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StaleyWellness Looks at Mercury Toxicity

This summer I have spent a generous amount of time becoming more knowledgeable about mercury and it’s potential ill effects on the body. Why? Because I am too full of mercury. I learned I had too much mercury about three years ago from my Integrative doctor; my levels were high, but not dangerously high.  I tried a gentle approach (infrared sauna) and I stopped eating seafood to bring my levels down. This spring when I was retested, my mercury levels were sky high, having more than doubled from a few years ago. Since I had already curtailed my seafood consumption and I don’t live next door to a cement plant, the only conclusion was that the mercury was coming from my silver amalgam fillings of which I had plenty.  After lots of homework and study and consultations, I learned that silver amalgam fillings are 50% mercury and mercury can leach out of old fillings over time. I decided to have all my silver amalgam fillings removed this summer by a biological dentist who is a DDS as well as a doctor of Integrative Medicine. At my first consultation, the amount of mercury vapor coming off of my teeth was measured at 24 micrograms (micrograms of mercury per cubic meter of air). After chewing gum for five minutes (to simulate eating), that reading increased to 52. The EPA says the level should be 0-1. At 51 mcg a building/business/factory would be shut down and fined by OSHA! Yikes! The amount of electricity coming off my teeth was also very high. I learned that, first of all, it’s not a good thing to have loads of electricity right next to my brain; and also, the greater the electricity, the greater the amount of mercury vapor coming off my teeth which I then inhaled and absorbed into my body. So in one visit to the dentist, I had all my amalgam fillings removed and replaced with a composite material, which was chosen for its compatibility to my body.  I now have no electricity or mercury vapor coming off my teeth. I will be retested in October to see where I stand with the mercury levels inside my body. My dentist is confident from my blood work that I will be a “good mercury dumper” and, for now, we are going to let my body try to do its job.  If need be, I might have to consider some chelation in the future.

Along this journey I have learned that many fine medical doctors absolutely, positively, do not believe there is any connection between high mercury and health issues. Many wonderful and skilled dentists do not believe mercury may be harmful to some people. Critics say that any improved health after mercury removal is simply the placebo effect. Critics say that testing of mercury is only done by a subset of doctors who are trying to make lots of money off of their patients with lab tests and long-term chelating programs. Believers say they reversed their leukemia after their fillings were removed. Believers say that the headache they had for ten years went away after their fillings were removed.  Believers think there might be a strong connection between mercury toxicity and MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

I say you have be your own advocate, be smart, and do a lot of homework. Should people run out and have all their fillings removed? Absolutely not, but if you have constant vague symptoms of fatigue, headache, brain fog, weight gain, anxiety, and depression and your regular doctor says you are “fine” when you know you don’t feel right, then it’s time to think a little outside the box. At the same time, avoid the doctors or alternative healers who do all their own testing in their own offices and suggest a cleansing or chelation program that cost thousand of dollars and keeps you coming back for months and months. Duh! Use your head and do your research. Most doctors are not trained in areas of nutrition, as it’s not taught in medical school. Few doctors think about using food and vitamins as a first defense. Our medical system is set up for crisis not prevention. Our system is second to none if you need tricky surgery or are having a heart attack, but it really doesn’t address the issue of disease prevention. Will my mercury removal solve my minor but nagging health issues and my constant difficulty with my weight? My integrative doctor thinks so. It’s been a month since I had the dental work done and, for the first time in five years, my feet don’t hurt. Placebo effect? I’ll wait and see.

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