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Dr. Mark Hyman - Mercury - How to Get this Lethal Poison Out of Your Body

Consumer News and Testimonials

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Conductor Dr. Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic Conductor Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic was mercury poisoned by his dental amalgam, "silver fillings". He was diagnosed with Ménière's disease, a disorder of the inner ear characterized by episodes of vertigo, tinnitus & progressive hearing loss. Mr Zander had a full recovery after getting his amalgam fillings safely removed.
Amanda Just Testimony to the 2010 FDA Panel As a public school teacher who recovered from mercury toxicity triggered by 13 amalgam fillings and a botched root canal, I’m at this meeting because I feel a responsibility to protect my students and all of the children of America, our future, from dental mercury, the same form of poison that nearly destroyed my life.
Injured consumer activists make their voices heard at FDA hearings This past December the FDA held a dental products panel meeting to listen to the arguments for and against safety of dental amalgam. A number of consumer advocates (injured from dental amalgam) were on hand to present their powerful stories to the FDA.
Freya Koss 2010 FDA testimony My name is Freya Koss. I am one of the thousands and perhaps millions of consumers who have sustained neurological and other injuries resulting from placement of silver amalgam dental fillings. Unfortunately, the majority of dental patients are unaware their silver colored fillings contain 50% mercury, a known neurotoxin.
Do you have questions about mercury toxicity related to your "silver" fillings? DAMS Has the Answers Do you have questions about mercury toxicity related to your "silver" fillings? DAMS Has the Answers !
Dr Hesham El-Essawy DDS records patients health improvements after amalgam removal British dentist Dr Hesham El-Essawy has recorded dozens of patients personal testimonials of incredible health improvements after safely removing their dental mercury amalgam fillings.
Testing Glutathione to determine mercury toxicity Boyd Haley P.h.D. discusses the importance of testing Glutathione to determine mercury toxicity.
Chris Shade PhD shares his mercury toxicity and amalgam removal story Chris Shade PhD of Quicksilver Scientific shares his story of mercury toxicity, amalgam removal and subsequent health improvements.
Urinary Porphyrn Profile Testing to Determine Mercury Toxicity In this video Boyd Haley PhD discusses Urinary Porphyrn Profile Testing for Mercury Toxicity.
Chris Shade PhD of Quicksilver Scientific explains mercury speciation testing Chris Shade PhD of Quicksilver Scientific explains mercury speciation testing.
Stephanie Bernier-Adamson 2010 FDA Testimony Like many other victims of mercury toxicity, I suffered from numerous autoimmune and mystery illnesses for years before being diagnosed with mercury poisoning. In 2010, my physician recommended I have my six silver fillings, removed immediately. Over the last year, my health has improved far beyond my wildest expectations.
Scott Rossi, My Personal Mercury Amalgam Poisoning. I am a survivor of mercury poisoning which stemmed from having 16 mercury dental amalgam fillings by the time I was 24 years old. I've suffered from a number of neurological issue, including: depression, panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, stuttering and heart palpitations. I reached a point in my life where I wanted god himself to take my life and I wanted to die.
Lynn Foutch, Olympic Hopeful Struck Down with Mercury Poisoning from her "Silver" Amalgam Fillings In 2007, I was training rigorously for the 2008 U. S. Women's Marathon Olympic Trials when my health took a down turn. My training abruptly ended as I began experiencing neurological symptoms, gastrointestinal distress and major fatigue.Lucily, I was able to pinpoint the underlying cause, mercury toxicity.
Engineer & Scientist, Robert Cartland Recovers from Dental Amalgam Mercury Toxicity I suspected my health was being impacted by my dental amalgams but dismissed the idea as I trusted the scientific integrity of the dental and medical community. I assumed the anti-amalgam community to be unscientific alarmist. I expected to find little or no scientific work on the subject, but was shocked to find hundreds of peer reviewed studies.
