Mercury Detox Autism Protocol – Part 1

Part 1 of 3 (Part 2,Part 3)

Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

This is such a long article I wanted to put my comment at the beginning so my newsletter subscribers can view my perspective prior to reading the document.

First of all the professionals who put this protocol together are to be strongly congratulated. They did a tremendous effort in getting together and developing a consensus statement among some of the top clinicians treating this problem in the country.

This is exactly what is required if we are going to advance natural medicine in this country and I am grateful to these professionals for their dedication, commitment and hard work in developing this document.

I was part of the Great Lakes Chelation Panel on mercury toxicity, and have co-authored one of the leading papers in clinical mercury detoxification, and have worked with hundreds of patients with mercury detoxification issues, so I have some experience in this area.

In general, the panel’s review of this subject is thorough and I would strongly recommend reading it if you have an interest in this area.

However, I cannot endorse a number of the panel’s recommendations and I will provide my objections to the protocol at the beginning.

The major objection to the recommendation is the use of DMSA for mercury detoxification. My affinity for the use of DMPS is likely one of the reasons I was not invited to participate in this panel.

However, one needs to know that in the overall treatment of this problem our approaches are very similar. The KEY strategy to improve children with brain injury is to optimize their gut flora and diet and this is something the panel makes very clear.

Mercury detox with DMSA or DMPS is not a huge magic bullet, it is just one of many strategies that can be implemented to help these children. If one uses either of these chemicals without first properly preparing the child, there can be great harm and damage.

The panel refuses to support the DMPS recommendation, despite the fact that it is, as they admit, a clearly more effective agent, due to DMPS’s history of complications in adults and its lack of FDA approval in children.

The issue of DMPS, and for that matter DMSA, toxicity, is not related to the direct toxicity of the drugs, but to the drug’s ability to take the heavy metals out of the body. It is actually the heavy metals that cause the side effects. If one does not properly prepare the body to address these heavy metals then one will have complications from the chealting agent.

DMPS was, and still is, frequently improperly used in many adults. Primarily by well-intentioned physicians who provide DMPS when the person still has amalgam fillings in their mouth. Because DMPS is so effective at removing mercury, it will actually pull the mercury right out of the fillings and cause huge problems in some patients.

It is has been my and Dr. Klinghardt’s combined thirty year experience that DMPS when used properly is far safer then DMSA.

The other issue the panel raises of FDA approval is really moot as DMSA, although approved for lead chelation, clearly is not approved for removing mercury.

Additionally, please pay special attention to the huge list of complications of DMSA that are listed in this protocol. They require that the child have regular blood draws for a chemistry profile and a CBC to monitor for these complications.

This is not necessary for DMPS, which is another reason I prefer it. Through my use of IV secretin I have become very proficient in drawing blood from children. But after doing that for several years I realized that I was inflicting emotional trauma and scaring that was worsening their problem overall.

For this reason, at this time I cannot endorse any protocol that requires regular blood draws on children below the age of 6.

Other areas of disagreement are in the negative recommendation for chlorella. Their information on chlorella is seriously flawed. It is based on a small study done by Doctor’s Data. They never demonstrated increased absorption of mercury from the chlorella, only that mercury was present in the chlorella. Since hundreds of tons of mercury are deposited into the oceans every year, this is not surprising.

However, what the investigators failed to account for was that the binding coefficient of chlorella to mercury is far in excess of its potential to release mercury into the body. It only ABSORBS mercury, it does NOT release it into the body.

The other issue of potential for contamination with toxic dinoflagellates is only true for blue green algae and NOT for chlorella since chlorella is a cultured product and is NOT contaminated with it.

Mineral replacement is a critical element of mercury detoxification when using chelating agents. Monitoring the child’s mineral status prior to and during chelation is essential.

The panel recommends the use of the more expensive blood tests for monitoring mineral status. As I wrote in my letter in JAMA, I believe that hair analysis from specific labs is far less expensive, more clinically valid and clearly less traumatic on the child then the blood tests.

The other major objection, is that virtually no one is addressing the structural balancing that is so essential in the treatment of autism. For the last few months we have been performing Neurostructural Integration (NST) in our clinic and have been seeing absolutely amazing results when the treatments are combined with the other modalities. I am convinced NST should be done on ALL children with autism. It is gentle, noninvasive, and almost universally beneficial.

