Heavy Metal Detoxification and Chelation


Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of heavy metal burden in the body are many and varied. For a more complete list see Keesha’s blog on heavy metal toxicity:

Excessive itching
Metallic taste
Cold hands/feet
Memory problems
Frequent insomnia
High blood pressure
Chest pains
Constant pain in joints
Bloated feeling
Unexplained fluid
Twitching muscles
Burning tongue
Headaches after eating
Leg cramps
Frequent diarrhea
Ringing ears
Chronic inflammation
Shortness of breath
Frequent heartburn

Heavy Metal Toxicity Scale

Score each symptom on a scale of 0 – 10 (with 10 the highest) and calculate a total for each row that will be entered as a total at the bottom of the page.


1. Unexplained irritability

2. Constant or very frequent periods of depression

3. Numbness and tingling in extremities

4. Frequent urination during the night

5. Unexplained chronic fatigue

6. Cold hands and feet, even in moderate weather

7. Bloated feeling

8. Poor memory or Brain fog

9. Sudden, unexplained anger

10. Constipation

11. Difficulty making decisions

12. Tremors or shakes of hands, feet, head, etc.

13. Muscle twitches

14. Frequent leg cramps

15. Ringing in ears

16. Get out of breath easily

17. Heartburn

18. Excessive itching

19. Unexplained rashes, skin irritation

20. Metallic taste in mouth

21. Jumpy, Jittery, Nervous

22. Suicidal thoughts

23. Insomnia

24. Unexplained chest pains

25. Constant or frequent pain in joints

26. Rapid heart rate

27. Unexplained fluid retention

28. Burning sensation on the tongue

29. Headaches after eating

30. Frequent diarrhea


Adopted from: Huggins, HA, It’s All in Your Head, Avery Publishing Group, NY, 1993, pg. 54.

Score <30 – Low likelihood of metal toxicity

Score >30 – Significant likelihood of metal toxicity – recommend further evaluation

What if I have many of these symptoms? What next?

1.      Call Fern Life Center for an appointment so you can be screened: (425) 391-3376.

2.      We request that you fill out the required paperwork before your appointment (download from www.FernLifeCenter.com).Your symptoms and history will be reviewed by Keesha Ewers, ARNP. As part of the screening process and you will receive 2 urine kits and a small dose of a medication to provoke the release of any heavy metals you might have encapsulated in your body. You will collect your urine before the medication and then after taking the medication for the next 6 hours. The samples will be sent to the lab and will take a week to ten days for us to get results back. This is called a pre and post-provocation urine test.

3.      It will be necessary to take extra nutritional supplements which include: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC),calcium/magnesium supplements, and supportive supplements for the adrenals and detoxification systems.

4.      We require you to do frequent kidney function testing during the course of your chelation therapy.

5.      Each chelation therapy is individualized and you must have a mindset of “go slow and be patient”. It is possible to burn out your adrenals and detox organs with rapid heavy metal chelation. At Fern Life Center, Keesha believes in taking it at the pace your body can handle. You may be advised to take oral chelating agents or intravenous nutrition. See below for more detail about IV interventions.

6.      For insurance purposes, we repeat the 6 hour urine collection every the 15th treatment to determine the next step in treatment.

7.      You will be asked to have mercury amalgams removed before Keesha will chelate your mercury. There is no sense in undergoing the stress of chelation while you have an active source of mercury still in your mouth.

Sources of Mercury Exposure

The following list will help to identify where you may have come in contact with mercury in your environment:

Dental fillings, exhaust fumes, insecticide sprays, mercury polluted water, fish, floor waxes, polishes, air conditioner filters, felt, skin lightening creams, sewage disposal, tattooing, hemorrhoid suppositories, coal burning stoves or mining, certain cosmetics, adhesives, organo-mercurial pesticides, antiseptics, camera film, canvas, plastics, water based paint, fabric softeners, chemical fertilizers, the preservative thimerasol (in vaccines).

Mercury Nutrition Guidelines

  • Eliminate caffeine.
  • Eliminate sugar and alcohol.
  • Eliminate fish and shellfish from diet, especially those that historically contain the highest levels of mercury.
Avoid Not more than once per month Lowest in mercury


King mackerel


Tuna (including canned)

Sea bass

Gulf Coast Oysters




White croaker


Largemouth bass

Mahi mahi

Blue mussel

Eastern oyster



Great Lakes salmon

Gulf Coast blue crab

Channel catfish (wild)

Lake whitefish

Catfish (farmed)

Blue crab (mid-Atlantic)


Fish Sticks

Flounder (summer)


Trout (farmed)

Salmon (wild Pacific)

Shrimp (although shrimp fishing and farming causes serious environmental damage)

  • Avoid external sources of mercury including petroleum products, Bounce fabric softeners, fungicides, cosmetics, and hair dyes. Read labels: phenalmercuricacetate and thimerosal are other names for mercury.
  • Eliminate milk.
  • Eliminate pork.
  • Eliminate cigarette smoking.


