== Thank you for the kind words. I'm just giving back after receiving helpful tips from groups such as ours. My reply is below.
...Hair test for me showed high mercury,
== The organic mercury in fish and vaccines gets into hair more easily than other common forms of Hg.
...so I have been following the Cutler protocol to get it out for the past 9 months. I did 4 months of DMSA alone, upped it gradually, and got it up to 75mg. I then added ALA and got it up to 150mg.
== Wow those are really nice doses. I'm jealous : )
== AndyC seems to indicate that people don't usually need more than 25mg DMSA or DMPS for a mercury--Hg--problem. ALA is the primary chelator. The others are mostly working in the blood stream to keep Hg moving out.
== Many report that DMSA--and especially DMPS--help to reduce the side effects of the more powerful ALA. That's been my experience too. However DMSA can create its own side effects. I'm not convinced about the wisdom of taking high doses of it.
...I have had noticeable improvements along the way (it's been 9 months now),
== That's great. The nine month period was memorable for me. Unlike most people, I did not get any obvious early gains. Some say this is common for those who primarily have a lead problem. However It became obvious to me at around 9 mo that I was not just having a good week or a good month. After a more than decade of clueless doctors, it was quite encouraging.
...but recently I've had some issues that are concerning me. One is that I have developed a very deep itch in my joints, mostly hands but also toes. It reminds me of when I broke my leg as a child. When the healing started, there was a deep itch under the cast just like this. I'm wondering if you or anyone else out there knows if this is related to the healing process as mercury has been eliminated or is this possibly an allergy I've developed?
== I can't say that description sounds familiar. Is there any chance it is some Arthritis setting in? If so, have you ever tried glucosamine sulfate? It often has a noticeable effect in less than 6 weeks. I strongly recommend the more expensive sulfate form, not HCl, for test purposes. If it helps, maybe HCl will also be helpful.
...Other things that I've noticed are that my skin is SUPER dry. I've aged like I can't believe in the past 6-7 months,
== Are you taking generous amounts of vitamin C--maybe 1g 4x/day, plus vitamin E? Vitamin C is needed to make collagen and is an important antioxidant. It is important for adrenal health. Andy C warns quite strongly that neglecting antioxidant support can cause all sorts of problems when kicking up heavy metals with chelators!
== Are you taking supplements to help your body repair from oxidative stress--fish oil, lecithin, maybe pregnenolone and taurine?
...and I have gain weight (about 20 pounds now) that I just can't seem to lose. I'm a swimmer. Always have been fit and active, and I can't even believe what I see happening. Your post here caught my eye, because all along I've thought that some of my biggest issues (terrible fatigue, fingernails that don't adhere to their beds, dry skin, extreme muscle aches, and weight gain) could be related to the endocrine system. I am taking selenium 200mg daily. I am not however, taking iron.
== I've gained some weight while detoxing. I think a little poll in one of the yahoo detox groups indicated a modest majority experienced some weight gain. However I think Hg toxic folks tend to be thin, probably due in part to adrenal insufficiency, maybe also due to gut problems.
== In my case I gained much-needed bone density too. Additionally I used to do much of my exercise on the weekends; however, an increase in fatigue and brain fog are my main side effects from the DMSA + ALA. I just don't have the same motivation and energy to exercise while taking the detox meds : (
== I wonder if you need more thyroid support. Some people need that while detoxing but after a couple years they need less or none. There was a recent discussion in one of the yahoo groups that touched on this subject. Look up the commonly reported symptoms of hypothyroid.
== One of AC's core-four supplements is magnesium. It is good for a variety of problems that we tend to have, including some muscle issues. My muscles tell me when I've been skimpy with my intake, especially while on round and during the early months of detox : (
I have ordered another hair test to see where I am at this point
== Andy C indicates that followup hair tests can be confusing. We more commonly see hair tests at 1. or 1.5 yrs that look uglier than the pre-chelation hair test. My set has definitely been an extreme example of that. This member of the yahoo groups graphed her followup tests. She has a PhD in Environmental Engineering. There is more variation than we'd like to see. http://mercuryandmore.weebly.com/lab-results.html
== There are some situations where I think a followup test is reasonable. More than a few people have tests where most of the essential elements are low or lo-norm. Levels of toxins are typically quite low as well. During the early years of detox levels of elements will tend to increase, including toxins. This might give a person a clue about the possible involvement of a toxin such as lead that was under-reported before detox.
...and am planning on taking this coming week off from detoxing. I sure hope you can help me in some way. It's so hard when everyone's body is different and there's no 'one-size-fits-all' with that awful devil, mercury. Any help or suggestions would be very appreciated.
== When I was at my worst I was looking for leads, tips, clues. I am grateful for the leads I got from groups such as ours. Not all of them were correct. For example, my chiropractor's checklist for candida looked very promising. However after a stool test my functional medicine doctor said I had the lowest levels of candida he had ever seen! Even with the some dead ends, at least I was no longer doing nothing except treating my doctors like benevolent medical gods.
== Andy says doubling the dose of chelator does not double the excretion rate of Hg. That only increases the excretion by roughly 33%, not the 100% one might expect. So it does not make sense to beat onself up with side effects from excessively high doses when you could be comfortable with more typical doses.
== For example, I had to work on this past Saturday yet I had planned to do a round of detox. I just lowered my dose to a level that I know produces very low side effects. I asked a long time friend at work to tell me if he noticed anything. I was fine, had plenty of energy, had good mood with coworkers, etc.