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    The Surprising Connection Between Alpha Lipoic Acid And Heavy Metal Detox

    This post is about Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and its relationship to heavy metal detoxification in the body and brain, in particular mercury detoxification.

    I wanted to address this issue because ALA is a very common supplement and it has a few actions within the body related to metal detox that can be very dangerous to your health if not fully understood.

    It can also be extremely healing if used correctly!

    ALA is present in a lot of multi vitamins, so you might be getting it without realizing it. Many of my clients are also taking this supplement in isolation incorrectly for brain health and longevity.

    ALA Warning

    Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a mercury-chelating antioxidant. Never take large doses of any chelating agents, including Alpha Lipoic Acid, unless you are aware of the potential side effects of redistribution (explained below) and you know how to take care of yourself should this occur. If you take ALA and start to feel fatigue, headaches, “burning brain”, rash, etc., stop taking ALA immediately!

    What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid?

    Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a chelating antioxidant. This means that it will bind with certain reactive heavy metals that it comes into contact with in your body.

    In particular, ALA has an affinity to mercury. In other words, it has an especially strong “magnetic pull” to mercury. It will attach itself to mercury found in your body and brain.

    It’s important to know that your body has stored away these reactive metals into remote places, like fatty brain tissue, bone, muscles, fat, organs that aren’t urgently “essential” for survival. This protects you from the damaging effects of these heavy metals.

    When the mercury and other reactive metals are actively bound by ALA, the resulting compound is recognized as a neutral toxin that can be safely eliminated via your kidneys. It travels back into your bloodstream from wherever the ALA “found” the metal and bound to it, and your body is able to filter it out of your blood through your kidneys and eventually your urine.

    This is why and how ALA is used to chelate heavy metals, especially mercury. Many people do not realize that ALA can do this. They are only taking it for longevity or for other reasons.

    The big HOWEVER comes now:

    ALA has a half life of 3-4 hours in human blood.

    This means that half of the ALA you took has dissolved within 3 hours, and thus, is no longer strong enough to bind the mercury.

    At the three hour point, half of the mercury that it has been pulled out of  your body “storage” and was bound by ALA, is then dropped into your bloodstream, for your body to deal with. No ALA left in sight to bind to it.

    This is called redistribution and it is extremely dangerous and damaging.

    Redistribution can cause your all of the same symptoms of mercury poisoning, all over again. There is a solution that I spoke about in the video. Keep reading…

    Summary Of Alpha Lipoic’s Role In Detoxing Heavy Metals:

    1. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a chelator of heavy metals, and in particular, mercury.
    2. Alpha Lipoic Acid can cross into the blood-brain barrier, and into cell membranes.
    3. Alpha Lipoic Acid has a half-life of 3-4 hours – half of it disintegrates in 3-4 hours.

    So, that means…

    1. When you take ALA, it will bind to mercury and other heavy metals in your body, and pull them into the bloodstream.
    2. ALA will bind to heavy metals that are in your brain, and in your cells, being stored away by your body for protection. It will bring them into your blood for excretion.
    3. Half of the ALA in your body will disintegrate within 3-4 hours of taking it. This means that the mercury or heavy metals that it was holding onto are now left free, to roam about your body. This is called redistribution. it is dangerous, damaging and painful.

    How Do You Know If You Are Toxic With Mercury Or Heavy Metals?

    You may have metal toxicity if you have any of the following symptoms:

    • Hormone Imbalance
    • Headaches
    • Brain Fog
    • Memory Problems
    • Nuerological Issues
    • Food Allergies or Sensitivities
    • Inflammation / Pain
    • Fatigue
    • Impaired Detoxification or DNA Tests Showing Detox Pathway Dysfunction

    Frequent Low Dose Chelation (FLDC) For Heavy Metals

    Frequent Low Dose Chelation is the method for chelating heavy metals that I refer to in the video.

    I want to stress that most health practitioners either

    1) Do not know how to chelate a patient properly and safely, or

    2) Do not recommend chelation at all because they don’t prioritize the consequences of heavy metals on hormone and detox pathways.

