What is a Flint parent to do? Can you get rid of lead?

Are the children of Flint, Michigan really doomed to a life of neurological damage and therapy? Or is there a way to get rid of the lead? Will getting rid of the lead in the body reverse the neurological damage? Is there a pediatrician who can help? These questions must be at the top of the minds of Flint Parents.

I’ve spent years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars trying to figure out these answers. Why? My oldest child is lead toxic from all the years I spent at MIT working with lead-based solder in a non-ventilated lab. I gave 2/3 of my toxic lead burden to her [1].  Her symptoms were the usual culprits – full blown autism, digestive problems, eczema, abdominal pains, and mood problems.

Can Neurological Damage Be Reversed?

We have anecdotal evidence from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride that it is possible to reverse neurological damage before age 8. After age 8, she claims, there is usually permanent brain damage [2]. Her suggested treatments are neither easy nor short.  But she’s only one doctor, and is she really right?  There are few studies on neurological damage and the influence of heavy metals. According to Dr. Martha M Grout, MD, “The treatment just doesn’t happen to fall within the clinical guidelines of medical establishment. “ So we don’t know much, and we don’t have many practitioners working on this topic. Like all parents, I want to do the best I can for my children. So what is my strategy?  I’m going to try to get out as much lead as possible before age 8.

Can And How Does The Body Get Rid Of Lead?

There are drugs available that can help pull heavy metals out of the body, in a process called chelation. The media is quoting this single 2003 study claiming that chelation therapy won’t help. The study administered a single chelating agent, called DMSA, for about 3 months. To pull out enough lead to make a difference will take 2-3 years, according to the average answer of four chelation-practicing MDs that I’ve interviewed.  So one wouldn’t expect the 3 months of chelation therapy in this study to help.

The four chelation-practiticing MDs that I have interviewed all have different protocols for getting rid of lead. There is little consensus, and their opinions often contradict each other. Each chelation protocol was rather complex, usually consisting of various supplements as well as a chelation drug. How does one find out what is true and which chelation protocol might be able to help? Well, being an engineer, I did some lead chelation ‘trials’ on my family.  

First off, I supported their excretory pathways with detoxification and drainage work. When chelating drugs bind to metals, they need to be excreted. If they are not excreted, they can build up in the bloodstream, and even worse, settle somewhere else in the body. This support consisted of things like a clean diet, correcting mineral imbalances, skin brushing, and homeopathic drainage remedies [3].

Once the children were draining and detoxing well, I gave them various chelating agents. I measured the amount of lead they excreted compared to the amount of lead they excreted on their own, i.e. their ‘Baseline Excretion,’ without taking a chelating agent. I did this experiment for the homeopathic chelator Pleo Chelate combined with homeopathic UNDAs, E3 Live which is a natural fresh algae product, and DMSA, which is the same chemical chelation drug used in the 2003 study.

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All of the chelating agents pulled out more lead than the children were naturally excreting on their own. Notice that there is generally less lead coming out over time in the above graph. I believe this is because most of the circulating, easily-available lead has already been excreted. The process of lead diffusing out of the bones, organs and tissues takes time. The 2003 study indicates the time constant of this process might be around 6 months.

Interestingly, DMSA does seem to be good at pulling out lead through the urine. But if you look at the fecal data, there is also quite a bit being pulled out in the feces, especially for E3 Live. Each of the four chelation-practicing MDs who I interviewed had completely different theories about the amount of lead excreted in the urine compared to the feces. Some of them claimed that all the lead comes out in the urine. The author of this article does too.

Again, trying to figure out the truth, I back-calculated from our results how much lead is excreted in the urine vs. the feces for DMSA and E3 Live. My assumptions are that the children excrete the same amount of lead in the urine and feces all day as they did in their test samples. The amount of dry weight of stool per day was 150grams for adults, and the urine per day was 1.5 Liters for adults. I scaled these numbers by body weight for children. Here are my results:

 

 Lead Chelation Urine [ug/day] (% of total) Fecal [ug/day] (% of total)
Husband – DMSA Challenge Test 30 (30%) 699 (70%)
8-year-old – DMSA 62mg bid, during actual chelation protocol 0.334 (1%) 23 (99%)
8-year-old – E3 Live 1T/day 0.34 (1%) 37 (99%)
5-year-old – E3 Live 2T/day 0.305 (0.3%) 98.5 (99.7%)
5-year-old – E3 Live 1T/day 0.45 (0.6%) 80.5 (99.4%)

 

Interestingly, both E3 Live and DMSA appear to pull out more lead by weight fecally than they do through the kidneys. This is not well known, emphasizing the point that chelation therapy is not well understood in general.

The Answer For My Children

So, what to do as a parent of a lead poisoned child? Each parent has to decide for themselves. But for me personally, I’ve been slowly pulling the lead out of my children for almost 2 years now. I support their detoxification and drainage, and use a chelating agent to speed up excretion. I monitor their kidney function with blood tests. I want to give them and their children the best future possible. So even if it takes a few years of work, I’m going for it.

 

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Click here for References+

  1. Results published online at: Chelation Therapy: Heavy Metals Passed Down at Birth
  2. Campbell-McBride, Natasha “Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia,” Medinform Publishing, 2010.
  3. Details of detoxification and drainage support during chelation therapy can be found here:Chelation Therapy: Components of a Successful Chelation Program

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Susan Luschas, PhD, is an MIT-trained scientist and engineer. She was forced to apply her critical thinking skills to debug her own family's health problems. She has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of her life on doctors, experiments, and research. She didn't stop until her family achieved radiant health. Doctors started sending their un-healable patients to her. In January 2016 she published everything she knows for free, about Chelation Therapy and many other topics, on the website Debug Your Health.