March 21, 2015
[01:31] Dr. Greg Mongeon
[04:08] Why Do Heavy Metal Testing
[07:19] Provoked Versus Non-Provoked Urine Test
[11:13] Is DMSA Safe
[13:58] What To Do When Things Are Outside The Reference Range
[16:29] Dr. Greg's Preferred Chelation Process
[19:47] IV Chelation
[21:21] Chelating With A Person Who Has Dental Fillings
[24:45] How Dr. Greg Checks If What He Does Is Working
[30:12] Heavy Metals and The Blood-Brain Barrier
[34:58] Other Things People Have To Know About Chelation
[39:45] End of Podcast
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast:
“Yeah. So from a standpoint of hair products, washes, scrubs, makeups, that's what they said, 518 chemicals, and half of that for men.” “They put fillings in goats and they put similar fillings in monkeys. And what they did is they used, I believe a radioactive isotope, and then they did the body scans of these animals, and they found that mercury, like things like the kidney, the large intestine, the jaw, from where it was at, and also like in the hypothalamus and pituitary.” “What the research shows if someone's ever of lived in or currently lives in a house built prior to 1978, there is a lead in the water supply joint of the plumbing of that home.”
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield, and my guest today is actually a guy who I met down in Kona at Ironman Hawaii one year. We actually roomed together at his place, I crashed on the couch, as a matter of fact, in a condo with him and his family, and this guy is not only an Ironman triathlete, and I know he's done a ton of half Ironman and other triathlon events as well, but he's also the team doc for the pro cycling team at competitivecyclist.com, works with a lot of athletes, and of course he, himself does quite a bit of training as well. Now I have sitting on my desk right in front of me a test that this guy, Dr. Greg Mongeon, sent over to me and it's a bottle with some kind of like a detoxificant in it or something along those lines, I'll let him explain a little better. It's like a heavy metal detox occasion agent, and it's this six hour provoked urine challenge test with these complex instructions in which I'm supposed to take a prescribed mega dose of these capsules, and then pee for the next six hours, anytime I pee into this orange collection container, and honestly it's one of those things where it's like sitting on my desk, staring me in the face, and I haven't yet started into it 'cause honestly up I wanted to get on this podcast first with Dr. Greg and talk about heavy metal testing and heavy metal detoxification, whether we really need to be doing these complex tests like this, and what we get out of them, and what's the right way, the wrong way to test whether you have heavy metals and also to chelate, or get rid of those heavy metals.
So that being said, I'm going to shove this giant box of test stuff to the side so it doesn't tip over while we're talking here. Just wanted to have it on my desk to remind me to ask you about it, Dr. Greg. Let's jump in right there. There's a lot of different ways that people could test for heavy metals. Like, I even had a person recently on the podcast who does hair testing. Can you talk about heavy metals and why people would want to test for these things in the first place, and why you choose this specific test?
Dr. Greg: Hey, Ben. Awesome. Great to be on the show with you. It'd probably be more fun if we were both sitting in Kona right now at the coffee boat.
Ben: That'd be preferable, yeah.
Dr. Greg: Diving for the goggles at the bottom. Heavy metal, it's one of these things where in my years of doing functional medicine, people have this concept, we're all told that we're toxic. The question I always ask them is, “Well what are you toxic in? How toxic are you in it? How are you going to detoxify? And when do you know you're done detoxifying?” It's kind of this catchphrase term. Heavy metal toxicity is something that, it's nothing new. However, a lot of natural practitioners don't go there because the reality of it is it's a tiptoeing effect, and most people don't do it at the right timing, and some people are absolutely not appropriate to even step into this world. Why we use urine, most people, when they get a test with a doctor, they're expected that like even blood, for example, is the gold standard. Yet as we learn about blood biochemistry, what we're learning is that your body is so protective of its blood and how it works that if you actually have, if you go to your medical doctor and you get a heavy metal test done with blood and you have heavy metal in your blood, what we know is that you have an acute toxicity, and that's a significant issue, and that has men to be dealt with in more of an emergency situation.
