Mercury Poisoning

Successfully Navigating Chronic Mercury Poisoning / Amalgam Illness

Road to Recovery: Mercury or Lead Poisoning?

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After removing my amalgams, my next step was to fully determine if heavy metal poisoning really was the culprit. My doctor suggested that I do two different challenge tests: DMPS for mercury and Calcium EDTA for lead. I would later learn that doing this is probably not the best or safest way to test for heavy metal poisoning.

DMPS Challenge Test

There is a lot of disagreement surrounding the DMPS Challenge Test. Since there is not a good way to measure the total body burden of most heavy metals, some practitioners use a provoking agent to stir up metals hiding in various organ tissues and then measure the amount of heavy metal that shows up in the urine after a set period of time. If you do any bit of research you will find the DMPS Challenge on Quackwatch or There is currently no standard medical diagnostic use for a DMPS Challenge and just because a person does have a higher amount of heavy metal following the test does not necessarily mean that he or she is mercury poisoned.

Alternatives to the DMPS Challenge Test

Andrew Cutler mentions other ways to diagnose chronic mercury poisoning using primarily hair mineral analysis and a porphyrin test.


My opinion is that DMPS is relatively safe and very well researched in Europe. However, like any pharmaceutical, people may be sensitive to it and should be tested with small doses for negative reactions prior to administering the full dose. DMPS is the most effective chelator of mercury available on the market. Because of that it probably causes some problems among those who are severely mercury poisoned by drawing out and redistributing mercury.

As a diagnostic tool, the evidence just doesn’t stack up to support the DMPS Challenge test. There is no standard baseline differentiating between poisoned and non-poisoned patients. As a progress tracking tool, the DMPS Challenge Test has a good amount of usefulness. Over time the body burden will be lowered following each round of chelation. Is it better than a mineral test? Probably not, however since I have not had any bad reactions to it, I will continue performing this test.

My hypothesis is that the best way to diagnose mercury poisoning is to do a kidney and liver biopsy to determine the amount of mercury that has accumulated in the organ tissue. It’s not a fun way to do it, but it will probably support a medical diagnosis and potentially help an insurance company pay for your treatment. Which brings me to another point.

DMPS is not an FDA approved drug in the United States. It is experimental and can be used in bulk compounding. Since there is no standard medical protocol for the DMPS Challenge Test, you are not likely to get coverage through health insurance for the test or subsequent chelation. Given that you will probably do upwards of 15 treatments and each treatment can be between $60-150 depending on your provider, you are looking at around $1000 at a minimum out of pocket.

My Experience with the DMPS Challenge

My doctor’s office administers a 250 mg IV push of DMPS followed by a 2 hour urine collection. The sample is then shipped to Doctor’s Data for analysis. The IV push takes about 15-20 minutes. When I did this test I had a lot of apprehension since I had read about some of the reactions to DMPS. However, I had also read several success stories so I knew it was a calculated risk. During the IV, I felt some light fullness in my chest and an incredible sense of calmness. The anxiety had just lifted and I just felt clear for the first time in months. My muscle spasms and nerve tingling also lifted. There were a couple instances of my ears ringing, but overall I felt… normal. Something I hadn’t felt in a while. I mentioned to my wife that day that for the first time, I was hopeful about getting better.

The Evil Side of Chelation

The immediate positive effects of chelation are followed by the necessary evil of mercury settling and osmotic redistribution of intracellular mercury to the extracellular space. Proponents of the Cutler protocol will say that some of the mercury settling effects can be counteracted by using frequent low doses, and generally I agree, however my experience with frequent low dose is that I never feel good. At least with IV DMPS I feel good for 2-3 days before the redistribution effects start to come back in force.


DMPS Challenge Test Result

Two weeks later I received the result of the DMPS Challenge. My mercury level was about 6 times higher than the unprovoked reference range (18 µg/g creatinine vs 3 µg/creatinine ). I also had elevated levels of lead, antimony and tin. We took this result as confirmation of mercury poisoning and decided that additional chelation treatments were warranted.


  1. Test for sensitiviy to DMPS with a 50 mg or smaller IV dose
  2. Know that the DMPS Challenge Test is not necessarily a good Diagnostic test.
  3. DMPS carries risk of adverse reaction, especially for those who may have been severely mercury poisoned for a very long time.
  4. DMPS can be used a a progress tracking tool in lieu of a hair minerals test.
  5. For many people, myself included, DMPS works wonders.
  6. Chelation is like a roller coaster ride. You will get better slowly, but there will be lots of ups and downs.