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Are Urine Challenge Tests a Con?

Last updated on December 22, 2020

Urine Challenge Tests

urine challenge testsI read an article on Quackwatch on Urine Challenge Tests where the author states that people are incorrectly told that they have high levels of mercury, lead or other heavy metals after doing Urine Challenge Tests (using a heavy metal chelator like DMPS) and that they should detoxify them.

It is also stated that there is an issue with testing for heavy metals using urine challenge test because the results after provocation with DMPS are then compared to the unprovoked test reference ranges before the DMPS was taken to provoke the heavy metals. They found that both groups of healthy individuals as well as occupationally exposed workers had increased levels of heavy metals in their results after undergoing urine challenge tests.

This is to be expected. Heavy metal chelators were developed specifically to bind with heavy metals in the body where they are then eventually excreted in the faeces and urine. I have never done urine challenge tests to determine heavy metals. If the laboratory uses very low reference ranges then it more likely one will be found to be in the elevated range and “toxic.”

The article made a few assumptions (although the there are some valid points).

Heavy Metals Are Not Typically Readily Available to Measure in the Hair, Blood or Urine

Firstly, the author has failed to point out the significance of the fact that whatever type of test is being used to measure heavy metals in the body, that heavy metals are not typically readily available in hair, blood or urine challenge tests samples. The reason for this is that the bodies total heavy metal burden is not typically “freely floating” in the blood, hair or urine. The body sequesters/deposits heavy metals in the fatty organs and tissue of the body.

It is only after a patient has undergone measures to break down the bodies fat cells that a better idea of the bodies toxic heavy metals load can be understood, i.e. a persons toxic metals body burden levels are not going to be accurately reflected whether a hair, blood or urine challenge tests are carried out due to the deposition of heavy metals into the fatty tissue of the body (gut/brain/liver/central nervous system/soft tissue etc).

Think of measuring the amount of heavy metals you have in your body using urine challenge tests as the challenge faced if measuring the amount of ice in an iceberg where the bulk of the ice is underwater – unseen and unavailable for measurement.

Urine Challenge Tests Reference Ranges

Secondly, the issue with reference ranges in urine challenge tests is that a base reference range has to be determined. Large-scale population studies have shown that the general population has urine-mercury levels below 10 µg/litre, (10 micrograms) with most people between zero and five. However no safe reference for toxic metals has been established and it is worth pointing out that a heavy metals like Mercury has no, “No Observable Effect Level.” That is to say even a 1 microgram exposure (= 1µg = one millionth of a gram) is toxic to the body. So every day environmental exposure results in heavy metals being consumed or ingested.

A significant amount of organic mercury can be ingested in seafood as methyl mercury (e.g. the average intake for Australian adults for example is 7 µg (micrograms) per day. Release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings is about 3.5 µg per day according to the National Health and Medical Research Council. Dental Amalgam and Mercury in Dentistry.

There is also within the mainstream medical community the widely held belief that the body is always capable of excreting heavy metals once ingested. This is erroneous. Besides I believe the issue is not so much the “level of heavy metals” (typically measured in µg per gram of creatinine) but whether you are being affected by toxic heavy metals.

Two people could carry the same body burden of heavy metals and one patients health will be more adversely affected. This is dependent upon so many factors, not least the overall body burden of pathogens, (viral, parasitic, yeast and bacterial load), chemicals, immune system functioning, and which types of heavy metals (mercury and cadmium and lead being some of the heaviest metals), age, occupation, nutritional background, genetics – some people excrete heavy metals more readily than others.

Establishing what is toxic in terms of toxic metals in not as subjective as it sounds. Clearly reduced immune system response issues develop in the presence of heavy metals toxicity along with cellular damage. I noted a comment about having trivial amounts of lead in the article. There is no such thing as a trivial amount of lead if it has reached the stage where it is being deposited in the bone marrow, the body also deposits heavy metals in the tissue and muscles.

The article is correct in it’s assessment that different laboratories may have different reference ranges and criticises one lab in particular for it’s low reference ranges.

Is Chelation Right For You?

Thirdly and lastly, the article claimed that chelation may not be the best course of action is correct particularly with patients with liver and kidney issues. Eating natural organic substances like cilantro and fresh green leafy vegetables will help excrete toxic metals but the problem is that this could take an exceedingly long time.

Note that the Heavy Metals Detox paper of Dr Georgiou on Russian steel foundry workers who used concentrated chlorella growth factor and cilantro – found it took 3 years to remove lead from the subjects. Problems and fatalities with chelation of synthetics like DMSA and DMPS have occurred due to the incorrect (over) dosing of the amount of the chelator used. Incidentally feedback I have had on Dr Georgiou’s Heavy Metal Detox product caused the clients kidneys to ache. A sure sign of the fact that the chelation was too aggressive.