    And of those who do think chelation is important, don’t know about Frequent Low Dose Chelation, which is the only way to safely detoxify heavy metals and the only safe way to administer Alpha Lipoic Acid whether it is being taken for chelation or otherwise.

    Frequent Low Dose Chelation Is A Safer Way To Take ALA:

    1. You start with very low doses of chelators so that you don’t shock/damage your body by pulling too many heavy metals out into the bloodstream at once.
    2. You take the dosage around the clock, keeping an adequate blood level of chelator, to avoid redistribution of heavy metals.
    3. You take days off from chelating to allow your body to rest and replenish minerals.

    FLDC Resources

    I recommend that you learn more about FLDC by following the yahoo group: Frequent Low Dose Chelation. You’ll need a yahoo account for that. This is an extremely helpful group and very informative. I have learned so much about what heavy metals do in the body from them.

    You can also learn more by reading the book Amalgam Illness by Dr. Andrew Cutler, but it is very technical and hard to read. It also recommends tons of supplements and tests that I have found aren’t exactly necessary if you make sure to clean up your diet and eat according to the Take Back Your Health™ nutrition plan first.

    Dr. Andrew Cutler is the one who made this chelation method popular and has been interviewed online many times. You can find these by googling his name.

    There are also several facebook groups for Andrew Cutler’s Frequent Low Dose Chelation protocol. I’ll let you find them by searching his name and “Frequent Low Dose Chelation” on Facebook, as I don’t have any particular favorites and there are too many to list.

    If You Have Amalgam Fillings

    You should not under any circumstances take ALA if you currently have amalgam filling still in your mouth, or had them removed within the last three months. If you do take ALA despite these instances, you may experience exaggerated symptoms of mercury toxicity.

    So What Should You Do If You’re Currently Taking ALA?

    If you have amalgam fillings, you recently had them removed, you have heavy metal toxicity symptoms, or you have chronic illness, you probably shouldn’t take ALA unless you are already eating according to the Take Back Your Health™ lifestyle and you are ready to chelate mercury with ALA using the FLDC method explained above.

    If you want to learn more about FLDC, read Amalgam Illness by Dr. Andrew Cutler and join the Frequent Low Dose Chelation group before starting chelation.

    Alpha Lipoic Acid may not be worth the risk even if you are not sure if you are toxic with mercury. That is for you to decide.

    If you take ALA and start to feel fatigue, headaches, burning head, rash, etc., stop taking ALA immediately!

    If you don’t have any heavy metals toxicity symptoms described above in this post, and you don’t feel worse when taking ALA, you might be clean from heavy metals (rare these days!) In this case, use your discretion and be safe.


    That was a lot of technical information. I hope it helps!

    Leave your questions in the comments below and I’ll try to find answers and direct you to more information!


    Keep taking back your health,
    Robin Shirley

    32 Responses to The Surprising Connection Between Alpha Lipoic Acid And Heavy Metal Detox

    1. Mo August 1, 2016 at 12:18 am #

      Not sure about accuracy of what is being suggested here; have to look into it!

      I have be taken Alpha Lipoic Acid for several years now, and the reason is : I was suffering from what is called burning mouth or tongue syndrome; my tongue constantly felt like is exposed and has no skin while being dipped in jalapeno juice, burning like crazy! It was a relentless agony I had to deal with. No Dr. knew or could figure out how to help.
      It took a while to source the right and potent Alpha Lipoic Acid, but after a few weeks of taking it, the annoying burning sensation was and has been gone!

      I thought I share this with you! Perhaps there has been new findings on dealing with burning tongue syndrome since!

      Thank you,

      Mo G
      Southern CA

      • Paula Schmitz October 20, 2016 at 2:41 am #

        Hello!! Can u tell me your dose and the name of the brand u took?

        • Robin Shirley October 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

          Hi Mo, I followed Andrew Cutler’s Frequent Low Dose Chelation Protocol.

          I started with 3mgs ALA and worked my way up slowly. 3 days on, 4 days days off. I got the low dose of ALA from Living Network – and I used the Frequent Low Dose Chelation Yahoo Group for support and guidance.

          Make sure to be very careful with this especially if you have amalgams or other definite mercury exposure (from flu vaccine or other)

          Hope that helps!

    2. Robin Shirley August 1, 2016 at 12:27 am #

      ALA is a really therapeutic nutrient and it would only causes problems in those who have very serious mercury toxicity from amalgams or other. We have a lot of readers who have problems with mercury on this blog, who have issues with ALA because of the reasons described above!

      Your story makes me wonder if you were having the burning tongue from a metal issue – and the ALA cleared it up. The burning sensation in various extremities and parts of the head seems to be a common reported symptom of metal toxicity.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with ALA!

    3. Chaya Freund December 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Thank you for your knowledge now that I know a little bit about alpha lipid acid what would be the best way to take it if I’m having a hard time trying to shed some lbs off
      Is there something else that you would recommend instead to curb my appetite

      • Robin Shirley December 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

        Hi Chaya!
        There are a lot of alternatives to ALA if you’re concerned about the chelating effects of ALA. Chromium has been used as an appetite supressent:

        When I was trying to lose weight, I found these things helpful: Eating natural foods, instead of chemical foods, to adjust my taste buds away from artificial flavors (which now taste disgusting to me), eating all the 5 flavors at each meal to reduce flavor cravings later (savory, salty, sweet, bitter, astringent), and finding fun hobbies to get caught up with, so that food didn’t tempt me as a solution to boredom. It would be great to find some hobbies that make you move as well, that would help with weight loss!! Good luck!

    4. Kev Mack December 21, 2016 at 8:32 am #

      Reading this has come as a bit of a blow as I was recently diagnosed with Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy. Research led me to ALA which provided me with some hope that this at least might slow or halt its progress. I’ve got four jars of the stuff I feel I now must throw away as like many I have a mouth full of mercury. Now looking at Acetyl l-Carnatine instead.

      • Robin Shirley January 24, 2017 at 2:00 am #

        Hi Kev,
        There’s no reason to toss it unless you have amalgams and are not planning to have them removed.
        If that’s not the case, then do some more reading up on ALA as a chelator and the FLDC method. You just want to make sure that you use it safely and correctly, so that it works properly!

    5. Brad April 5, 2017 at 6:47 am #

      As much as I want to believe this article, I have trouble accepting a few of the facts, given in this article:

      1- ALA doesn’t have a half life of 3 hours. Its average half life is 30 min
      2- ALA, if produce “properly, is 50/50 Of “S & R ALA”. R ALA cannot cross BBB and S ALA is limited to 30 min half life.

      So, taking ALA even 3 hours doesn’t make sense, unless there is more to ALA matabolism than its half life.

      Am I missing something?

      • Robin Shirley June 3, 2017 at 6:40 am #

        Hi Brad!

        I recommend reading the book “Amalgam Illness” by Dr. Andrew Cutler to understand fully how ALA acts in a mercury-toxic body!


      • Robert August 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

        Alpha lipoic acid metabolically reduces to dihydrolipoic acid which is the active chelator, has a half-life of about 3 hours, and crosses the BBB.

    6. Jean Guadan April 23, 2017 at 12:43 am #

      I’m learning about the chelation properties of ALA for the first time and am very concerned. I was taking 200 mg for a few years and in that span of time my aortic stenosis became much worse. 7 years of yearly Echo’s showed consistently the same status until the last 2 years.

      I’m afraid my use of ALA may have had something to do with this. Your input on this is greatly appreciated.

      • Robin Shirley June 3, 2017 at 6:38 am #

        Hi Jean,

        I’m so sorry to hear that the aortic stenosis became worse. ALA is a powerful antioxidant and has strong effect on the body, both positive (if used correctly in low doses and building up) and negative (if used incorrectly – too much too fast in a body that is toxic). Heart disease is not my area of expertise unfortunately, so I wouldn’t be able to give a helpful reply. Keep searching, and you will find answers! There’s always a way for the body to heal and recover from life’s wear and tear…that’s it’s primary goal each day.


        • Nicolas July 22, 2017 at 2:59 am #

          Robin, I took ALA recently to help with energy and other stuff after a month I started feeling tired and light headed.
          Went to my dr, I had low hemoglobin, low WBC, and low RBC. After more tests I was diagnosed with MDS which is caused by toxins and specially benzene.
          I mentioned it to my dr and the hematologist they disregarded my claim and suspicion.
          What are your thoughts ?

    7. Matt G May 4, 2017 at 5:53 pm #


      I’m late to the party but this is the only source I’ve found on the internet indicating problems with mercury toxicity and ALA. ALA is widely lauded and studied for it’s many benefits, specifically neurological. You don’t list any sources. You don’t have any medical background. I feel that it’s dishonest to push ALA as so problematic given its numerous well-documented benefits.

      Care to expand on your thoughts above in a way that indicates just how at-risk your average relatively-healthy reader might be to mercury toxicity via ALA binding? Thanks.

      • Robin Shirley June 3, 2017 at 6:46 am #

        Hi Matt,

        I have researched the connection between mercury and ALA mostly through books, not internet. I love this one: “Amalgam Illness” by Dr. Andrew Cutler. If you want to stick to internet research though, a simple google search of “ALA and mercury” and “ALA chelation side effects” will bring up thousands of results for you to start browsing!


    8. Sandy Guy June 25, 2017 at 5:46 am #

      The “technical” Info in Cutler’s book is well worth focusing on and getting to understand, as mercury poisoning can affect different people in very different ways. One can go the wrong route unless they know how to some regards, as fully opposite methods might be needed for two people both having it. The testing and supplements are also crucial as mercury creates humongous oxidative stress. I”m glad to see you mention his book and, yes, as you mentioned, there can be terribly misleading articles online or advice given both my doctors and health food store “gurus” (salespeople) Andy Cutler was quite helpful to me back in the day I needed that advice (having severe heavy metals poisoning) and we both were part of a world-wide forum of scientifically focused members trying to survive heavy metals poisoning.

      For those reading this: the chelating time of ALA is between 3 and 4 hours and it does cross the bbb, on of several things that can do it, not all so easy to work with or well understood as the Russian studies showing this (which involved mouse brain dissections and with which Dr. Cutler is well aware of.) ~sg

    9. Candy brooks July 29, 2017 at 2:27 am #

      I’m recirculatimg mercury after taking ala can you tell me what to do please.thank you

      • Robin Shirley August 24, 2017 at 4:57 am #

        Hi Candy! I would not take anymore ala and I would learn more about frequent low dose chelation if were you. I consult with heavy metal toxicity patients all the time to help them understand this method, and I’m happy to do a session with you if you’re having trouble finding information.

    10. Jmathias September 19, 2017 at 8:56 am #

      I am 45 years old male.
      I experience following symptoms after taking high vitamin B complex supplement.
      1. Tingling all over the body
      2. Twitching all over the body predominantly legs stomach back right-side
      3. Shocking sensation in body
      4. Crawling sensation mainly in scalp and sometime on other part of body.
      5. Numbness in foot and hands. In the night both hand feeling numb.
      6. Insomnia, anxiety, stress
      7. Sharp pinning/needling sensation in body,pain
      8. Burning sensation upper shoulder
      9. Buzzing in the thigh
      I was taking Neurobion (Merck )containing Vitamin -B1 100MG, Vitamin B6- 200MG ,Vitamin B12-200MCG
      I took one tablet each day for nearly 40 days. Without knowing these tablets are poisoning me each single day. I experienced symptoms on 25th day but I was thinking thease are not due to vitamin supplement. On the supplement pack it was written these tablets are good for back pain ,nerve tingling and prickling, Good Nerves health etc. I was so fool to look at this information and taking till 40th day.
      After consulting several doctors and undergone several diagnostic procedure finally I found that my sickness due to vitamin B-6 toxicity.
      My vitamin B level was found 212 ng/Ml (normal range is 8.7-27.2) nearly 7 times high than normal range.
      I stopped the vitamin B supplement. Today 70th th day and I have still have moderate symptoms in the body but the magnitude of the symptoms have been reduced to some extent. I have no idea how much damage these vitamins have done and how long it takes to recover. now I am very careful with my diet now avoiding B6 rich food. Noticed whenever I eat B rich food my symptoms will increases . I eat chicken which has rich B6 and started numbness in foot hand and mild tingling. Burning in is very difficult to completely avoid B6 rich food.
      My doctor is recommending me to take Alpha Lipoic acid supplement for treating Peripheral neuropathy. But I am scared to take these supplement after reading your article. I have Amalgam filling in my three teeth’s.
      Will you please help me what should I do? I don’t think I have Mercury toxicity. A recent blood test shows my mercury level is within the normal range.
      Please advise.

      • Robin Shirley October 20, 2017 at 10:19 pm #

        Unfortunately I can’t give specific personal health advice outside of consultations. But if I were you, I would be apprehensive to begin ALA with amalgams still in my mouth!

    11. Ismail October 5, 2017 at 7:13 am #


      I just did what you yiu warned not to 🙁

      Had 8 large fillings since 338 years ago. 6 teeth were pulled out. Health has largely deteriorated. Have a bad sweet tooth as well as a lot of very hot drinks. 🙁

      Went on a rafical diet cut out sugars milk and fatty foods.

      Felt my body and energy levels healing rapidly.

      Brain fog and other painful symptons crhonicallly worse. Been taking vit c 1000mg, vit b complex omega 1000mg. Other herbal sup. like milk thistle , dandelion root, and molybdenum.

      Not feeling good. Have I just jumped from the pan into the fire.


      • Ismail October 5, 2017 at 7:14 am #

        Sorry for the typo its *38 years

      • Robin Shirley October 20, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

        I hope you start feeling better soon Ismail!

    12. Randy October 5, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

      Hello Robin, I have suffered from Mercury toxicity all my life because of 11 Mercury tooth fillings. I just want to say in short that Robin is absolutely correct about being very cautious with ALA. Several years ago after having these Mercury fillings taken out by a holistic dentist, I unwisely took a 600 mg ALA capsule and it nearly killed me!

      unfortunetly I also took a 600 mg capsule of NAC along with it , which made the reaction even worse. I layer in bed with the most terrible migraine headache I’ve ever had for 28 hours! I could not even move my head. it obviously mobilized a ton of Mercury ions and the resulting free radical cascade. there should be a warning sign on those two supplements.

      Now I strictly listen to the A. Cutler protocol and others who are smart like Robin Shirley. Thanks Robin for having the strength to speak out. Keep it up please.

      • Robin Shirley October 20, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

        Thank you Randy! Glad to hear that you are on the right path now.

    13. Jason October 11, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

      Thanks for this article. I think it rings true in many ways. One thing I’m curious about is taking high doses of ALA and not having negative side effects per se. I take 100 mg twice a day and think I’ve gotten a lot of it out but worried about redistribution. I don’t really have symptoms as long as I take it twice a day…but if I don’t then I can get headache and allergies,etc. Considering taking it more often but concerned about lack of sleep – taking it seems to energize me. Something I don’t really want in the middle of the night or when going to sleep. Any thoughts? Any thoughts on Boyd’s OSR product that is making a comeback?

      • Robin Shirley October 20, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

        Hi Jason, Redistribution with ALA is really only an issue if you have heavy metal toxicity (especially from mercury).

    14. COBY October 14, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

      I think you should reference Andy Cutler as one of the original researchers of low dose chelation and taking a chelator on a half life. i quickly read thru your article, if you did and i missed it, i apologize.

      • Robin Shirley October 20, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

        Hi Coby! I think you may have skipped over the artice. Dr. Cutler is mentioned many times! 🙂

    15. Nikki Luttrell October 22, 2017 at 12:34 am #

      Robin Shirley thank you so much for the great video.


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