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Tree Leaves

Reasons to chelate

The single biggest reason to chelate that brings individuals to chelation are  chronic health issues that have not responded to standard medical treatment. As humans we are affected by increased levels of heavy metals in the environment. Heavy metals do not stop at national borders or at factory fences. Air, soil and water pollution, medical use of heavy metals- the ways in which we can be exposed are manifold and sometimes we will never know exactly how it occured. In looking back we may uncover some potential exposure routes.

The effects of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic are varied and can easily be mistaken as something else (see the variety of diagnostic labels below) or rationalized away in some way shape or form. I myself rationalized them away for years. "Boys talk later than girls," I had heard so many times, I ended up believing it.

I will focus on mercury in this discussion of reasons to chelate.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Because it can bind to different types of functional groups on other substances it's effects are so varied. In nerve cells, it enters them and damages them. It oxidizes cell membranes. In other places it blocks enzyme production. It creates a lot of havoc, literally from head to to.

Consider the fact that due to environmental degradation and pollution children are nowadays born toxic.

Genetic susceptibility explains why not everyone who has the same exact exposure shows toxicity symptoms. A subset of the population has genetic markers that lead to less efficient detoxification pathways, which themselves are overwhelmed by mercury. Imagine mercury like the rock that stops a gear system from turning. It is the proverbial monkey wrench that keeps wheels from turning. Mercury does this in lots of different areas of the body. From hampering neurotransmitter production, to cell membrane oxidation, to methylation impairment; nothing is untouched by mercury's deleterious effects.

Once you learn how heavy metals hurt developing nervous systems it is easy to see how easy it is to miss the connection between behavior and root cause, if you're unaware of the root cause to begin with. How should we know what we don't know?!?

So right now just revel in the fact that you found out about this topic and are learning. You're better equipped to help your child than parents who think their child merely has 'quirks' or a behavioral diagnosis. I am all for accepting and loving a child no matter what. I modified schedules, activities, had specific cues and warnings to make transitions easier  but I am against normalizing unhealthy things as a standard. It is NOT normal for a child from a safe home to be afraid of strangers, to not pay any attention to their siblings, to be unable to connect socially, to require a special diet to function, to miss milestones, to lack speech or social skills and keep on falling behind in terms of development.

No individual child will have all of the symptoms mercury can cause at the same time, nor do they need to have a certain number to reap the benefits of chelation.

Siblings and fraternal twins chelate and see benefits. Quite a few parents end up chelating themselves as well. Some start chelating themselves first to ensure this is safe for their children, others realize their own health and psychological issues may be better understood in the context of heavy metal toxicity, and are happy when their anxiety symptoms vanish with chelation.

A thorough history of the mother's and child's life usually points out potential exposure routes. As mentioned earlier, some may stay unknown to us.

A non-exhaustive list of diagnostic labels heavy metal toxic children may end up with:

  • Developmental delays (of any kind)

  • Autism/ Regressive Autism

  • Asperger's Syndrome

  • PDD- NOS

  • ADHD

  • Allergies; food and/or environmental

  • Asthma

  • Anxiety

  • OCD

  • Dysgraphia/Poor handwriting

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Speech delay (NOS)


  • Absence seizures
  • Epilepsy

  • Gluten sensitivity

  • Food allergies

  • Autoimmune conditions (Mercury is a potent trigger of autoimmunity)

  • Persistent yeast infections

  • Poor gross and or fine motor skills

  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Peripheral neuropathy (pain or tingling sensation in hands, and/or feet) It can be a contributing factor to intermittent toe walking.

Things parents might say about their child with or without a formal diagnosis: Her or she is

  • antisocial

  • slow to reach milestones

  • often anxious,

  • depressed,

  • angrier than other kids about the same thing

  • such a picky eater

  • behind in school, academic learning

  • often by themselves and doesn't seek out other children their age

  • doesn't respond to their own name

  • plagued by sensory issues

  • dealing with the effects of un-integrated primitive reflexes

  • craving high-carb foods: White bread, potatoes, rice, sweets, etc.

  • unable to write legibly.

  • extremely shy and timid

  • "intense"

  • afraid of lots of things peers are not afraid of or concerned about

  • or the opposite: has no sense of fear.

  • obsessed with water surfaces and loves to play with water.

  • not interested in peers

The short little paragraph here on the EPA's own website on the topic of mercury sums it up thus:

"Effects on Infants and Children

Infants in the womb can be exposed to methylmercury when their mothers eat fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury. This exposure can adversely affect unborn infants' growing brains and nervous systems.  These systems may be more vulnerable to methylmercury than the brains and nervous systems of adults are. Children exposed to methylmercury while they are in the womb can have impacts to their:

  • cognitive thinking,

  • memory,

  • attention,

  • language,

  • fine motor skills, and

  • visual spatial skills"

So now you may wonder, what is methylmercury? Methylmercury is mercury bound to a methyl group. A methyl group is comprised of 3 hydrogen atoms grouped around and 1 carbon atom, which is connected to the rest of the molecule, the methyl group is a part of.

Methylmercury is an organic form of mercury.

Large predatory fish contain so much of it because fish turn inorganic into organic mercury. This protects them from toxicity. They methylate mercury, which makes it less toxic for them.

Being that we are mammals, our bodies do the opposite. We turn methyl mercury into inorganic mercury (Hg2+), which is what does the damage to our cells as it is an oxidation catalyst, meaning it increase the rate at which oxidation occurs. Uncontrolled oxidation is what we think of as "inflammation". Once in the brain organic mercury does not leave on its own and continues to wreck havoc until it is removed.

Which is what leads us to chelators. Chelators are compounds capable of binding with heavy metals. Read more under 2. What is Chelation?

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