Ben: How would somebody get an acute toxicity to heavy metals, like aside from, I don't know, sucking on a thermometer?
Dr. Greg: You think back of the days of playing with those thermometers. That's a great question. What we've seen is, for example, anything from a person getting significant dental work done and they are already immunocompromised. I've worked with some people that work in manufacturing industries and that have been some “chemical spills”, and they've had some toxicity from those standpoints. It's super uncommon though, and that's why we don't test the blood. What the blood does when it has heavy metal in it is it will disperse it into its body tissues. And that's why we use, I like to use, the urine, and I've done hair before, there's also something called a urine porphyrin test. The reason that we check urine in this stamp, you guys heard Ben talk about a challenge test, when I first got into doing heavy metal testing, I was in what's called a “Defeat Autism Now! Doctor”. I went through all this special training to work with mostly children on the autistic spectrum. And what I would do initially with this testing is we would do both a provoked and also a non-provoked test. And after about 500 of these, Ben, what I found out is if people had the ability to detoxify these metals on their own, we would never probably have the need to do a provoked test. So what I saw, several hundred times later, was non-provoked test that showed that the person really didn't have a lot of heavy metals, and then we provoked them with some form of a detoxifying agent, and then that question asked this, “With a little bit of help, then what can the body get rid of?” And it also gives us an idea as to what agent to use when the body's ready to actually get rid of some of these metals.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So what does that mean, provoked versus unprovoked?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. So provoked means we actually give a person, in this case DMSA, we give them a very specific dose of DMSA, and then for the next six hours…
Ben: What's DMSA?
Dr. Greg: DMSA is a sulfur-containing detoxifying agent that is known to go, the other word that you gave before was chelate, and chelate is the fancy term of physically going in the body and binding to certain components, and in many cases, certain minerals. And chelation will actually get rid of a lot of good things too. So the chelation agent of DMSA, and there's several of them that are used, but we use that one because it's probably the easiest to use and it's the most legally available, even though right now it's under the scrutiny of some FDA work. There's a couple supplement companies that are no longer carrying it because they don't want to play that game. So we give that to you, and then for the next six hours we collect every drop of pee that you excrete, and then we send that off to a lab in Illinois called Doctor's Data, and they're able to come in and give us some pretty good numbers, gives us a reference range because you should have something in your body. Welcome to this world. The average woman starts out with 518 chemicals every morning and men are half of that, so we still have exposures. So there's expected to be some levels, but they've done some pretty neat work to figure out what's acceptable and what's excessive from that standpoint.
Ben: Now when you say the average woman starts out with 518 chemicals every morning, what do you mean?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. So from a standpoint of hair products, washes, scrubs, makeups, that's what they said, 518 chemicals, and half of that for men.
Ben: Wow. That's crazy.
Dr. Greg: Yeah, it is. I completely agree with you. And even going through this whole world of toxic environments, I mean even out of the Journal of Environmental Health, and I can get you the resource for that, Ben, says that women between the ages of 65 to 87 with high lead levels were nearly 60% more likely to die during this 12 year old study. So there's some really interesting things that we look at, and there certain metals that we see more commonly on these tests. And there's other ones, like mercury for example, this particular test that we talked about is actually not a good test to check for mercury levels because we are starting to understand better where mercury is stored in the body. And if just giving DMSA is not a great measure to actually pull it, and the other thing we know is that your body is pretty protective of things like mercury. So one bolus dose at one point in time, your body is not just going to be ready, willing, and able to dump a huge load of mercury. So some people will do this test and they'll say, “Oh, my mercury was within normal range,” but then they might go into a chelation process and six months later they might come back and say, “Now why is my Mercury high? It wasn't high before.” And what that is, and we'll talk about this when we get into chelation, is you actually set up something called a concentration gradient in your body to start pulling some of these things out.
Ben: Interesting. So the basic way that this works then is you take the DMSA, that's binding to the metals, allowing them to be passed out in the urine, and you're then measuring what winds up in the urine?