Safe Removal of Mercury Amalgam Silver Fillings Dentists all over the world remove millions of amalgam fillings every day, with no regard for the possible mercury exposure that can result from grinding them out. Quite often, a new amalgam filling goes back in place of the old one. The dental establishment claims amalgam emits little or no mercury, but then turns blames the mercury–free dentists for “unnecessarily exposing patients to excess mercury” when removing amalgams electively.
Published author, Deborah Merlin shares her amalgam mercury poisoning experience Plagued with allergies, vitiligo, and Hashimoto’s thyroid, I attended a medical lecture featuring a panel of doctors, one of whom spoke about autoimmune diseases and offered a warning that would change my life. “If you are in your thirties and forties and have been suffering from autoimmune diseases,” he said, “it may be connected to the amalgam fillings in your mouth.”
Ornella Ciman, amazing recovery from her amalgam mercury poisoning This is the account of how my wife was affected by mercury poisoning: It started with symptoms ranging from unexplained anxiety, palpitations, struggling to breathe, light headedness and in the final stages of her illness, pins and needless over her body. Her arms and legs became very weak and she would frequently feel as if she were going to pass out.
Maine Legislature Fails to protect Pregnant Women and Children from Mercury, Kills Amalgam Bill in Committee Despite having a wealth of science at their disposal on the toxicity of mercury from dental amalgma fillings, the Maine legislature favored the American Dental Association's views of mercury safety and killed a bill that would ban dentists from placing mercury fillings in pregnant woman, children and nursing mothers.
The Maine Legislators who voted against protecting pregnant women and children from dental mercury exposure By a unanimus vote, the members of the Health and Human Services Committee of the Maine Legislature voted against releasing a bill, "An Act To Prohibit the Use of Mercury Amalgams in Dental Procedures for Children, Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers."on the floor of the house, thus killing it in committee.
Evaluation of mercury in urine as an indicator of exposure to low levels of mercury vapor The relationship between urinary mercury and airborne concentrations of elemental mercury is only reliable down to concentrations of about 10 µg/m3 and therefore not an accurate measure for understanding exposure of persons due to most environmental air concentrations, which are well below 10 µg/m3.
Chelation Safety and Effectiveness Issues related to detoxification from toxic metals. Things to be aware of before embarking on IV or push chelating treatment or IV or push challenge test.
Consumers Demand FDA Action as U.S. Calls For Mercury Amalgam ‘Phase Out’ On May 5th 2011, Mercury poisoned consumers, dentists and healthcare professionals will confront the Center’s Director, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, about FDA’s non-action to remove mercury fillings from dentistry. CDRH is the arm of the FDA that regulates amalgam fillings containing fifty percent mercury, a known neurotoxin.
Kathy Prior describes her life dealing with mercury poisoning 12 years ago I went to the dentist. Immediately, I notice I could not hear to well. I was tested, 40% hearing in right ear, 60% hearing in left ear. I received implant hearing implant in my left ear. My vision was blurry. I received my first pair glasses. I started stuttering, then my foot was hurting.
Gail Gardner's Immediate and continuing side-effects of mercury fillings Thanks to Champus (federally-funded health program for military dependents) I ended up w/ 7 fillings that completely cover the chewing surface when I was 10 which caused immediate horrendous headache / toothache / earaches plus hyper-sensitivity to cold that persists to this day.
Boyd Haley PhD explains benefits of OSR and limitations of chelators DMPS DMSA EDTA Boyd Haley PhD explains the benefits of Oxidative Stress Relief (OSR) and the limitations of chelators DMPS, DMSA & EDTA.
Hanne Koplev suffered from possible heavy metal induced Parkinson's Disease Veterinarian Hanne Koplev suffered for years from possible heavy metal induced Parkinson's Disease