  • Increase fiber consumption, which is important to bind toxins in the digestive tract.
  • Drink 8 eight oz. glasses of water/day.
  • Eat eggs and ghee. The emphasis on animal protein is because of its concentration of sulfur bearing amino acids and lipids (fat). Mercury has an affinity to both of these chemical groups. You may use MSM 1000mg 3x/day if you are allergic to eggs.
  • Supplement your diet with probiotics like lactobacillus acidophilus capsules.
  • Steam in a sauna or steam bath for 20 minutes 1 to 3 times per week as directed by your healthcare provider. Your skin is the largest excretory organ in your body and one of the safest routes of detoxification.

What is IV nutrient therapy?

IV nutrient therapy is the process of giving vital nutrients to the body via the bloodstream by accessing the vein with a small needle. The nutrients can be a small amount that is pushed in slowly with a syringe over 5 to 15 minutes or a bag that is dripped in slowly over 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the solution being given.

Why give IV nutrient therapy?

IV nutrient therapy is a way of getting vitamins, amino acids, minerals and other nutrients into the bloodstream quickly. It takes no work on the part of the digestive system. This is a great benefit for those who have digestive issues or who cannot tolerate oral supplementation. There are also times when the body is so deficient that oral supplementation is not enough. Using the IV route of administration of nutrients allows for maximum concentration of nutrients to reach tissues that need it the most. For example, IV administration allows nutrients to get into the brain when oral supplementation would not suffice.

How does it work?

The nutrients in the IV solutions are absorbed directly by your cells without having to go through the digestive process. This means that nutrients are absorbed more quickly and at higher concentrations than oral supplementation. Due to the high concentration of nutrients in the IV solution compared to the cells in your body, the "concentration gradient" allows active transport of the nutrients into every cell rapidly and efficiently, thus stimulating your cells to achieve optimal health.

Having IV nutrient repletion leads to a rapid increase in the nutrient levels in the center of the cells where they are most needed. This can "kick start" the metabolism. Cells now have enough energy to eliminate accumulated toxins. This process may lead to a detoxification reaction, bringing about symptoms of fatigue, nausea, headache and bowel changes. These are temporary. Cellular healing at the root level starts happening when the cells have the nutrients they need to function properly. Homeostasis (a balance of nutrients inside the cells and toxins out of the cells) is achieved quickly and effectively with IV nutrient therapy.

What are the benefits of IV Nutrient Therapy?

IV nutrient therapy has been prescribed for decades for people with heavy metal toxicity, malabsorption syndrome (such as gastritis, ulcers, IBS, Crohn's and colitis), post traumatic/post operative wound healing, viral infections heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The Meyer's Cocktail itself has been effective as an immune system booster in treating the most difficult chronic infections such as Lyme disease, Epstein Barr and Hepatitis. It is also important in management of severe pain associated with chronic degenerative arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Often depression, anxiety, insomnia chronic fatigue syndrome and other neurological disorders are helped greatly by the nutrients in the Meyer's Cocktail.

IV Vitamin C along with Vitamin K3 can be an important adjunctive therapy in treating cancer. Numerous studies have shown that Vitamin C at very high doses intravenously act as a chemotherapeutic agent specific to cancer cells and not to normal healthy cells. Conventional chemotherapy along with IV Vitamin C therapy increases survival rate of cancer patients and is significantly more effective in reducing tumor size than chemotherapy on its own.

In Parkinson's, IV nutrient therapies are used to decrease the progress of the disease and to diminish symptoms including tremors.

Glutathione intravenously is extremely effective in reducing depression and balancing the serotonin levels in the brain.

IV Chelating agents and minerals are indicated in heavy metal toxicity.

Fern Life Center has many different IV nutrient protocols including but not limited to:

  • Amino Acids
  • Glutathione
  • Vitamin C/Vitamin K3
  • Meyer's Cocktail
  • Chelating agents
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Minerals
  • Multi-vitamins

Are there any contra-indications to IV therapy?

The majority of people can tolerate most IV nutrient therapies. Occasionally, an individual may have a severe allergy to a nutrient and therefore should not receive the injection with that nutrient. If you suffer from kidney or heart disease or high blood pressure some of the nutrient IV's may not be right for you.

The providers and technicians at Fern Life Center have had extensive training in the use and administration of IV Nutrient Therapy. Your nurse practitioner will decide which, if any, of the protocols are right for you.

Are there any complications from IV therapy?

Local complications and more systemic complications can occur. Local complications such as pain at the site of injection can occur as well as swelling of the area if the IV fluid has leaked into the surrounding injection site tissue. Bruising can occur at the site of injection. Occasionally, a vein may become irritated or inflamed. This is called phlebitis. If there is pain, fever and redness streaking up from the site of injection within a few hours after the injection therapy, there may be an infection and your medical provider should be notified immediately. Most other local complications will resolve with very little intervention.

Systemic complications include anaphylactic allergy to a substance, vasovagal response (fainting spells), systemic infections, and increase stress on heart and kidneys if there is a previous history of kidney or heart conditions.

Generally, IV nutrition therapy is well tolerated with minimum occurrences of complications.

Is IV therapy covered by my medical insurance?

Most medical insurances do not cover IV nutrients. However, medical flex plans do often reimburse you for IV therapy. Fees for IV nutrients are variable depending on the substance and amount of time involved in dispensing these therapies. Therefore, payment at time of service is expected. A super-bill receipt will be given to you for you to send to your insurance for reimbursement.