Dr. Greg: Exactly. That's as simple as we can make it. And one of the reasons why I like this is, I mean when I work with even challenged populations or even young kids, it's a doable collection, it's something that's fairly easy to collect.
Ben: Now is it dangerous to use something as DMSA? Like if I'm taking something like this and it's somehow freeing up heavy metals to then get passed out in my urine, does that set me up for some kind of heavy metal toxicity, or allow for these metals to cross into my brain, or something like that as they're circulating around, getting freed up for passage into my urine?
Dr. Greg: That's a great question. And the answer in my professional opinion after doing this for 15 years is yes. A huge yes. And that's why I would never, please if you're listening to this podcast, please don't go out and buy a bottle of DMSA and do this test on yourself. Because we know that if you are immunocompromised, if your body is not super healthy, you could have a huge HERX reaction in giving yourself DMSA. And the other thing is if you don't have a good detoxification pathway set up, this can really just stir the pot and you can get a pretty pissed off hornet's nest by doing this. So that's one of the things that in my opinion, in the doing functional medicine with people, is there's a right and a wrong time to measure these things, and there's a right and a wrong time to even go after the chelation components. And there's a reason why the FDA has gone after it, dude. Because if used improperly, it can do some pretty nasty stuff.
Ben: Wow. Okay, cool. So you basically need to have a practitioner walk you through something like this. What's the name of this actual test kit, for example, that I have here that I know that you've been nagging me, I need to do it at some point here in the next few weeks. But what's this one called? Just a urine…
Dr. Greg: What it is, it's a 24-hour urine kit from Doctor's Data. However, because I've done thousands of these heavy metal tests, that's where that crazy sheet that I gave you with how to take your bolus dose and how to take follow up doses, so we've taken their basic test kit but then we have a proprietary way that we actually do the collection. Because I do this test on a lot of sick people, and honestly it's my license on the line to make sure that I'm doing it on the right people and supporting them through the process. So, yeah. And actually an average person can't just call Doctor's Data and get their own test kit, though there are many practitioners that successfully know how to do this type of work.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So one of the things you sent over that I'm going to put in the show notes for folks, and by the way if you're listening, you can access the show notes where I'll have a link to Dr. Greg's website along with some of the other resources we're about to delve into. The show notes are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/heavymetals, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/heavymetals. And one of the things that you sent over to me, Dr. Greg, is this sheet that's kind of like the results sheet someone would see if they were to get one of these urine heavy metal tests. Now on this sheet, it's showing things that are within the reference range and things that are outside the reference range far as metals go. If you look at a test like this and you see a bunch of stuff is outside the reference range, where do you start with? What do you do?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. First off, it's the timing of this test. Now people come to me clinically in two different fashions. One fashion is a person starts with me from ground zero, and they have X, Y, Z symptoms going on, and this is actually a test that I frankly never run right away because it's definitely an upstream type test. In the second breath, I have people that come to me that have done testing, that have this test done, then they have it sitting in front of me saying, and they're like, “What do I do about this?” So the cool thing that Doctor's Data does, so let's say that a person's high in the lead, when we get the results back, Doctor's Data has several sheets of paper that talk about possible sources where they might have got their lead, areas where they may continue to be exposed to lead, and also some pretty neat reference articles about the backing of that. We start with really what a person's done, what their goals are, what their symptoms are, we have to be really careful. ‘Cause in my opinion, the chelation process is very stressful on your body. Just like if I hired Ben Greenfield to do an Ironman but I haven't ran a block, you're going to start me out at the appropriate place.
So very much like when I work with people that have, even if I know they have obvious heavy metal exposure, many times we can't start with chelation. We have to start with way upstream things like looking at balancing their stress, how are they sleeping, what is their diet, what's your adrenal health, a lot of them have pathogens in their gut. So we can never start here yet. In many of my cases, especially my tough cases, this is definitely an area that we like to get to, yet some people come with kind of a preconceived notion that we're going to start chelation right away, and then after a little bit of education of them, they completely understand that you can't do that right away. We're not going on a 100 mile bike ride after you get your first bicycle.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Now if you were to chelate somebody, I know that I've talked to, for example, I had a guy named Dr. David Minkoff on the podcast a couple of years ago and he talked about this spray that he recommends called MetalFree because somehow that allows you to chelate the heavy metals without them winding up getting deposited in other areas of the body. And I know that in other cases things like spirulina has been recommended as like a natural way to chelate heavy metals. What do you like as far as the chelation process is concerned?