With those objections aside, I invite you to review the Panel’s outstanding compilation of an effective Autism Protocol.

Autism Panel Report

An enormous, alarming, and unexplained increase in the prevalence of autism is being reported, on an almost daily basis, in the U.S., the U.K., and elsewhere.

California maintains what is probably the world’s best and most systematic database on autism and other developmental disabilities. In California the reported increase in the prevalence of autism over a 20-year period is over one thousand percent.

Similar enormous increases have been reported from studies in New Jersey and elsewhere in the US, in the UK, in the Middle East, and in Asia. While the reality of the increase is beyond doubt, there is great controversy over the cause. Many experts believe the primary cause is the increase in the number of vaccines given to children from birth to age two, which has risen from 8 in 1980 to 22 in the year 2001.

The increased number of vaccines has brought with it an increased exposure of young infants to mercury intoxication. The preservative thimerosal, which is used in many vaccines, consists of approximately 50% mercury.

In 1998 the Food and Drug Administration requested the vaccine manufacturers to begin the process of removing thimerosal from the vaccines. Thimerosal containing vaccines are still being used in 2001.

Mercury is highly toxic in even very small doses, and some individuals are exquisitely sensitive to mercury.

Some infants have been given, in one day, as much as 100 times the maximum dosage of mercury permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards, based on the weight of an adult. An infant’s system is much less capable of dealing with toxins than an adult’s.

In early 2000, parent Sallie Bernard and several other concerned and inquisitive parents began looking into the mercury issue. They learned that thimerosal was used in most vaccines at levels that greatly exceeded the upper limits decreed safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The scientific paper by Bernard et al. may be found on the website of the Autism Research Institute (

In her testimony before the US House of Representatives in July, 2000, Sallie, the primary author of the report, testified: “The symptoms which are diagnostic of or strongly associated with autism itself are found to arise from mercury exposure, as described in available literature on past cases of mercury poisoning.”

“These similarities,” she testified, “include the defining characteristics of autism – and they include traits strongly associated with autism and found in nearly all cases of the disorder – sensory disturbances such as numbness in the extremities and mouth, aversion to touch, and unusual response to noise; movement disorders like toe-walking, hand flapping, clumsiness, and choreiform movements; and cognitive impairments in specific domains like short-term, verbal and auditory memory and in understanding abstract ideas.”

In addition, she noted, mercury poisoning can cause many of the same biological abnormalities as are seen in autism, including immune system dysfunction and anomalies in the cerebellum, amygdala, and hippocampus.

Bernard noted that the growing prevalence rate of autism closely matches the introduction and spread of thimerosal-containing vaccines and that autistic symptoms generally emerge at the time the child is given these vaccines.

She added “Our group has also documented a number of cases of autistic children with toxic levels of mercury in hair, urine and blood.” In addition, she noted, mercury is more toxic to males than to females, and the male-to-female ratio in autism is 4 to 1.

Noting that low doses of mercury tend to harm genetically susceptible individuals, Bernard pointed out that “autism has been recognized as one of the most heritable of all neurological disorders and is strongly associated with familial autoimmune disorders.”

Bernard and her colleagues called for an immediate ban on thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines in October 2000. The meeting was attended by a number of physicians and scientists. One of the physicians, Dr. Stephanie Cave of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told the group that in her experience over a number of years in treating over 400 autistic children with various modalities, she had found no modality which was more effective in a great many autistic children than mercury detoxification.

Other physicians who also had experience with mercury detoxification in autistic children, including several who were themselves parents of autistic children, strongly supported Dr. Cave’s remarks.

The Autism Research Institute convened a weekend Consensus Conference on the Detoxification of Autistic Children in Dallas, Texas in February, 2001. The attendees were 25 carefully selected physicians and scientists knowledgeable about mercury and mercury detoxification.

The 15 physicians present included 7 who were parents of autistic children and who had detoxified their own children with good results. The physician attendees present had treated well over 3,000 patients for heavy metal poisoning, about 1,500 of them being autistic children. The chemists, toxicologists and other scientists present had a combined total of almost 90 years of experience in research on the toxicology of mercury.

The purpose of the meeting was to arrive at a consensus document that would delineate the safest and most effective methods of detoxifying autistic children. Nine candidate detoxification protocols, including five submitted by non-attendees, were considered in detail by the conferees.

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