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.