Dr. Greg: Dr. Minkoff is, dude's freaking brilliant. I currently do use some DMSA. However the way that we use DMSA, we use it orally. And the reason why we use it so differently is that people have to understand the half-life on it. One of the reasons why I do not do IV work, even though I'm not against IV work, is if we did IV DMSA, the half-life is only four hours. So in my opinion, a person gets too big of a dose and they don't dose frequently enough. Now the spray that Dr. Minkoff talks about is amazing, and actually I just sat through an awesome lecture with a Dr. Nikolaos and he actually has started his own nutraceutical company called Metron Nutraceuticals, and they are actually isolating a zeolite that has the ability, much like that spray that you're talking about, because what the issue with DMSA, Ben, in my opinion is that people use it but they forget that it also is attractive to many minerals in your body. So if you're not doing specific, what we call, “on cycles” and “off cycles”, one of the things that you notice on that sheet is we actually measure creatinine levels. So the question there is asking…
Ben: Yeah. I saw that.
Dr. Greg: Yeah. It's like, “Hey, man. Can your kidneys handle this? Is this going to be too much for your kidneys to do?” And again this is why when we go into the world of chelation, we got to be so specific, but yet there are some brand new research right now on these zeolites and how they are used. And I would agree with you, I think that we are finding ways because this whole world of heavy metal toxicity is becoming more in the forefront. I mean the World Health Organization just made a statement that says 82% of all chronic degenerative diseases are caused by environmental exposure to toxic metals. Now that's a bold statement.
Ben: Where did that statement appear?
Dr. Greg: From the World Health Organization, the WHO.
Ben: Really? Interesting.
Dr. Greg: Yeah! So this is where there's actually something called, and this is in the process, one of the group of doctors that I work with, we have actually exclusive rights to this stuff called hydrolized clinoptilolite fragments where they're actually taking a water solution of these zeolites and we're able to get, it's much easier on the body, you don't have to get up around the clock to take things, yet Dr. Minkoff is absolutely onto something that we need to find ways that, and we know that we're exposed to much more things than just mercury, and lead, and arsenic. I mean I have a functional medicine patient that grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and he grew up on the back of the spray coop without any protective garments on, and he played Rambo shooting weeds. And just the exposure from that is astronomical. So I'm excited to see the research coming out on more effective ways to actually, and safely, I mean if we have a five or six year old person that has the need to be tested and chelated, it's a lot easier to use a spray than it is to get them to choke down a horse pill of DMSA.
Ben: Now what about IV chelation? That's another thing that I've heard about being used for getting rid of heavy metals. What your opinion on IV chelation?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. First and foremost, my medical license does not allow me to do IV chelation. I think it's amazingly effective when there's a definitive acute exposure, again though, like what I talked about with the half-life of DMSA, or DMPS, or DBTA, what happens is, number one, it's expensive in most cases, number two, if a half-life is eight hours on like DMPS, you're not going to go get an IV every eight hours to go through a long enough on cycle. So I think it can be used very effectively and many doctors do use it effectively. It's not my wheelhouse; I've never done IV chelation with people just because we've gotten such good results with oral chelation at this point.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So we've got IV chelation, we have these like sprays. Is this oral chelation that you use one of these more like zeolite-based chelations?
Dr. Greg: Well the oral would be, the zeolite is actually a dropper, but the DMSA would be like the oral…
Ben: Okay. So the same DMSA that you use for the test is the DMSA that you use to actually chelate the heavy metals from the body?
Dr. Greg: And it would make sense that if we use this particular product, and this is what came out of you, that would be the product that we then use to actually go in and bind versus having some random product that we use and then we have no idea what to go after them with.