Dr. Mark Hyman - Mercury Detox - A 3-step Plan to Recover Your Health Are you worried that you might be poisoned by mercury? A scary thought - but there is a way to heal. In this weeks UltraWellness blog Mark Hyman, MD outlines a 3-step plan to help your body detoxify from mercury and recover your health. To find out more, watch this video from Dr. Mark Hyman.
Dr. Mark Hyman - Mercury - How to Get this Lethal Poison Out of Your Body Mercury poisoning could be leading to your ill health and weight gain, and you may not even realize it. Mark Hyman MD reviews some of the most recent research on the effects of mercury toxicity, explains how you can find out if you have a heavy load of mercury in your body, and offers suggestion on how to limit your exposure.
Author Aine Ni Cheallaigh Tells Her Mercury Story Looking back it's hard to believe that I didn't figure things out sooner. I was perfectly placed to know exactly what was going on. I was conscious about toxins of all kinds and took supplements to keep myself healthy. And yet, when I fell ill with mysterious symptoms eight months after I got my amalgam fillings removed, I had no idea that this could be caused by mercury.
Top Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Mercury Fillings Mercola has posted the top ten reasons to get rid of mercury fillings, by Charlie Brown, National Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice. 
References Documenting Symptoms To Mercury Exposure Mercury mimics many illnesses. This overview by James M. Love and Dr. Michael Ziff of the International Academy of Oral medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) provides references for the many varied adverse reactions and symptoms people can experience when exposed to mercury vapor and mercury contaminated particulate matter (as from dental mercury fillings).
Chris Shade PhD of Quicksilver Scientific: Mercury and the Three Phases of the Human Detoxification System Mercury has the tendency to break down the very systems that are supposed to remove it. Unfortunately, failure to look at  the different forms of mercury we are exposed to, and understand them in the context of the human detoxification system, leads to either reckless or inefficient detoxification strategies. 
Celebrate Mercury Free Dentistry Week September 4 - 9 Dr. Joe Mercola of the leading health website Mercola.com and Consumers for Dental Choice are declaring September 4-9 Mercury-Free Dentistry Week.
Flight attendant Denise Knight shares her story of mercury toxicity from unsafe amalgam removal Flight attendant Denise Knight shares her story of extreme mercury toxicity from unsafe amalgam removal.
Fox News Reporter Stacy Case tells her story of mercury induced Multiple Sclerosis from her amalgam fillings My name is Stacy Case. I am a mom, wife, believer, journalist and a fighter. In 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. All of my neurological symptoms started right after I had my silver fillings removed and replaced with more silver fillings. I later learned each filling is made of 50% MERCURY!
PUBLIC DEMANDS FDA TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION ON MERCURY FILLINGS At an FDA Town Meeting (9-22-2011), injured consumers, dentists, and healthcare professionals will challenge the FDA to protect the public from “silver” dental amalgam fillings containing 50% mercury. Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, will host the meeting Sept 22, 8am-noon at the Embassy Suites Hotel, San Francisco Airport.
Dr. Tom McGuire's newest video, Mercury: The Poison in Your Teeth Dr. Tom McGuire's 'Mercury: The Poison in Your Teeth' Video demonstration proves that more mercury vapor is released by brushing an amalgam filling than is allowed by governmental regulatory agencies at the workplace. Dr. McGuire's video also describes the symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning and how to find a mercury safe dentist.
Seán Ó Briain, My story of amalgam illness, and my start to recovery In 2005, I received 7 amalgam fillings and afterwards saw my health spiral downward. It wouldn't be until years later that I would pin-point the destruction of my health to this event. I remember shortly after that dental appointment, I became ill routinely. My mother said to me "You haven't been well since you went to that dentist" - And that always stuck in the back of my mind.
The World Health Organization urges “switch” away from amalgam The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its long-awaited report on dental amalgam, In Future Use of Materials for Dental Restoration.  WHO urges "a switch in use of dental materials" away from amalgam. "For many reasons," WHO explains, "restorative materials alternative to dental amalgam are desirable." The report describes three of these reasons in detail:
