A cleaner sweep
March 31st 2017, 12:24
This magazine owes its start to dental fillings—my dental fillings. I'd had bad teeth as a kid—the product of the average heavily processed, high-sugar, American diet—and by the time I was a teenager, there weren't many of my teeth, other than the few at the front, that weren't covered in metal.
In my early 30s, I developed a load of unexplained, seemingly unrelated symptoms that worsened over the following months. After a great deal of searching and a number of false trails, I finally located a pioneering nutritional doctor who figured out that I had what would now be called a 'faulty microbiome'.
But at the time, gut ecology was far less understood, so he concluded it was likely to be an overgrowth of Candida albicans—a diagnosis just starting to come into vogue—although he did allow that the diagnosis might not be precise. "When all you've got is a hammer," he said about his proposed treatment, "everything starts looking like a nail."
To a great extent, his prescription for treating my gut—a very restrictive diet plus some anti-yeast agents—sorted it out at the time, but he and I could never quite figure out why the problem occasionally returned.
Eventually, after much of my own research, the penny finally dropped. It might all have to do with all those metal fillings still sitting in my mouth.
Recent lab evidence shows that amalgam fillings cause what tends to be called a 'leaky gut'. Ordinarily, the lining of your small intestine is essentially a clever 'sieve', allowing through only small particles of food, which then get transported to other cells in body, while blocking any larger food molecules, and potentially harmful toxins and bacteria.
But damage the sieve in any way and the toxic substances get through, altering the subtle balance of bacteria in the gut and unleashing a host of conditions—from ulcerative colitis to joint pain. Besides causing breaches in your gut wall, mercury in your mouth can so disturb your gut that it predisposes you to developing persistent parasites.
Even the European Parliament is now opting for a complete ban on amalgam fillings that should come into effect by 2018, following a damning report in 2012 by the European Commission's BIO Intelligence Service (BIS). The BIS confirmed the wide range of health problems the fillings cause: allergies, neurological diseases, kidney diseases, autism, autoimmune diseases and even birth defects.
I had my fillings out several decades ago, but at the time, most doctors advocated the use of chemical chelating agents like DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid) and DMPS (dimercapto-1-propanesulphonic acid), which do the job by chemically 'grabbing' heavy metals like mercury or lead. But they also come with a host of potentially horrific risks, including lasting kidney damage and even death.
In many cases, these chelators spring heavy metals from the brain or bones, where they've been lying dormant for years, and out into the body, causing even more ill health.
Enter Dr Christopher Shade, the subject of our cover story this month (page 56). After studying mercury toxicity, he wasn't satisfied with either the tests for mercury overload, which also uses chelators like DMSA, or the supposed cure.
He developed a new test that determines how well the body is excreting heavy metals, andalso distinguishes between different kinds of mercury in the body from different sources, like fillings or fish.
After isolating the type of heavy-metal load carried by the patient, Shade offers a radically different system of detox that he claims avoids the uptake of metals back into the body, while assisting kidney excretion and the body's own cellular repair through the use of high-delivery antioxidants. He also tries to teach the therapists who use his protocols to tailor it to the individual.
Shade makes big claims for his products as an effective treatment for many illnesses like Alzheimer's or even autism that may have heavy metals as their cause, and he cites impressive case studies. There's also research showing the effectiveness of the main element of his protocol's chelation—a form of silica.
A number of other natural chelators—Chlorella, glutathione, zeolite and even bentonite clay—have good evidence of powerful detoxification potential, but none offers the kind of highly focused removal and repair service touted by Shade. Now all he needs is a bit more independent verification of his own impressive products to confirm that they truly are a detox breakthrough.