To meet a criteria for mercury toxicity you only need to have accomplished two things in life: got yourself a nice set of amalgam (silver) fillings and to be reading this post. Let me explain.
There are plenty of folks who are running around seemingly healthy with a mouthful of amalgam fillings, functioning like any other creature. Those are the ones that have the genetic make-up to detox heavy metals. You, on the other hand, have been scouring the net for months if not years trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with you, blaming it all on bad karma.
Brain fogged but determined you are jumping from one theory to another, experiencing one paradoxical reaction to supplements after another, unable to eat seemingly healthy foods without aggravating your digestion or insomnia, feeling either too hot or too cold at old times. Your life has flipped upside down because you are avoiding social interactions, grocery stores, let alone nightlife because your constant fatigue, spontaneous agitation, tinnitus and lower back pain will not allow you to relax for even a minute.
You might be a strong person who has always been happy and chipper but now your new set of friends is anxiety, hopelessness and depression. What makes it all even worse – nobody has a blooming clue what’s going on with your health. Blood-work comes out fine, liver function is either fine or has negligible markers, kidneys work fine, thyroid hormones look OK yet you’re experiencing what seem like “mystery” symptoms related to all of those organs.
And maybe, just maybe, when it gets really bad, a dark thought creeps in your head: “What if I’m actually cursed?”
Let me tell you something. The only reason I’m recovering now from this mess is because no matter how bad it got, I’ve always believed that there is a rational explanation to my health crisis. Because everyone was so clueless around me the only option I had was to become my own doctor. I used the method of elimination. Perhaps one day I’ll write a book about this entire saga but to make a long story short – I finally arrived to a conclusion – IT’S ALL ABOUT MERCURY.
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Sources of Mercury Toxicity
There are various sources of mercury toxicity like broken fluorescent light bulbs or thermometers, vaccines (thiomersal), coal plants, volcanoes, ocean fish (although some argue *2), some skin care products, dump sites, working at a dentist office, tattoo ink, even an in utero exposure from one’s mother: mercury passes across the placenta and binds to red blood cells and tissues in the foetus where it continuously accumulates. Hell, mercury pollution is so widespread and far reaching it’s been detected in the blood of polar bears, far from any source of contamination!
However, the most profound and notorious, the most sneaky, the most chronic and the most controversial is the dental amalgam filling.
Autopsy studies show dental amalgams to be the main source of mercury in human tissues. Amalgam owners have about 2–12 fold more mercury in their tissues, including the brain, than individuals without amalgams. (*1)
These, amalgam or so called “silver” fillings contain a mixture mercury (50%), silver (22–32%), tin (14%), and copper (8%). An the schmucks had enough balls to call it a “silver” filling! Of course, who would want to brag about their brand new, shiny mercury fillings, right!?
That mercury is not anywhere “safe” as FDA would have you believe because they measure mercury vapor of the amalgam sitting tightly and undisturbed. However, when researchers measured mercury vapor levels of the filling getting in contact with hot food or coffee they saw exponentially higher levels. These are way beyond the “safe” levels purported by the FDA.
When mercury vapor from dental amalgams is inhaled into the lungs, about 80% of it gets absorbed across the pulmonary membranes. It then dissolves in plasma and will cross most of the diffusion barriers in the body including the blood-brain barrier. Amazingly, the same FDA admits that mercury bioaccumulates in “certain tissues of the body including kidneys and brain!”
Classic Signs of Mercury Toxicity
Mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings often develops slowly and makes you absolutely baffled how your health is gradually taking a nose dive, even when you exercise and lead a low stress, relatively healthy life style.
Telltale signs of mercury toxicity come in various forms and symptoms because heavy metal toxicity impacts all of your systems. You can be experiencing issues with your:
Nervous system – INSOMNIA, tinnitus, waking several times at night, quick to react, aversion to noise, anxiety, irritability, OCD, impatient, fits of anger and aggression, restlessness, apathy, declined brain function, loss of confidence, etc.
Gastrointestinal – low appetite, food sensitivities, slow digestion, heat in stomach following meals, gastritis, H. Pylori, SIBO, dysbiosis candida, IBS, leaky gut, alternating constipation or diarrhea, etc.
Thyroid/Adrenal/Endocrine – chills, night sweats, dry skin, fatigue, wired and tired, low libido, weight loss/gain, frequent urination, etc.
Other conditions that could be linked to mercury toxicity:
* Nearsightedness & Farsightedness
* Autoimmune diseases
* Amylotrophic lateral sclerosis
* Ankylosing spondylitis
* Myasthenia gravis
* Parkinson’s disease
* Alzheimer’s disease
* Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
* Borderline personality disorder
* Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
* Learning disabilities
* Obsessive-compulsive disorder
* Manic depressive disorder
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Juvenile arthritis
* Lupus erythematosus
* Multiple chemical sensitivities
* Environmental illness
* Crohn’s disease
* Anorexia nervosa
* Floaters in the eyes
* Yeast syndrome
* Uncontrollable weight gain
* Hair loss
* Flatulence (gas)
* Shifted circadian rhythm (inability to sleep on a normal schedule)
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Weak immune system
* Grinding teeth while sleeping
* …and many more.