A compilation of studies indicating inorganic mercury, as from dental mercury fillings, is mainly execreted in the feces There is a widespread lack of knowledge from the medical profession about the main excretatory pathway of inorganic mercury. The following is a compilation of studies indicating inorganic mercury, as from dental mercury fillings, is mainly execreted in the feces
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TO ANNOUNCE POSITION ON MERCURY FILLINGS For the first time in history, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is evaluating international regulations that would ban mercury-containing products including silver/amalgam dental fillings, which contain 50% mercury and are already in the mouths of more than 122 million Americans.
Boyd Haley PhD tells the story of his product OSR#1 - Oxidative Stress Relief OSR (Oxidative Stress Relief) developed by Boyd Haley is a powerful antioxidant. High levels of free radicals and oxidation can lead to oxidative stress. The body fights oxidation by producing glutathione. Mercury inhibits the production of glutathione, which then may not be able to keep up with the production of free radicals. OSR assists glutathione with scavenging free radicals.
Chris Shade PhD discusses how one is exposed to dental mercury and what it can do once inside the body. Chris Shade PhD discusses how one is exposed to dental mercury and what it can do once inside the body.
EPA: Mercury Study Report to Congress Outlines Health Effects of Mercury In 1997 The Environmental Protection Agency compiled the Mercury Study Report to Congress. This document covers the human health effects of mercury and mercury compounds. Upon reading the symptoms of mercury vapor-induced neurotoxicity and the toxicokinetics, it is apparent that mercury has great potential to mimmic symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Mercury Safe Dentist Dr. Neufeld of Fullerton California I am one of the few dentists in the Orange, Riverside, and L.A. counties who has the experience and special equipment required for the mercury safe protocol recommended by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, so patients do not inhale toxic mercury vapors.
They Don't Still Put Mercury in Dental Fillings, Do They? This great article by the late Sandy Duffy, past board President of Consumers for Dental Choice outlines many aspects of the dental mercury filling controversy including the history of amalgams, manufacturer warnings, potential health issues from mercury exposure and informed consent considerations.
Rebecca Lee and her health hegira Rebecca Lee's eight mercury filling removals sent her health into a tailspin. Read on as she tells of her health hegira (a journey, especially when undertaken to escape from a dangerous or undesirable situation).
Dr Mike Margolis - mercury safe - holistic - biological dentist Dr. Margolis is not just a dentist, but also a doctor of integrative medicine and one of the pioneers in promoting biological, mercury safe dentistry. His extensive training in cosmetic and biological dentistry and his concern for the safe removal of amalgam fillings makes him ideally suited to remove and replace them.
The Difference Between Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe Dentistry Mercury free dentists have been known to polish and remove  "silver" amalgam fillings thereby exposing their patients and staff members to thousands of micrograms of mercury vapor and particulate matter. "Mercury Safe" dentists take every precaution to protect the patient, staff and environment from harmful mercury vapors and mercury contaminated particulate matter.
Tara Lorai ongoing recovery from mercury exposure What began with debilitating fatigue, grew to accompany insomnia, blurred vision, painful sinus headaches, extreme allergies (to everything), food intolerances, candida, never-ending chronic infections, exhaustion, a consistent feeling of being tired yet wired, and hypo-thyroid issues. Everything became incredibly overwhelming. Darkness clouded over me like a shadow of death; I became depressed, anxious, and frustrated. I had gone mad, and my life had fallen apart. I was living in a bubble, and a normal existence seemed like an impossible dream.

