Mercury is a naturally occurring metal and is released into the air, water, and soil as a result of both natural and human activities. We are all exposed to some level of mercury, however, over-exposure and accumulation of high level of mercury can lead to toxcitiy effect on our nervous, digestive and immune systems. The severity of mercury toxicity depends on the form of mercry, dose, duration, the developmental stage of the person, and the individual’s ability to detox mercury. Foetuses and young children are the most vulunerable population to mecury toxicity.
Some of the most common exposure routes include:
- Contaminated fish and shellfish – mercury level varied in different species (Wild salmon, Sardines, Mussels, Rainbow trout, Atlantic mackerel have low mercury level) NSW Gov Health Department, “While the levels of mercury in fish caught in Australian waters are generally low, pregnant or breast-feeding women and children under the age of 6 should limit the amount of fish or seafood they eat.”
- Dental amalgam (silver fillings) – up to 50% of mercury with sliver, tin and copper, discuss with a holistic dentist about your existing fillings or choice of new fillings
- Skin-lightening products and other cosmetics – Avoid using products without an ingredients label or contain “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury,”
- Pharmaceuticals – over 100 mercury-containing drugs listed by FDA
- Vaccinations – Thiomersal, a mercury-based preservatives has been removed from most vaccination except Hepatitis B
- Mercury thermometers & fluorescent light bulbs
Effects of Mercury differs from individual to individual…
The effects and symptoms of mercury toxicity can vary among individuals and it depends on which cells or system is being affected. Mercury can impact the functions of our brain, GI system, kidney, liver, muscle, energy production system and more.
Potential signs and symptoms of mercury overload:
- Brain fog or poor concentration
- Frequent headaches
- Lack of balance/Ataxia
- Sleep disturbance
- Autoimmune disease e.g. Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc
- Multiple chemical sensitivity
- Numbness, tingling, weakness and/or pain through a nerve distribution
- Hearing loss
- Slurred or slow speech
- Muscle tremor
- Movement disorders
- Hair loss
- Hormonal dysregulation including abnormal menstrual cycles and infertility
- Cardiovascular disease including hypertension, coronary heart disease, transient ischemia attacks or stroke, or other vascular diseases
- Kidney dysfunction including proteinuria
How to find out whether you have mercury toxicity or not ?
If you had been or currently exposed to mercury through the common routes and have signs and symptoms from the list above, you may want to investigate your mercury level.
There are several ways to determine the mercury level in your body.
- Serum test – detect methyl, metallic and inorganic forms of mercury. Indicate recent exposure of mercury. (level of metallic and inorganic mercury in blood can reduce by half every 3 days as it moves into organs such as brain and kidneys)
- Feral / Urine test – detect metallic and inorganic forms of mercury. Indicate mercury burden and your ability to dispel mercury. Urinary test can be done with or without chelating agent.
- Hair Analysis – detect methyl mercury. Indicate exposure in the last several months.
Please consult with your practitioner in regards to investigation and appropriate treatment. Detoxification process of heavy mental must be thought through carefully and to be done only after thorough check up and treatment to optimise GI, liver, and kidney functions. Our gastrointestinal, liver, and kidney are some of the most important detoxification organs, therefore, malfunctioning of any these organs can severely undermined your body’s ability to effectively remove the excess mercury. Note that chelation therapy is not suggested when one or more mercury-containing amalgam is present in the oral cavity due to possibility of mercury being released from the amalgam. In the next blog post, we will share about the holistic dentistry’s viewpoint on mercury containing amalgam and the safe procedures in removing them.
Feel free to email Seek Holistic Health if you have any question on this topic.
WHO – Mercury and health 2016
Mercury in Drug and Biologic Products
Mercury and Skin Products