I believe hair analysis will give a simple snapshot of how much lead is in the hair or which ever metal you are testing for – again this is subject to reference ranges but these companies acknowledge the natural background level of heavy metals and state that test results that rise out of that normal test range into the upper ranges are worthy of further investigation (a result in the 100 plus of parts per million is not normal !).  There is also a lymphocyte toxic metals test that gives an indication as to how the bodies immune system is reacting to toxic metals and that is the real issue.

Beware of false scientific reasoning. This type of reasoning is of the same type that set limits for the “safe” level of pesticide exposures in foods whilst completely ignoring the cocktail effect of more than one chemical in the blood. Anyone who has mixed prescription drugs with alcohol will understand this effect. Government agencies have subsequently reduced limits but this seems to be an arbitrary process often involving the safe limit being reduced by a further factor of 10, or a 100…

How To Find Your True Body Burden of Heavy Metals

The simplest way of getting a better assessment of the true body burden of heavy metals is to go on a strict low carb/low glycemic index diet that will allow the body to break down the fat cells (that store heavy metals). ThIs break down of the bodies fat cells releases heavy metals into the blood (or hair and urine) where levels can be better assessed.

That is why the article’s statement that a DMSA urine challenge test on autistic and healthy kids (even the one who stopped eating fish – a known source of mercury and lots of other harmful chemicals and metals) showed no difference in their readings – this is misleading – again it takes no account of how heavy metals are deposited in the fatty tissue and are not readily available in the blood, hair or urine so that a more accurate assessment of the body burden of heavy metals can be made.

It also takes no account of the fact that mercury has been shown to transfer from the womb to the offspring and concentrations in the brain and gut and liver of the offspring have been found to be 4x’s the concentrations found in the mother. Note: Removing mercury amalgam fillings does not address prior long term low level toxicity.  I have also had some clients find the most unlikely heavy metals in their systems including arsenic.

I can only go on what I have experienced and from the feedback of people who have read my ebook over the last 9 years – chelation methods restored my health to a level where I could function normally and get my energy back and my concentration. I had been literally off the charts with the heavy metal lead when I did a second hair test (9 years after the first one that had showed a “safe” level of lead!)

There is an explanation in my book of why the first hair test showed only a “safe” level of lead when actually nothing was further from the truth as I found out much later – 9 years wasted when I could have been addressing the metals (lead and mercury) – by listening to the then current “scientific evidence/reasoning” (1991)…

Click here for detailed advice on How to Chelate Heavy Metals.

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  1. Hamraz Razzaq Hamraz Razzaq April 3, 2015

    About Dr Geogious HMD

    Hi Ian iv taken extra strength pure
    Zeolite and noticed no improvements in 3 months and I took HMD by Dr Georgia also no noticeable change.
    Every Scientist claim
    S that their product is save and effective.
    Which chelator do you think that works ?? Please email me soon
    Also i have have done coffee enema when I’m constipated do you think I should do this enema every day? ?
    Please e
    Mail me soon

    • Ian Solley Ian Solley Post author | June 19, 2015

      Hi Hamraz, Pure Body Extra Strength is good for central nervous System toxicity. Pure body is good for the gut. Did you take tests to measure you heavy metals levels before and after you used the pure Body Extra Strength? I believe this product to be the safest and strongest I’ve heard people having difficulty with HMD including very bad kidney pains and the synthetic chelators can also be too strong (as I experienced myself before I cut the dose by 2/3rds).

      Constipation can be caused by magnesium deficiency – typical of those with toxicity. The Gerson cancer therapy recommended daily enemas so I do not see a problem in the SHORT term. If symptoms persist I would see a doctor and also switch to a more water based/vegetarian based diet up.

  2. ava ava August 6, 2018

    How long on the low carb diet before testing?

    • Ian Solley Ian Solley Post author | August 8, 2018

      I’d recommend 8 weeks minimum to burn off fat cells and release the toxins into the hair.

  3. Ava Ava August 8, 2018

    Thank you.

  4. Debi Carter Debi Carter May 23, 2020

    Thank you for the article. I agree with you. How and who comes up with these reference range numbers? Throwing dice in a back room? No “safe” reference ranges for retained heavy metals have ever been established by anyone. I have been poisoned by gadolinium from an MRI w/contrast. It is literally destroying my body. There is no chelator strong enough to hold onto the bound and/or bare Gd ions in order to excrete it from the bones, tissue and brain. Berkeley Labs has studied HOPO to remove Gd, but stopped dead in its tracks before human testing and instead switched to environmental testing; although they say the HOPO is available for licensing. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Ian Solley Ian Solley Post author | December 22, 2020

      Hi Debi, many apologies for the long delay in replying, (due to family concerns). I would treat gadolinium as I would any other heavy metal and follow the detox protocol I have written about on this blog and in my eBook. Did you see my chelation article?

      The nutritionist I saw is always looking for better chelation products and now recommends this:
      (The nutritionist, nor I, have no financial relationship with the company).

      Chlorella and activated charcoal (please take liquid minerals whilst taking charcoal) are also helpful detoxifiers as is intermittent fasting – see Dr Jockers.

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