Many of you know that we are currently (for the most part) following the GAPS diet, primarily to help Ben (my husband) heal from years of yeast issues, fatigue, and food allergies. We’ve been on it for about 6 weeks now, and have had limited success. I’ve felt, for awhile, like something was missing, some crucial piece of information that would explain why he was making little progress and regressed so easily if we “cheated” at all. But nothing I read about quite fit.
Then, last Friday, Ben went to see our accupuncturist, who did muscle testing, and determined that he has arsenic poisoning. Arsenic is a naturally-occurring element, which is often present in well water, especially in third-world countries, but also here. High-dose exposure kills people quickly. However, very low-dose, long-term exposure simply builds up in the body and causes health problems over time. Symptoms include soreness, fatigue, skin rashes, dry/itchy/thickened skin, fertility problems, hearing problems, digestive distress, poor nutrient absorption, and more. Eventually, it causes diabetes, cancer, and liver failure.
In case you’re wondering, Ben also had blood, hair, and urine tests completed in the past which corroborate this diagnosis. It also matches his symptoms well, and feels like we’re finally getting to the bottom of things!
The biggest problem (besides the arsenic itself!) is that yeast traps arsenic. The yeast infection grew in his body — and would not die — because it is a method of protecting him. That’s why we’ve been on a combination of WAP/ GAPS for over a year, plus have done lots of anti-fungal treatments, with ultimately no change in the yeast.
Ben was prescribed Parotid, a chelating supplement by Standard Process, to help his body release the arsenic. It’s a very strong supplement (I was on it once for mercury and had to stop after just two days, because even one pill rendered me non-functional!).
Since learning this, I’ve done a lot of research! (Big surprise, right?) Fluoride in the water supply will make this problem worse. It is imperative to avoid fluoride at all costs. And no, your teeth will not rot. There is no evidence that fluoride, especially consumed interally, does anything at all to help your teeth. Applied topically, it will harden your teeth, but there is little evidence that this is helpful in the long-term (it’s like any other drug: appearing to solve the problem, but not getting to the root cause).
I’ve also found that a number of other supplements can help the body. First, glutathione, an amino acid, is important in immune function. It also helps the body to detox heavy metals (most children with autism are very low in glutathione; their bodies should produce it but don’t very well). Selenium, a nutrient most of us are very deficient in anyway, binds with arsenic, rendering it non-toxic as it is excreted from the body. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and boosts selenium’s action. And, as it happens, selenium and vitamin E work together to increase glutathione production! For these reasons, Ben is now on both selenium and vitamin E.
Additionally, many people with arsenic poisoning are low in magnesium (which also binds with arsenic) and iodine. Kelp is a natural food source of both of these nutrients, as well as iron. Ben is taking this, too.
We are also focusing heavily on soups and stock; Ben is drinking at least 16 oz. of kombucha per day (detoxifier and liver support); and we have doubled his FCLO (fermented cod liver oil) dose and are making sure he is consistent about taking it. Soon, we will start dandelion tea at night (a great detoxifier and liver support).
Our goals are to boost his immune system so he can fight this off on his own, and to detox the arsenic in as non-toxic a way as possible.
It’s only been a few days so far, but how is he doing? There are times each day when he doesn’t feel well — when he feels sick, tired, often has diarrhea (usually first thing in the morning, and occasionally feels very tired an hour or so after taking his detox supplement). But then there are times when he feels noticeably better and more energetic, already. He’s been more patient and even-tempered much of the time and has been doing a lot more around the house than he was previously (he wanted to, but he just didn’t have any energy and he always felt sick).
As we learn more about arsenic poisoning, and as Ben heals, we’ll continue to update.
Have you ever struggled with arsenic or other heavy metal poisoning? How did you deal with it?