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COVID-19 Update: We are continuing to suspend our in-office visits as Governor Mills continues "State of Civil Emergency" in Maine. For your safety and the safety of our staff, we ask that you schedule a Tele-Medicine visit. We will continue to post updates as we continue to care for all our patients.
Tele-Medicine Conferences available NOW at reduced prices.  Click here to schedule your consult.

Mercury Toxicity

Mercury (Hg)

Sources of Mercury: Mercury is commonly used in dental amalgam fillings, laxatives containing calomel, hemorrhoid suppositories, some printer inks, tattoo inks, batteries, positional electrical switches, some paints, some cosmetics, some fabric softeners, wood preservatives, some solvents, some drugs, some plastics, contaminated fish and seafood, volcanic emissions, mining operations, paper mills, contaminated rainfall, in pure liquid form in thermometers, barometers and laboratory equipment, thermostats, some childhood vaccines, and in fungicides and pesticides. The fungicide/pesticide use of mercury has declined due to environmental concerns, but mercury residues persist from past use. Methyl mercury, the common, poisonous form, occurs by methylation in aquatic biota or sediments (both freshwater and ocean sediments). Methyl mercury accumulates in aquatic animals and fish and is concentrated up the food chain reaching high concentrations in large fish and predatory birds. Except for fish, the human intake of dietary mercury is negligible unless the food is contaminated with one of the previously listed forms/sources. A daily diet of fish can cause 1 to 10 micrograms of mercury/day to be ingested, with about three-quarters of this (typically) as methyl mercury. Depending upon body burden and upon type, duration and dosage of detoxifying agents, elevated urine mercury may occur after administration of: DMPS, DMSA, D-penicillamine, or EDTA.  Elemental analysis of hair can be a secondary corroborating test for mercury burden. Blood and especially blood cell analyses are only useful for diagnosing very recent or ongoing organic (methyl) mercury exposure.

Symptoms and Illnesses: Early signs of mercury contamination include: decreased senses of touch, hearing, vision and taste, metallic taste in mouth, fatigue or lack of physical endurance, and increased salivation. Symptoms may progress with moderate or chronic exposure to Mercury include: anorexia, numbness and parenthesis, headaches, hypertension, irritability and excitability, cognitive problems, memory problems, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, muscular weakness, impaired vision and hearing, allergic conditions, and immune suppression, possibly immune system dysfunction. Advanced disease processes from mercury toxicity include: tremors and incoordination, anemia, psychoses, manic behaviors, possibly autoimmune disorders, kidney dysfunction or failure, asthma, neurological diseases such as autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis

Target body organs: gastrointestinal tract, brain, kidneys, liver, and central nervous system

Selenium, chlorella, vitamin C, and the amino acids L-glutathione, L-methionine, L-cysteine, L-cystine can be protective.

Presentation of symptoms associated with excessive mercury can depend on many factors: the chemical form of absorbed Hg and its transport in body tissues, presence of other synergistic toxics (lead and cadmium have such effects), presence of disease that depletes or inactivates lymphocytes or is immunosuppressive, organ levels of xenobiotic chemicals and sulfhydryl-bearing metabolites (e.g. glutathione), and the concentration of protective nutrients, (e.g. zinc, selenium, vitamin E).

If you suspect that you have elevated Mercury levels, it is important for you to know that whole blood analysis can reflect only recent exposures and does not correlate well with total body burden of Mercury. Here at Chelation Medical Center we check for excessive retention of Mercury after provocation with chelation. This measures your total body load of Mercury, as well as other heavy metals.  It is recommended that you avoid eating fish for at least four days prior to being tested for Mercury levels to determine accurate tissue levels of Mercury.  Just give us a call.

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