I “met” Dr. Teitelbaum online when he featured my questions in the August 2008 publication of his newsletter. It was stunning to see my name as I was reading his latest tips! The webpage on which I had submitted my message did say that some may be published but I was so sure this would not include mine that I hadn’t bothered to avoid my real name.
I’m a little less guarded now, as the existence of this blog proves! Plus, I’m on a mission. So here’s the aforementioned message together with Dr. T’s reply:
Dear Dr. Teitelbaum,
Thank you so much for writing your book. After years of disabling fatigue that prevents me from earning a living, and seeing doctors who either dismissed me or were able to help me improve but not recover, I had a really good cry (and a tantrum) when you described my experience without ever having met me. I have now put a treatment protocol together for myself based on your book and my experience. It’s only day 2 but I’m feeling optimistic.
My question is about heavy metals. You make no mention of them on your website or in your book but I’ve been told by more than one doctor that I have high levels of lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium which are contributing to my fatigue and that they have to be removed. When I found your book, I had put a hold on going through a second course of chelation therapy (using DMSA orally) because I simply didn’t have the strength. Can you enlighten me on this issue? Is it possible that my body can naturally get rid of the heavy metal toxicity once it’s functioning properly? Are you aware of a gentler method of successfully removing heavy metals?
Thank you again for your work.
This is an important issue. The role of chemicals and toxic metals in contributing to chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia is significant. On the other hand, many people seem to be handling them just fine. So the questions become:
1. How can you tell if somebody has heavy metal or chemical toxicity? The answer medically is that you really can’t. The current testing (which is usually a urine test after being challenged with the chelating agent) has not had any appropriate normal ranges developed. Instead, most doctors simply use the normal range for a non-challenge test—which is simply totally unreliable. In fact, the lab reports will often state in bold type “normal range is not to be used for challenged testing.” I suspect that almost everybody would test positive with that kind of testing—even if they’re totally healthy. Nonetheless many excellent doctors continue to use this kind of test. In fact, I put out a challenge grant from our foundation to have somebody derive appropriate normal ranges for this testing—but nobody has taken me up on it yet.
2. Will chelation help me to feel better? There is a good chance it will. Regardless of the test results, detoxification can be helpful in CFS and fibromyalgia (and in general for folks). I prefer, however, to begin detoxification by eliminating infections (especially in the intestines), restoring nutritional support, eliminating unnecessary toxins in the environment, and using saunas or other approaches to stimulate sweating—which has been shown to eliminate many toxins from the body (in addition to the heavy metals that chelation would eliminate).
I think chelation is a helpful and underused approach to the treatment of heart disease. When it comes to CFS and fibromyalgia, I think it can be helpful but I find other treatments to be more effective and cost-effective. In addition, medical boards like to take away the licenses of doctors who do chelation (not for any good medical reason—it’s simply politically unpopular and medical boards have the right to do whatever they want—no matter how irresponsible). Because of this, it is not something I recommend routinely for patients or physicians. I suspect you’ll find that you can get better without the chelation, and I am not at all convinced that most people who have been told they have heavy metal toxicity based on urine testing actually do.
Love and blessings,
I myself am fascinated to see this snapshot of where I was in July 2008 …