Ben: One of the big warnings that you hear about with chelation is that if you have metals in your mouth that you could potentially just like get this overload of metals in your body as you chelate. Is it safe to chelate if you have fillings?
Dr. Greg: I have never told anybody to chelate with heavy metals in their mouth. It doesn't make sense to me. So that's why when people work with me, I work very closely with biological dentists all around the United States, and I think I wrote down the, there's a website, I believe it's iaomt.org, which is the International Association of Toxic Medicine, we could put a link to it in there, but no. I specifically work with, no one does chelation until they have proper dental work done. It makes no sense to pull metals when they're sitting in your mouth. Dude, this is a whole another podcast, and I have conversations with local dentists and they get spitting mad at my face. The ADA's stance is still that mercury amalgam fillings are perfectly safe. However, man, it's just there's so much research that kind of, I strongly have to disagree with because the stuff is so, so straightforward.
Dr. Greg: Biological dentist.
Ben: Yeah, who's a biological dentist, or else a holistic dentist, but they do like mercury-free dentistry and use a lot of like fluoride-free products. I have a dentist who I visit here in Spokane when I do go to the dentist, which is honestly pretty rarely, who is a holistic dentist, and the same thing, like all biological compounds, and they really take into consideration the metal component and the fluoride component. So I'll put a link, that's iaomt.org. But you basically work with docs to make sure that the fillings are removed and replaced prior to doing any type of chelation?
Dr. Greg: You have to. And here's the thing. So even when a person goes in and gets dental work done, even if the biological dentist does all the appropriate things, there is still an exposure. So there are very specific protocols that I use with patients four weeks before the removal, and then we do specific work with them the day of the removal, and two days after the removal just to make darn sure that any exposure that they might have had during the procedure doesn't continue to adversely affect them. Man, it is not to be taken lightly. And Ben, it's not just a silver filling, bro. I mean someone could have a silver filling underneath a crown that could also affect them a bunch, and then we could get in the conversation of root canals and what they do, but I think that would be a whole another podcast in and of itself also.
Ben: Now I've got some questions for you about what happens after the testing and after the chelation. One of the things that, of course, we're big on in this day and age is quantification, like how can we actually see that what we're doing is producing some kind of a result. Do you do any kind of testing, like heart rate variability testing, or performance evaluations, or follow-up health evaluations, or ways that you can see that, for example, going through a heavy metal detox has actually produced changes? I mean, you can even look at like sleep tracking, and testing, and things of that nature. What do you do afterwards to see if what you're doing is actually working?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. I love it, Ben. Kind of my mantra that I've used for the last 15 years is, “Don't guess, test.” Because someone comes in and they think, “I want to feel better.” I'm like, “Well, you could go have a nice glass of wine and have an evening with your wife, and you would feel better.” So part of it is (a) we rerun the test, the actual test itself, so we quantifiably prove to them that they have things like less metals in their system. But when we do the specific work with like the Competitive Cyclist, the pro race team, these are people that are crushing the work with heart rate variability. And what we're seeing, as you understand 'cause you've got the app, that Roxon, that's what they're all using right now, is the NatureBeat app, is that their nervous system is just less stressed, and their ability to recover is that because they don't have the stressor in their system. The other thing that we're fine with this is, in my other population of people that are a lot of times taking things like synthetic hormones, or medications, again my degree does not allow me to change prescriptions or do any of that, what we find though is that when we decrease the body's load from a toxic standpoint, that their cells become more sensitive to anything that they're doing. And they have anything from decreasing the medications, to getting off medications with the supervision of their doctor, yet then when I have my more quantifying elite athletes, that's when we're seeing things like even faster times, we're seeing quicker recovery, and then more quantifiable things like the HRV, which is just an amazing tool. And people love getting up every morning and putting their heart rate strap on and seeing what's going on.
Ben: How do you quantify or look at what you just described as far as the cells are concerned?