The organs that accumulate most mercury are your detox organs like liver, GI tract, kidneys, and pancreas causing impaired methylation, food sensitivities, malabsorption, yeast, hypoglycemia, lower back pain, etc. Your brain won’t be spared too as mercury easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and can be stored there for up to twenty years, causing various symptoms like dull intellect, poor temeprature control, brain fog, impaired memory, etc.
Mercury being a potent free radical, one of the worst outcomes of Hg toxicity is the damaged DNA and immune system suppression. With lowered immunity the body gets slowly exhausted and has little defense. This causes one to catch any passing cold, respiratory infections (which puts an immense pressure on already drained adrenals). Because virus infected cells are not killed, viruses can take hold and last much longer than usual. One’s health might be spiraling out of control without clear ways of putting it all together.
What Insomnia From Mercury Toxicity Looks Like
For mercury toxic people insomnia develops and progresses in several stages. It usually starts with the first signs of HPA axis dysfunction. In the early stages one would develop these bouts of ‘adrenal overdrive’ where one feels wired and tired at the same time and has difficulty falling asleep. Sleep itself is very fractured and superficial. This can last for several days and normalize eventually, making one think “must have been something I ate or had too much stress.”
Down the road the sleep-onset insomnia (not being able to fall asleep) starts becoming a norm. The wired and tired feeling is still there and is hardly subsiding. Insomnia progresses to sleep-maintenance type and is at the level one has never experienced before. Over the counter sleep aids offer little to no respite. Advice from well meaning friends like “drink more wine and have more sex” is no longer amusing. One is now running on fumes and heading towards complete exhaustion. This is where most come to grip and realize something is gravely wrong.
Insomnia continues and one keeps waking up tense, anxious, restless, heart pounding uncontrollably, and various bodily sensations like being very hot, or very cold, lower back pain. etc. Sometimes there is this two column heat that is felt around chest or belly region. At this point a person feels like his entire brain and body is on fire.
This goes on till total “adrenal exhaustion” takes place at which point there is an onset of massive fatigue. One wakes up exhausted and can’t wait to go to bed again in the evening but one knows what’s in store for the night – TORTURE once again, like-kind to hell. This develops into a full blown crisis at which point one checks into hospital or caves in and starts taking sleep meds like Ambien or benzos, which provide some relief but do not solve a thing.
Why Some People Get Toxic and Others Do Not?
Millions of people around the globe have mercury fillings but how come not all of them develop symptoms? Now that is a great question! So far the evidence points to genetic variations. Some are just genetically better detoxers than others, it’s that simple. There are gene “mutations” such as MTHFR, CBS and others that can disturb your methylation pathways and impair your ability to detox.
Liver function plays a huge role as well. Liver has the so called phase I and Phase II detox routes. In phase I toxic substances are build up that are subsequently detoxified in Phase II. If phase II is too slow (which may also be genetic), the liver can become poisoned or “backed up”. One can test for levels of phase II enzyme (glutathione-S-transferase theta). If one has inadequate amounts, one can be considered a poor detoxer. This person will accumulate mercury at a faster pace and develop symptoms early on.
Also important to note that mercury toxicity is very SUBTLE and may easily be misdiagnosed as other problems, especially as psychological and neurological types. Doctors will have no clue what gave rise to those conditions. If people are lucky they will manage their symptoms with expensive medicines for the rest of their lives.
Finally, people have a different tipping points. Some may not end up with mercury caused diseases until old age. By then, they never think to blame mercury.
I’ve suspected heavy metal toxicity for years but just never wanted to explore that route because I knew this would be a very expensive experiment. However, after receiving results of my genetic make up I learned that I’m in the category of the slow detox people who tend to accumulate heavy metals. That was enough for me to drop everything and start digging into it.
What to Do if You Suspect Mercury Toxicity
Having any of the above symptoms or medical conditions does not necessarily mean mercury is the prime cause of your poor health. However, if you seem to have explored all treatment options and have been led nowhere then it would be wise to start suspecting heavy metals.
If you have no amalgam fillings then you can do a trial chelation according to the one safe method discovered by Dr. Andrew Cutler. This experiment would indicate how you react to chelators such as ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid), DMSA or DMPS. Should you develop symptoms after taking the chelators it will be a strong sign you’re dealing with mercury or other heavy metals. If you have no reaction whatsoever – look for answers elsewhere.
In case you do have amalgam fillings then it is a different story and you’d be wise to avoid all chelators (including plant based like chlorella or cilantro) and do a hair test instead. The latter can show high levels of heavy metals or patterns in deranged mineral transport indicating mercury toxicity. Because of chronic, low grade nature of exposure, blood test would be totally useless. Mercury would show up in your labs only if you have been recently exposed to a large dose of mercury.
NOTE: Under no circumstances try to detox heavy metals with your amalgams still in your mouth as you can make yourself much worse! Under no circumstances go to a regular dentist to drill your amalgam fillings out as you can intoxicate yourself much more than if you had left them undisturbed in your teeth! DON’T make these grave mistakes.
What’s next? Check out my mercury resource page for more info.
(*1) (Drasch et al. 1994; Guzzi et al. 2006; Björkman et al. 2007; Mutter et al. 2007; Mutter 2011).
(*2) Some studies point out that mercury toxicity from fish is negligible because most fish contain more selenium than mercury. Selenium binds with mercury and ‘deactivates’ it, hence sources of mercury in the fish is a “non issue.” However, Lund University study explains why due to gene variations some individuals accumulate more of mercury from fish, and possibly, suffer from more toxic effects.