I love it when listeners leave questions – the questions are always interesting and thought provoking and it helps me to understand what you’re interested in, so if you have a question for me please use the video ask feature at tohealthwiththat.com. I try to do at least one listener questions episode per quarter.
Detoxing Arsenic Toxicity with MTHFR
Someone wrote in with the question:
Hi, what would be the best option for detoxing arsenic toxicity?
Great question, human. It probably goes without saying, but finding the source of all of that arsenic is probably a great first step. Arsenic can come from drinking water, especially if you’re on a well, contaminated food, and even some medications. But step one is always going to be to minimize your exposure as much as you can.
Arsenic does rely on the MTHFR enzyme in that it needs SAMe to be detoxified so step two is going to be to work on optimizing your methylation. Make sure you’re getting all the b vitamins and right dose of methylfolate or another methylation driver for your body. Arsenic also needs glutathione for detox and so the GST gene SNP also has an effect here, specifically GSTO1.
Anything that will boost your glutathione will help your body to eliminate arsenic, and that includes getting adequate selenium. A wonderful longitudinal study published in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed that higher selenium status in people with chronic arsenic exposure was protective against arsenic induced skin lesions. Other things you can do to boost your glutathione include NAC, which I feel like I’m forever talking about.
NAC, along with selenium, is necessary to make glutathione. It competes with other proteins, so it’s best taken on an empty stomach. You can also take a liposomal glutathione if you don’t tolerate NAC, but it tends to be a bit harder on the wallet.
Boosting other antioxidants seems to help arsenic toxicity as well – vitamins A, C, and E were all mentioned in the research, along with reducing factors that make arsenic toxicity worse like cigarette smoking.
So in short, make sure your folate status and methylation are in place. Boost your selenium and glutathione precursors, and get your antioxidants. Above all, avoid arsenic.
Mercury Toxicity and MTHFR
“Hey Amy, my name is Clair and I have been sick most of my life. I got diagnosed with MTHFR C677T roughly 8 years ago but before that I got tested and had severe mercury poisoning and went through chelation therapy. That was 20 years ago. I just started some adrenal treatment and they found that I have it again and I just keep thinking that the root cause of all of this is MTHFR, so why am I not treating that? I know that I cannot take a lot of folate. I’m just highly sensitive to everything. I don’t know if I’m an overmethylator or an undermethylator. Which level do you think I should join?
Amazing question, Claire. Honestly i do think MTHFR is behind a lot of what is going on – this repeating mercury toxicity really drags your system down and it sounds like it’s been hard for you to get methylation drivers in there.
I feel like your best course of action would be to actually work one-on-one, simply because you have two big medical things – the mercury toxicity and the adrenal fatigue – going on with the MTHFR and it’s best to have someone like me or another experienced practitioner looking at the big picture.
In a situation like this, doing it yourself can be a bit dicey because with mercury toxicity, anything that actually pushes your body to detoxify – like balancing your methylation – is also a little bit scary because there are some big bad toxins in there. So it has to be done gently and slowly over time. Chelation for mercury is a good option if you have a dangerous level of mercury, but it is harsh and it can strip other minerals from your body and so it isn’t a great long-term solution.
Have you discussed fibromyalgia? I had it but was able to reverse it. After a quick scroll through your podcast I’m really interested to hear your thoughts about fibro and how it forms and if you think it can be reversed. Oh .. I’m a 49 year old male and former professional football player… So not your typical fibro sufferer.
This is a great question, Dan and honestly it deserves an entire podcast season to itself, but I’ll offer some thoughts.
It absolutely can be reversed – you are proof and I’ve seen a number of clients who have been able to master fibromyalgia and move on.
In terms of how fibromyalgia forms. There are so many theories, and as is the case in a lot of complex disease, like autoimmunity or chronic fatigue, I think it’s never just one thing. I think there is always a combination. There are some gene SNPs that have been associated – the only one we’ve talked about here is COMT. MTHFR, so far as research has shown to date, isn’t linked.
Other factors that I believe play a role are:
- Neurotransmitter imbalance
- Past trauma
- Magnesium deficiency or excess calcium
- Sleep defecit
- Hormonal imbalance
As you can see, it’s a long list and not every person suffering with fibromyalgia will have all of those factors, and some of them will have other disease processes that play in. Also, this is mostly a connective tissue disease and while we don’t really understand why the connective tissue here becomes so reactive and congested, it is clear that it does and that must be directly addressed. I feel like fibromyalgia is a whole person condition and so things that benefit the whole person will work best. This includes:
- Finding and eliminating food sensitivities – this is huge in fibromyalgia.
- Balancing magnesium levels
- Lots and lots of bodywork
- Balancing hormones if that is a factor. This includes thyroid and adrenals.
- Working on sleep quality and quantity
- Neurotransmitters and also therapy if it’s appropriate.
The path is going to be different for everyone struggling with fibromyalgia, but it is really important to look at it as a combination of factors. There isn’t just one thing, the person as a whole has to be healed.