Dr. Greg: That's a good question. So what we're doing with that is a little bit higher-end. You had a podcast on a while back where someone was doing things like organic acid testing, so we're doing more advanced testing for those people that we need bigger answers on. So we can run ion profiles, I know you're familiar with some of those, we can run some very extrinsic profiles and see where people are at. I also like to run hormone profiles, more advanced hormone profiles, whether it's a stress hormone profile, or we can run hormone profiles that are much more advanced. What that tells us is (a) how the body is figuring out the metabolites of the hormones, and it also lets us know how sensitive the cell is to extracellular hormones, and that allows us to really get an idea of how well the cell itself is doing from that standpoint.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So have you, yourself gone through this heavy metals test and found out things that are happening in your environment or in your body?
Dr. Greg: Absolutely. When we did the work, I grew up in a small coal mining town in North Dakota, and mercury is a huge byproduct of the coal industry. And then I chose to live in northern Minnesota for a period of time, by iron ore mines. As we dug into the research on lead toxicity, we understand that lead is actually mostly stored in the bone structure. And when moms are pregnant, they give a pretty substantial amount of the matrix of their bone to their baby. And what we also know is that the first born male gets the biggest dose of mom's lead because of the hormonal components. So I'm actually the third born son of my mother and her fifth pregnancy, my mom had two miscarriages. And when I did my initial test, Ben, my lead was almost off the charts.
Dr. Greg: But I didn't have all these, what would be called, lead toxicity issues. I had none of those quite frankly. However, a fairly significant portion of my patients, the clients I coach are people that just say, “Hey, man. Prove to me that I'm healthy or not, and let's quantify it, and let's go after it.” However, you kind of get used to who you are and what you live in, so as I've gone through over the last three or four years, chelation by the way, it's not a 30, 60, 90 day program. You first start chelation by actually going after the tissues in your body that we call the body tissues, and what we mean by that is any tissue other than the brain. We try to do our best early on to not cross the blood-brain barrier because we would never want a huge dump of metals into, for example, a leaky gut because you could raise holy terror. And even the concept of auto reintoxication where if someone is not having really good bowel movements, their body will redistribute those metals. So you have to be really careful of that. Long story short, I've been digging into it. I'm a couple years in and my levels now are within the reference. However, I like that you don't live in a hermetically sealed envelope, so it's a case where probably once a year, or once every six months, I will do what we call an “on cycle” where I will ramp up my body's concentration gradient and go ahead and do a short ramp of chelation just to make sure that my body is continuing to do what it's designed to do all by itself.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Now you mentioned something important there about the blood-brain barrier and the concern there about heavy metals interacting with that. Can you go into a bit more detail what you mean there?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. We have to be careful about going after people's brains. We also know that they actually did some pretty interesting research in this world of like silver fillings, because what they're honestly saying right now, Ben, is the greatest impact that we have from a mercury standpoint, roughly 52% of a “silver filling” is mercury. What they also know, they did studies, and for those that love animals, I apologize, I didn't do the studies, I just read it, but they put fillings in goats and they put silver fillings in monkeys. And what they did is they used I believe a radioactive isotope and then they did body scans of these animals, and they found that mercury, like things like the kidney, like the large intestine, like the jaw from where it was at, and also like the hypothalamus and pituitary. And when you understand, you look at a lot of middle aged people that have endocrine issues, if you're tweaking the ability of the hypothalamus and the pituitary to do what it's supposed to do, it changes everything. So we have to make darn sure that the body itself is clean, clear, and then crossing the blood-brain barrier with something like alpha-lipoic acid is done several months into the program. And then when you do that, you have to be really careful because some people will have pretty significant reactions and you have to alter doses quite a bit. But the ability to tap into the brain and pull things from there is something you need to do, but you have to be really careful about when you do it.
Ben: What are some of the other areas that you've found people to be getting lots of heavy metal exposure?
Dr. Greg: So mercury from fillings is very well-known. And the other thing that, lead is probably the most common thing that I see with people that have toxic of. And the best area that I'm seeing, what the research shows if someone's ever lived in or currently lives in a house built prior to 1978, there is lead in the water supply joints of the plumbing of that home, and that can also be a significant source of lead. And we're actually not too far removed from things like leaded gasoline and some of these other components. It's also fun, because I get to treat people actually all around the world, is I see geographical distributions of certain things. Like for example, I treat a handful of people from a little area in the middle of Nebraska, and oddly enough, they don't know each other and they were never related, yet they all have elevated arsenic in their body. So either someone was trying to poison this entire community with arsenic or there is more than likely arsenic in their groundwater in small amounts.
