems that are damaged by mercury and what to take to help with symptoms. We address adrenals, thyroid, diabetes and blood sugar, allergies, liver problems, digestive tract problems, yeast and dysbiosis, poor concentration and attention deficit, depression, anxiety, insomnia, chemical sensitivity and pain. I’m sure that all of you treat these problems all the time and whatever works is fine to do. This comes with the caveat that there is a whole list of things that mercury toxic people should never use. This includes alpha lipoic acid on any other schedule than the one we outline, chlorella, cilantro, colloidal silver and a bunch of other things which we list and explain.
There is a chapter on diet, which Andy felt was the most powerful although most difficult to comply with way to control symptoms. As GAPS practitioners I’m sure you know a lot about that! I would only add that we consider diet a form of symptom control to do while detoxing…the ultimate goal being getting the body cleaned up enough so it gets into balance and is naturally healthy without any diets or supplements at all.
I am sure that in your practice you come across people who react to all different kinds of food chemicals. A food problem particular to mercury toxic people is a tendency to react badly to high thiol foods. Thiols are a specific form of sulfur. About a third of mercury-toxic people react badly to thiols a third need more thiols in their diet and for the final third can eat whatever they want. Andy was thiol sensitive and developed a foods list by experimenting on himself.
A few months before his death, while we were discussing our work together, I told Andy I thought he should put in a section specifically about mercury poisoning in children. I felt that people did not understand that the epidemics of vaccine injury in children and the epidemics of chronic illness in adults is the same thing. It just looks different in children.
I have come to believe, that the holocaust of vaccine injury is mercury poisoning and nothing else. Even though the authorities say they removed the stuff from the pediatric schedule, the little kids are still showing up poisoned with mercury. We see thousands of hair tests in our Facebook group and they mostly all have the deranged mineral transport that only mercury can cause. When you chelate them for mercury, they get better. Andy said that as far as results with children with autism who chelate, 50% of them recover with no further intervention necessary, another 25% get much better but require other therapies, too, and for the last 25% the problem is something other than mercury
The book that outlines the chelator doses and various supplements for children is called Fight Autism and Win and is famous right now for getting censored from Amazon. It is written by two of my colleagues, Jan Martin and Tressie Taylor who recovered their own children and got Andy to help them write this book. You can purchase it at fightautismandwin.com
In the chapter on chelating children, Andy put checklists of signs and symptoms and behaviors to watch out for. He died shortly after completing this and I wonder if he didn’t overdo things working on this part. He really cared about mothers and children. In our support groups he spent much time answering questions about complicated cases. He would read EEG reports and knew a lot about pharmaceuticals.
This is what Andy had to say about chelating children:
“If you think there is something wrong with your child after reading this section, try chelation. Just do it. The instructions are the same as for an adult. Only the dosing is different. In a few weeks it will become clear whether you child needs to chelate. If something happens, they need to do it. If nothing at all happens on round or afterwards, they don’t. It won’t matter how much chelator you give them. If there are no metals to chelate, the chelators will have no effect at all. If something happens, it’s because there’s enough toxic metal present to be a problem.”
In conclusion, I hope you will consider the possibility that mercury is the foundational problem for a majority of your clients. The only way they are going to be permanently healed is by getting that mercury, which is messing in profound ways with their bodies’ biochemistry, out. Because of the dangers of redistribution, the only way to get the mercury out without serious risk is by using actual chelators and dosing them on their half-life using the Andy Cutler protocol.