Treatments. What everyone who is Gadolinium Toxic wants to know about. As you might expect, since Gadolinium Toxicity is not an established, accepted medical condition, there are no established, accepted medical treatments. However, by being connected with other Gadolinium Toxic people on the MRI-Gadolinium Toxicity Support group, we have learned about the treatment approaches that people have taken. We present some of those treatments below and you can also find more ideas in the Viewpoint section.
But first, we want to mention that the treatments tried with NSF patients are different from the ones that will be mentioned here. The majority of NSF patients were in kidney failure and on dialysis, and in most cases they presented with severe skin problems and joint contractures. To learn more about the treatments tried with NSF patients, we suggest that you visit the website of The International Center for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis Research (ICNSFR) which is maintained by Shawn E. Cowper, MD.
Now to treatments tried by patients who are Gadolinium Toxic after contrast-enhanced MRI or MRA.
The ideas presented below are purely anecdotal treatment approaches that members of our support group have tried. While some of the treatment approaches have been tried by multiple people, no controlled trials of any treatment mentioned have been conducted. Nothing that follows is medical advice. You should consult a medical professional before starting any treatment or taking any supplements. There are no FDA approved over-the-counter (OTC) chelation products.
The most obvious treatment is to try to remove the Gadolinium from your body with Chelation. Chelation therapy is a medical process that involves administering chelating agents that will bind to the metal ions to form a more chemically stable compound that can be safely excreted from the body, typically through the kidneys. Most Chelation is done without FDA approval of the chelating process. Although ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and specifically Calcium EDTA is the agent we have seen used most often in doctor-controlled IV Chelation to remove Gadolinium, it is only approved by the FDA for removal of lead. Nonetheless, Chelation therapy is practiced every day by doctors providing alternative or integrative medical services, and is best done under their supervision because the chelating agent can also remove important nutrients like calcium and zinc from the body.
While Chelation might seem obvious, we are not aware of anyone who has removed all of his or her retained Gadolinium (as determined by urine testing) or is totally free of the symptoms that they attribute to Gadolinium. Some have reported improvement in the severity of their symptoms while others have reported feeling worse while doing Chelation. Without a controlled trial, there is no way to know for sure that these improvements or worsening of symptoms are the result of Chelation or are just the natural course of symptom progression for those individuals.
Nonetheless, we know that everyone wants to know how they can remove the retained Gadolinium from their body. Below are different methods that people have reported using.
The strongest approach is with intravenous (IV) infusion of a chelating agent(s) by a doctor. Typically the doctor will conduct a provoked urine test to determine the body burden of various toxic substances. He or she will then determine the appropriate chelating agent(s) and recommend a course of treatment. Treatments are usually done between one and three times a week for a total of more than 20 sessions – we know people who have done more than 50 IV chelation treatments. There is sometimes additional urine testing to monitor progress, and there are sometimes breaks during the course of treatments. These IV chelation treatments performed by a doctor may range from $100 to $250 per session and are not normally covered by insurance. However, after working with their doctor and their insurance company, some people have been able to have their IV Chelation covered, especially if high levels of other metals like mercury or lead were found. One of the biggest advantages of doing IV Chelation is that the patient is working with a doctor familiar with the benefits and risks of IV Chelation so that the best possible course of treatment is followed.
Oral chelation can either be done with a chelating agent in pill or capsule form, or it can be done with herbs and other foods. Chelating with a pill or capsule is usually done under the watchful eye of a doctor who can advise you on additional supplements that are needed to counteract the removal of good minerals by the chelating agent as it removes the toxic heavy metals.
Some patients looking for a more natural way to remove the Gadolinium have studied the chelating properties of foods and have focused on foods that they are hopeful will help. Herbs such as cilantro and garlic, pectin and chlorella, and supplements such as Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) have some chelating properties and may be worthy of additional research.
Sublingual Powders and Suppositories
Sublingual is different from Oral Chelation because the EDTA is placed under the tongue and absorbed directly into the body rather than going through the digestive process. With rectal suppositories, EDTA is absorbed into the highly absorbable rectal mucosa. Both of these are also best done under a doctor’s care, although the products may be available for purchase online or in health food stores.
Regardless of the method used for Chelation, it is best done under a doctor’s care, or the patient must be committed to lengthy research and self-monitoring of important mineral levels. There is additional information on Chelation available in the Viewpoints section, but the information presented is someone’s personal viewpoint on chelation and it might not agree with the views of others regarding chelation. We encourage you to do your own research, confer with your doctor, and reach a decision that is best for you.
This is a somewhat artificial grouping of several different approaches that all happen to involve the skin. The skin is significant since it is the primary focus of the workup to determine if someone has NSF. The skin has also been referred to as the “third kidney” because the skin can also help the body get rid of toxins.
Several people in the believe that either FAR Infrared or Near Infrared saunas can help keep the skin healthy while aiding the skin in ridding the body of toxins. We will not try to enter the debate on whether FAR or NEAR Infrared saunas are best. You can learn more from members of the Support Group or do your own research.
Epsom salt baths
Another idea that may have merit is Epsom salt baths because of their ability to get the salts, particularly magnesium into the body and the muscles. The anecdotal evidence is that they may reduce some of the pain associated with Gadolinium Toxicity.
Symptom relief is a very broad topic and one that clearly should be a matter of discussion between the patient and their doctor. In our Survey of Chronic Symptoms of Gadolinium Toxicity, 100% of the participants reported Pain as one of their top symptoms. Pain can reorient your lifestyle, and cause you both mental and physical distress. Our only advice is to consider symptom relief carefully, and do not try to be the hero who says “I can tough it out”. Both of the website authors take prescribed medications for pain, and although neither is totally pain free, both are able to live a fairly normal life as a result of living with less pain on a daily basis.
Healthy Eating (and supplements)
Healthy eating and supplements is also a very broad topic. Depending on whether the patient sees a regular Primary Care physician, a Wellness doctor or a Naturopathic doctor, he or she may be presented with different recommendations on ways to keep their nerves healthy, invigorate their muscles, reduce pain, or address their particular symptoms. Many of the Support Group members have made Healthy Bodies part of their treatment regimen.
As with Testing, we wish we had a better situation to report on for Treatments, but it is not the case. Until the medical community recognizes Gadolinium Toxicity as a medical condition, we will have to rely on ourselves, our caregivers, and each other to learn about possible treatment approaches.