Ben: Yeah. I talked about this when I had the person who did the hair mineral analysis, Wendy, and she had informed me that, for example, my hair showed high levels of manganese, and I went out and got my well water tested, and you would think this pristine well water flowing over the spring 700 feet below the ground, that it'd just be perfect water, right? But there are high levels of manganese in the water. And I'm currently going through the process of having it tested for all radiological compounds and metals just because I've realized that I live on this north facing slope. There is a bunch of like farmland, and personal residences with huge yards, and things like that about a half mile up the slope, and it's certainly possible that a lot of what they're doing, chemicals they're using, products they have are just basically flowing downhill and leaching into my well water.
Dr. Greg: You are so exactly right, Ben. I actually treat a guy that owns a septic company. And he talked about the septic systems that what he called sick people, or people that took a bunch of pharmaceutical medications, and he said it's the most difficult septic system to regulate and manage because the biochemistry of it is so impossible to work with. So yeah, the reality is that you have this ability to get so many things. The other thing that we see is when I lived up in Duluth, Minnesota, we had people that would get parasites in their wells. I mean we had a family that had giardia in their well.
Dr. Greg: Yeah. You have this beautiful 700-foot deep well and you just assume that the magical filtration system that gets down to that takes everything out, but man, we're living in a different world.
Ben: Wow. Okay. So anything else that people should know here as far as warnings when it comes to heavy metal detoxes, warnings when it comes to chelation, things they should know about as far as the right way versus the wrong way to chelate, anything else that people should know?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. I think the biggest thing is just don't go do it on yourself. Please, after hearing this podcast, don't go run to your dentist and have 'em tear all your silver fillings out, don't go and Google chelation and just start on yourself. There's a right and wrong time to do it, and I just, in my opinion, it's worth having a coach alongside you that's done it thousands of times and knows the ins and out of it. However, I think it needs to be on our radar. I honestly feel that with what we're exposed to these days, this needs to be something that a person says, “Yeah, I've read about that and I've heard about that. I'm just really trying to figure out when the right time for me to do that is.”
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now I know that in addition to the sample report that you sent over to me and some of the other research that we talked about, like iaomt.org, MetalFree, the NatureBeat app, some of the things that we talked about during the discussion, you also have your website at drmongeon.com. That's DRMONGEON.com, and I'll put this in the show notes for folks. But if you go there and you want to do an evaluation with Dr. Mongeon, he'll give you 100 bucks off. The code you use over there on his site is BEN100 and you get 100 bucks off doing your own metal detox. And do you walk people through the report, like on the phone, or on Skype, or something afterwards, Dr. Greg?
Dr. Greg: Yeah. So what I do with people is, the first thing, that initial evaluation, it's by far my most favorite part of being a doc. What I get to do there is just really have an authentic conversation of where a person's been, I mean I'll ask, you get a six sheet questionnaire where I will literally ask you questions that you've never been asked before because I need to have a true understanding of what you've been exposed to. So that includes, yeah, it includes about 30 to 50-ish minutes of our time going through that intake. And then what I do is I need to truly figure out what is the next best step. I'm really conservative doc. One of the things I think that sets me apart is when I actually do work with people clinically is every single one of my programs starts with a fast, some specific form of a fast because what we know, Ben, without a doubt is if we don't get ahold of the gut and how it works, nothing else holds wind to it.
