> Onhil, Congratulations on making it to high dose ALA!
Thank you. I started at a very low dose of ALA after plenty of DMSA. The smallest ALA I could get my hands on was 25mg at the time. I would dip the tip of a wet toothpick in a capsule, and that was my initial dose for quite a couple of rounds. Then I went from that to splitting a capsule, and so on. I was lucky in that my symptoms were initially loud and clear, so I learned to chelate by the book (by Cutler's book, that is).
> I'm one of those who has struggled to increase my dose very much,
Increasing the dose is highly overrated. I maneuvered myself into a high dose and came to regret it. Slow, steady chelation on the clock with minimum redistribution yields the best results. It pays to be patient.
What kind of symptoms are you seeing on increasing the dose?
> 200mg ALA is a very generous dose.
Yes it is. After a few rounds of "dipping" into the capsule with a toothpick, then increasing steadily over months and months to 25 mg, then 50mg, then 100mg _while_ taking DMSA, I was able to make steady improvements. I started chelation a few months after dental procedures which released heavy amounts of Amalgam vapor and powder into my bloodstream. This caused a complete breakdown of my immune system and my GI tract in a matter of a few months. It got to the point where I could not leave the house or wash my hair or swallow anything at room temperature without getting a bronchitis that would last for weeks on cue (unbelievable, I know - getting a bronchitis from a sip of a lukewarm OJ). On top of this could not eat almost anything (autoimmune reactions, sudden deterioration of eyesight, and on and on). That's where I started. When I found out about the Cutler protocol, I was not yet at the lowest point but getting there fast with no end in sight.
I started with DMSA alone to lower the body burden. I went from a dose of 25mg every 4 hrs with plenty of supplements per Cutler protocol to 100mg every 4 hours. I was getting better on the round and worse otherwise. The mercury from the dental dump was apparently still being metabolized by my body because my immune system was breaking down. Six to four months after I had undergone the procedure, on the clock just as predicted by Cutler, my health went to hell. This was the worst moment. I had bronchitis with inflammation all over the respiratory tract and it would not quit. Weeks went by and stretched into months. After four months of coughing my lungs out while being buried in the bed up to my eyeballs - a point at which bronchitis is considered incurable - it suddenly hit me. When DMSA was mopping up free-floating heavy metals, I was doing better than otherwise. I went on extended rounds of DMSA (as allowed per Cutler for up to 15 days, I believe, with a break of a few days afterwards) at the maximum dose I could tolerate. The only thing which worked for me. I was taking 100mg DMSA _every_hour _around_the_clock, that's an equivalent of 400mg every four hours (I found the effects were more predictable when I was taking it every hour, but only because I felt it was my only shot at a real cure). With about 150 mg zinc in divided doses, magnesium and histidine, megadoses of vitamin C, mixed tocopherols (E) and B complex, I also experimented with other things, but the DMSA is what cured my chronic bronchitis by mopping up the mercury and lead from my body.
My bronchitis disappeared and after two more years of chelation, it has never returned since. Not once!
After my battle to revive my immune system, I lowered the dose of DMSA back to 100mg every 4hrs and kept it there. I stayed on DMSA until the symptoms of redistribution at the end of a round were non-existent. Then I ventured into the ALA territory. At first, I added very small doses of ALA to my unchanged dose of DMSA. Over time, I lowered the dose of DMSA and began increasing the dose of ALA. This is where the copper started to build up.
> Were you doing long rounds?
No, mostly three days (two nights in between). I found it a challenge to stretch an ALA round from three to four days and I never went past that. I did shorter rounds, though, and not always by choice. This is my main point about a lower dose of ALA being a lot safer than a higher dose. When you oversleep or forget or whatever, the risk of serious damage is less severe.
> I recall a post from a very long time member of the Yahoo FDC group who reported
> possible copper symptoms after doing a very, very long round. He used to feel
> somewhat better while on round but seemingly stretched the round too much.
Interesting. This is how I felt, too. This is also what got me on a higher dose. At about 50mg ALA alone, I noticed a pattern: on the first day I would feel better, on the second day progressively more exhausted. When I increased the dose (I would do this every few months), the exhaustion went away. It would return, however, a few months later, prompting me to increase the dose again to feel better. I think the price of a higher dose, even if you can tolerate it without a risk of massive mercury redistribution, is the buildup of copper, which is very hard on the adrenals. Also, it only became clear to me when I took a break from DHEA and pregnenolone, and a bunch of symptoms returned (RH, HV1, EBV - all of them copper-related).
> In the Yahoo groups Cutler has posted that a buildup of copper has not been
> a significant problem for people on his protocol.
I think he is right about that. High-potency zinc, molybdenum and liver-specific supplements can apparently prevent copper buildup (unless someone starts off as copper toxic and ignores this fact by chelating with ALA nonetheless). My problems started when I changed the brand of zinc and stopped taking molybdenum. I switched to a non-GMO multivitamin which had copper alongside molybdenum, only I ignored the copper part. I put it down on my high stress level. Big mistake.
> This is of course in contrast to his very early theoretical concerns about
> the possible buildup of copper while taking ALA.
I think the copper problem might be wide-spread, but for most people may not be as pressing as other mercury-related issues. Medical tests are not always reliable, and symptoms can be masked by other things (most people push their adrenals with stimulants or hormone replacement therapy, out of necessity, and copper could be one of the culprits). Also, with copper (especially in the course of ALA chelation), they come and go.
> I'm not trying to suggest that copper is not involved,