Gadolinium Toxicity

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Treatment Possibilities for Gadolinium Toxicity

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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.

Chelation

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.

IV Chelation

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

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.

Skin Therapies

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.

Saunas

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

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.

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16 Comments

  1. C. says:

    Regarding the topic of supplements, I have 2 questions/thoughts:

    1. You mentioned elsewhere on your site that
    “Transmetallation is the displacement of the Gadolinium ion (Gd 3+) from the chelate (ligand) by other metal ions in the body such as zinc, calcium, copper and iron.[5] The metals can work at the same time to destabilize the GBCA complex which can result in Gadolinium remaining in the body” —
    and I am wondering if you think that people who have had an MRI with Gadolinium contrast dye should purposely avoid taking dietary supplements that include zinc, calcium, copper, and iron, at least for a period of time right before and right after the MRI scan, to reduce the chances of transmetallation occurring?
    On the other hand, is there any reason deliberately to take those minerals in supplements, if the Gadolinium gobbles them up (so to speak) and leaves an insufficient amount of them available for other necessary bodily processes?

    2. Also, I have seen the following article about NAC helping with Gadolinium (for rats, anyway):
    “N-acetylcysteine protects rats with chronic renal failure from gadolinium-chelate nephrotoxicity”, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22815709.
    The following article is not about Gadolinium-based contrast agents, but it does indicate that NAC can help protect the body from iodine contrast agents — “Before a CT scan or angiogram, many people should take inexpensive drug to protect kidneys, U-M study finds”, http://www.med.umich.edu/opm/newspage/2008/beforect.htm
    So I was wondering if anyone in your group has had success using NAC to ameliorate the negative effects of Gadolinium.

    Thank you for your well-written, informative website! I have learned a lot here.

  2. karen O'brien says:

    Hi i just wanted to leave a comment and think the reason people get this reaction is because they have metal allergies and this is why they are poisoned have this been looked into ..? A friend of mine has just has a severe reaction and she explained the compound of the gadolinium which is metal based and those with metal allegies weather known or not know could be the contributing factor thats missing from this. She has aversions to certain metals…..

    • Duke G says:

      Clearly nobody knows exactly what is going on, so some form of metal allergies may be involved. However, in the more than 80 people we have been in touch with regarding their Gadolinium Toxicity, no one is aware of any metal allergies that they have, and most have seen all different types of doctors. The fact that Gadolinium is toxic to the human body would indicate that it can be harmful to anyone, regardless of whether they have metal allergies.

  3. Toni says:

    I had blue contrast with dye Dec 4 2013 and have been in severe pain ever since, no doubt I have Gadolinium poisoning. It feels like little knifes cutting my muscle legs to pieces especially in my thighs and head. It is extremely painful!!; My head and neck cracks every time I move them and I feel very congested all the time. My skin turns yellow, some times in certain spots and some times a yellowing all over. I have not found a doctor who knows how to help, I hope someone will find a cure for this horrible thing that has happened to me soon! In the mean time I do thank you people for posting this site and that about chelated EDTA. I will try it very soon. Thank you

    • Duke G says:

      Toni – Thanks for commenting. We would suggest that you get a copy of your MRI from the Medical Records Department of the institution that performed to verify that it was a contrast MRI (we have never seen it referred to as “a blue contrast dye”. Beoynd that suggestion, We do not respond to individual situations in this public forum. We suggest that you read all of the information in our Help section and join the private Support Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/MRI-Gadolinium-Toxicity/info where you can communicate with others, including both Sharon W and me to learn what others have done.

  4. zaheer says:

    I had many MRI ‘s done in the past years my skin has thickened and joint movement restocked I am on walker at home use crutches to go out and on wheel chair

    • Duke G says:

      If your MRIs included contrast, then this is something that you might want to discuss with your doctor. You could provide her/him with any of the information we have included on this website, as most doctors would not be aware of the possible risks associated with contrast MRIs, even with the recent FDA announcement of their investigation.

  5. rocky says:

    Hi I had MRI with optimark(Gad) 2 months back, I am having joint pains, joint popping, shoulder crackings and pain, how to find how much Gad is there in my blood, what tests to ask my doctor.

  6. Jackie says:

    Multiple symptoms after MRI with contrast. Thought I was going to die for 2weeks. Still not sure I won’t. Having problems swallowing. Going to Mayo clinic. Will see what they have to say.

  7. Sarah says:

    I am in the yahoo group but cant really access it on my phone well (and dont have a real computer at the moment). I have been active in other gad groups for about 17 months now. My experience, like everyone else here, was terrible and shocking. I chose the IV chelation route and it was amazing for me! I believe it saved my life. I am left with only 2 symptoms and one of those could be from something else. I am grateful every day that I was able to access the chelation in the timeframe that I did.

  8. Sarah says:

    My initial symptoms were severe bone pain, skin burning, nausea, neuropathy, uncontrolled shaking, etc. It was bad bad bad. I used EDTA

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