So we start off after that initial time together where I get an idea of family history, what you've been exposed to, what you've tried, people will fax me their labs, is I'll figure out, my goal is to ask what is the one best test that we can do next that will give us the most information and give us the most usable clinical information to take this person to the next step. What it also does is it allows me to figure out what fast and what dietary approach we can use that person to support that work. So the idea it's not just, what I say is I'm not a “supplement for a symptom”. It's always “it's got to be a game plan”, and people need to understand too that if they're going to work with someone like myself, it's a process. This is not a “I'm the doctor, you're the patient, just do whatever I say,” but it's a process where we walk through and truly help you get the life that you were truly designed to have. But yeah, we love that component. So the fee for the initial eval is normally $395, but with my work with you Ben and really appreciate what you're doing, we're going to give people 100 bucks off that just to kind of take out any chances that they may have of thinking it may not be for them, but to truly take that step for themselves.
Ben: Right. Cool. Well like I said, I haven't done this test that you sent over to me. It's just one of those things that's on my radar. And now that I understand it a little bit better and the idea behind it, I'm going to do it this week, and if you're listening into this podcast, usually when I do tests like this, I'll report the results on the comments section, or sometimes over on Facebook, or whatever. So stay tuned to find out what I discover from my heavy metal testing. But if you want to do this yourself, if you're concerned about things that you're exposed to, whether you live in a pristine area like I do and you're concerned about your well water or perhaps what farms around you might be exposing you to, or if you live in an urban environment and you want to know what it is that's in your body that you may need to actually do some kind of a chelation therapy for and you want somebody to walk you through it, Dr. Greg knows this stuff really well. So check it out. drmongeon.com is web site, we'll put links to everything at bengreenfieldfitness.com/heavymetals. And Dr. Greg, thanks for coming on, man.
Dr. Greg: Ben, always good to hear you and hope to catch up with you in Hawaii soon.
Ben: Alright, folks. This is Dr. Greg and Ben Greenfield signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Heavy metals are no joke (and despite popular belief, they're not invisible, woo-woo compounds that only biohackers worry about). In a recent Molecular, Clinical and Environmental Toxicology journal article Heavy Metals Toxicity and the Environment, the authors report that:
“Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements that have a high atomic weight and a density at least 5 times greater than that of water. Their multiple industrial, domestic, agricultural, medical and technological applications have led to their wide distribution in the environment; raising concerns over their potential effects on human health and the environment. Their toxicity depends on several factors including the dose, route of exposure, and chemical species, as well as the age, gender, genetics, and nutritional status of exposed individuals. Because of their high degree of toxicity, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury rank among the priority metals that are of public health significance. These metallic elements are considered systemic toxicants that are known to induce multiple organ damage, even at lower levels of exposure. They are also classified as human carcinogens (known or probable) according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This review provides an analysis of their environmental occurrence, production and use, potential for human exposure, and molecular mechanisms of toxicity, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity.”
Since it's been a little while since we've visited the topic of heavy metals, and since I've personally found everything from high levels of bacterial iron to manganese in my own well water, I figured I'd bring on an expert doc when it comes to the topic of heavy metal testing and chelation.
My guest, Dr. Greg Mongeon is a wellness physician who has been providing healthcare services for more than a decade. He's an Ironman triathlete, team doc for CompetitiveCyclist, and incredibly proficient at diagnosing the hidden root cause of numerous health challenges by utilizing cutting-edge diagnostic approaches with research-based laboratory analysis.
During our discussion, Dr. Greg and I talk about…
-The urine heavy metal test kit Dr. Greg sent me, and how I'm supposed to be using it..
-How you test for heavy metals, and the important difference between provoked and non-provoked testing…
-What chelation is and what products are used to chelate, including the warnings about DMSA…
-Who should be concerned about heavy metal toxicity…
-Why heavy metal testing is NOT for everyone…
-How long it takes to properly chelate heavy metals…
-Why IV Chelation can be dangerous…
-If it's safe to chelate if you have silver fillings in your mouth…
-And much more!
Resources we discuss in this episode:
-If you want Dr. Greg to walk you through your own heavy metal testing, then visit DrMongeon.com. An initial evaluation is normally $395, but if you enter code “Ben100”, you will receive $100 off your evaluation.
-The heavy metal chelation spray called MetalFree.
–iaomt.org for biological dentistry.
-Here's what a sample urine toxic metals report looks like: