Arsenic Poisoning: Our Story

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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?


  1. Michele R says

    Also, have you checked into chlorella and spirulina for detoxing. They are great for detoxing heavy metals.

  2. Michele R says

    Ok, I have more time to elaborate. I went to a microscopist (sp?)–someone who studies blood. After she looked at some of my blood on slides, she told me several things. 1. I was dehydrated. 2. I didn't eat enough vegetables (Don't ask me how she knew that.) 3. I ate a lot of fish–i.e. heavy metals. At least she asked me if I ate a lot of fish b/c she could tell I had heavy metal build up in my blood. Hence began my detox journey. She recommended a raw food detox along with colonics. I wasn't crazy about the colonic idea so I started researching other avenues of detoxing. I like chlorella and spirulina because they were natural as well as they had other benefits. I never had my blood tested again to see the result of improvement, but I can tell you that I can feel it!! I also limit my intake of seafood now which makes me sad because I love sushi. And I started juicing vegetables.

  3. Kelly says

    Our well water tests high for arsenic, so we buy our drinking/cooking water. I've been wondering lately though if we're (me especially) absorbing it thru skin when bathing or if there's enough residue to be an issue on dishes. I read that onions and garlic will help remove the arsenic too. I haven't been tested yet, but plan to.

    My chiro wants to do the muscle testing/nutritional response stuff with me and it looks like voo-doo medicine to me. How often has your husband used it?

    • Janine says

      My well water tested extremely high for arsenic. Three times the violation level in Florida. I’ve had multiple basal cell skin cancers because of the ingestion of the arsenic. Educate yourself on what basal cell skin cancer looks like! I would move if I were you. We lived like refugees for over a year, cooking and drinking everything bottled. What a horrible experience!! And now I’m covered in biopsy scars.

  4. jill says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really think my husband has this. He grew up using well water, was exposed to pesticides on farms. Has the "lazy" symptom. Our marriage counselor said he probably has ADD. He has trouble focusing, and sometimes is just not very nice or easy to get along with. He's gotten worse with age, since if he'd been like this when I met him I'd probably not of married him. That was 35 yrs. ago. So, where your husband sounds cooperative, mine is not. Our life is not always easy, I use celtic or redmonds salt, he uses mortons white salt. Hence, that is how he is about all foods. If I cook it, bake it, buy it, he will eat it. But he would never take a supplement or vitamin.
    You've given me so much to think about, and how to maybe get him to see that maybe this is what he has. I remember thinking this before but then it got lost in the busy shuffle of life.
    I wish you the best on your family's journey with this issue. I now have more of an idea on a starting point with this.

  5. Rebecca says

    I am really interested in the detox information! I am on a (real food!) diet and exercise plan to drop some weight and just read that when your body burns fat the toxins that were stored over time in that fat are released into your blood, which makes you feel sick. I have lost 10 pounds of fat in the past 2 months and have noticed an increase of headaches. I think it is my body processing out the toxins. I am hoping to work some detox supplements into my diet, to help this.

  6. jill says

    I've never heard that before. Do you have any sources that we could read about the kelp and seaweed?
    I've always heard how healthy it is.
    But then again, we used to think soy was healthy.

  7. frank says

    it's not hard to find. search the internet for seaweed arsenic. i think you will be shocked in what you find.

  8. Andrea says

    Hi Katie – I just discovered this article while looking for ways to detox the heavy metals that I have accumulated (cadmium, aluminum, and copper). You mention paratoid by standard process – I always thought that was for your gall bladder. How does it detox?! I s it only for arsenic? Is it helping your husband? I would be very interested to hear your updates! Thanks for the article!

  9. michael says

    hi there,

    i am dealing with arsenic poisoning, due to likley rural well water, 45 years ago.
    cutler's protocl for dealing with metalsis quite effective, he says ala-alpha lioic acid mobilizes aresnic from tissues where its stored and dmps will remove from there..

    his hair test book lists otehr support including b2-folate which are methylation supplementations.methylation helps clear lead-arsenic from body. i get quite sick when i take them

    arensic is pretty painful, lots of leg burning..maybe also increased sensitivities to chemicals due to liver and i think also emf fields

    chorella-spirulina is one thiol which means its ususlaly to be avoided witha lot of metals as they need two thiol substances, ie alpha lipoic acid, dmsa, dmps


  10. Judy says

    I got arsenic poisoning from breathing the dust. Arsenic was used years ago to treat for termites. It was apparently in the attic where I worked for twelve years. I was the only one in my office. There was a white substance coming down the wall by my desk. There was a roof leak and it was much worse when it rained. I went to military doctors for years and was told they could find no reason for my numb feet, fast and irregular heart beat and loss of hair, and it was suggested that I had "panic attacks". I went to Walter Reed Army Hospital about 9 times in a year and a half. I finally decided to seek a Neurologist on my own. He did a heavy metal test the first visit and found the arsenic. Since I had 3 holes in my septum, it was determined I had breathed the arsenic. A month after I moved from that office to another locality the test was zero.
    When I went back to my military "family" doctor and told him what was found he said they were not going to treat me anymore because it was "Worker's Comp". There was no worker's comp because I was an only employee.
    I called every organization I could think of and no one would test the building. I told the person who was buying it about the arsenic and was told that he hoped I didn't tell anyone about that because he wanted to rent it out! He fixed it up a little and rented it as an apartment. On the advice of my doctor I went to see the new tenant and told her the same story and all she said was that her dad was a contractor and he said the building was built to code. I guess you're thinking the same thing I was thinking. What did that have to do with anything? So here we are- just about 4 years later, and the neuropathy is almost unbearable and I've had three surgeries on my feet. The bones are deteriating and I have pins and plates everywhere. But, I still can't leap tall buildings with a single bound! LOL (You have to laugh once in a while to keep from going crazy). Now the ligaments are going and I have to have my right foot fused Oct. 4th to keep it from falling apart. I had cadaver cartlidge put in my nose in May of 2011 because I kept a sinus infection for the past year from the holes. My ENT doc said I was the first patient he had to do that for from arsenic. I swear before God I've never sniffed so much as an tylenol. LOL My Neurologist said I was the only one he treated any length of time for arsenic because all the others had it put in their food and they were "temporarly" in the hospital. I think they died. I see a Cardioligist for the Tachycardia and irregular heart beat and take medication to slow my heart beat down. My Neurologist prescribes me Elavil for the neuropathy and Vicodin before bed time fot the pain and tingling. Before I went to him I had no medication at all and spent most of my nights smacking my feet and walking the floor. I even broke the side of my foot myself smacking it with a wooden spatula to ease the pain and tingling. I didn't tell anyone until they saw it in an xray a couple years later.
    I know there are more people like me, but I don't know where they are. I know there are more buildings with arsenic that are considered "historical". I wish there were a support group because no one else understands what it is like. Not even the doctors. I have to carry my lab report to prove that it happened when I see a new doctor, and I think I know more about arsenic poisoning then most doctors because I've researched it on line. If they did why didn't they order the test? I wasn't diabetic. I hope every one here who has this found out a lot sooner and do not have to go through these things.
    Judy A. Derflinger

  11. Chana says

    Judy, Do you know about Dr Michael Harbut, who specializes in environmental diseases? Pls look him up, he may be able to help you.

  12. says

    try reishi for detox. start slow 3g per day cause it may make you sick. buy extract from local mushroom or make one tea simmer over night then alcohol extract, strain after 3-6 weeks.

  13. Kathryn Arnold says

    If you haven’t perused yet you probably have still missed an important piece of the puzzle. After three years of diligence yet knowing I had to still be missing something, what I learned there gave me a few very big AHA! moments.

  14. Rae says

    So a local company recently got caught dumping metals and I think I might’ve had some acute arsenic exposure from when I worked in the neighborhood, but that was too long ago for blood or urine tests – so where and how would I get a hair test done? And how much would it cost? (Unfortunately, at the moment, I don’t have insurance to pay for a regular doctor or a test like that)

    • Erin says

      There are labs in the U.S. specific for hair analysis. Some say this is ‘quack’ medicine. But, my research tells me it is very accurate for heavy metal testing (eg., arsenic) but not as useful on the mineral testing because far too much can simply be “on” the hair not in your body. I have also heard that they should test the follicle or piece that comes out of your scalp when you putt a hair out rather than from just the base of the hair. I had testing done from near the base of my scalp (hair) and my arsenic levels were very high, in the “red” zone on the test report. My symptoms are close, mostly fatigue, general feeling of being unwell all the time. The test was $120. contact me at if you want info on the lab. I will have to find the information.

  15. K. B. says

    I’m concerned about a friend who has an extremely physically abusive soon to be ex-husband. She’s in the hospital right now to get her gallbladder removed. While she was still living with her husband she was experiencing horrific abdominal pain. At times, it would happen shortly after her husband would go to McDonald’s late at night and bring back her favorite milkshake. God knows I hope I am wrong, but this man in my opinion is a narcissistic psychopath. He is extremely controlling, especially with their money. I’m not sure how to proceed. I want to contact the authorities but I don’t want the husband to know of my concern. My friend unfortunately is very gullible when It comes to men. She has let him come see her at the hospital even though she recently obtained a restraining order.

  16. says

    I’ve been wondering about arsenic with some of our family’s health problems too. I recently had my kids and I start taking a kelp supplement and then came across this medical study about arsenic poisoning from kelp supplements tonight ( It’s hard to know what’s right these days. I also worry because we eat a lot of rice and that’s so high in arsenic. We do these things to try to limit how much we get from rice but arsenic has also been found in really high levels lately in grape juice, apple juice and non-organic chicken. Now I keep hearing that seafood is high in arsenic because the fish eat the kelp, which is high in it…. Thanks for listing the vitamins and minerals that help. We’ve been taking selenium lately for thyroid function anyway and we’re just doing one brazil nut a day since that’s about 80 mcg of selenium in each and it’s such a natural way to get it. I think I’ll double that for myself and the big kids. I hope your husband is doing better!

  17. drew says

    Actually, kelp supplements have been known to contain higher levels of arsenic. If you really want to detox these heavy metals, you should look into nutritional balancing (particularly the diet by Dr L Wilson you can find online). He does suggest kelp supplements, however for the iodine.

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