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Wednesday, 08 June 2011 05:00

Dr. Mark Hyman - Mercury - How to Get this Lethal Poison Out of Your Body

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Dr. Mark Hyman on the importance of Glutathione

Mercury poisoning could be leading to your ill health and weight gain, and you may not even realize it. In this weeks UltraWellness blog, Mark Hyman MD reviews some of the most recent research on the effects of mercury toxicity, explains how you can find out if you have a heavy load of mercury in your body, and offers suggestion on how to limit your exposure. To find out more, watch this video from Dr. Mark Hyman or visit http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog

If you are heavy, it could be making you sick and tired and age prematurely. And I don't mean heavy with fat ...

I mean heavy with heavy metals -- like mercury!

Unfortunately, toxic mercury problems are common. Along with polar bears, beluga whales, ducks, otters, panthers, and all river fish as well as most large ocean fish, we humans are poisoning ourselves with mercury at ever increasing rates.

There's no doubt about it, mercury is the most alarming, disease-causing source of environmental toxicity that I see daily in my practice. Many of patients have toxic levels of mercury -- and they're not alone. I personally suffered from mercury toxicity and chronic fatigue syndrome --which I cured myself from, in part by getting rid of the mercury in my body. So I know about this first hand.

I became toxic because I polluted myself by growing up on tuna fish sandwiches, eating sushi, living in Beijing, which heats all its homes with coal -- the major source of environmental mercury load -- and having a mouthful of amalgam (a.k.a. mercury) fillings.

All of these exposures, combined with genes that prevent me from effectively detoxifying metals in my body, led to a slow and significant poisoning of my cells and mitochondria. And the effects were obvious ...

I felt weak, tired, and couldn't think. I had muscle pain and twitches, insomnia, digestive problems, food allergies, depression, and anxiety. And it was only by discovering high levels of mercury in my hair and urine -- and slowly detoxifying myself -- that I was able to get better.

I have seen this over and over in my patients, too. From chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, to depression, anxiety, obesity, dementia, Parkinson's disease, cancer, heart failure, and heart disease, the message is clear ...

We are being poisoned!

This is such an important public health and personal issue for so many people that I'm going to use this blog and next week's blog to fully explain the extent of mercury issues and give you a comprehensive plan for reducing your exposure and healing from mercury toxicity. I'll show you the science behind mercury toxicity, share some stories about my patients who have suffered, and talk about the way we need to deal with this major health problem.

First, I'd like to share with you what I learned at one of the most important international conferences on mercury yet to be held. It was called "The Impact of Mercury on Human Health and the Environment" and was presented at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.

There, a unique international group of policymakers, environmental scientists, toxicologists, biochemists, journalists, academic physicians, practicing pediatricians, neurologists, and dentists gathered.

We were there to make sense of the environmental impact, toxicology, basic science, public policy and health implications of one the least studied and perhaps greatest potential threats to our long-term health -- mercury. And I want to share some of what I learned at that conference with you.

Mercury Levels Are on the Rise

Barry Kohl, Ph.D. is an adjunct professor in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Tulane University. At the conference he provided a unique overview of the impact of industrialization on environmental mercury levels through a description of the levels of mercury in the ice core extracted from the pristine Freemont Glacier in Wyoming.

There were small peaks in mercury concentration in the ice core from the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption in Indonesia, the 1850-84 gold rush in California where mercury was used for smelting, the eruption in 1883 of the Sumatran volcano Krakatau 10,000 miles away, and the more recent Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980.

Overall, the changes in environmental mercury levels have been dramatic. Over the past 100 years, there has been a 30-fold increase in mercury deposition, 70 percent of which is from human sources. In fact, there was an exponential peak in mercury occurring in the last 40 years due to major industrialization. Much of this mercury comes from coal-fired industrial plants and from chlor-alkali plants that use mercury in the process of making chlorine used in plastics, pesticides, PVC pipes, and more.

One note of hope was the reduction in industrial mercury emissions from 220 million pounds to 120 million pounds a year over the last 10 years. But that's small consolation when we're talking about a substance that is toxic in parts per million, not in millions of pounds.

And the more mercury we are exposed to, the more we are likely we are to be toxic.

Risk Increases with Dose

Harvey Clewell from the ENVIRON Health Sciences Institute, Ruston, Louisiana, reviewed the epidemiologic studies from the Seychelles and Faroe islands. He showed that your risk of toxicity increases with higher doses of mercury.

Now, there are different types of mercury. Nearly all human exposures to one type, methylmercury, come from fish.

In the Seychelle Islands, there seemed be little effect on kids from mercury; however their fish consumption was predominately from low-risk small reef fish that don't contain much mercury.

On the other hand, in the Faroe Islands people eat whale blubber, which contains high levels of mercury -- over three parts per million. There, high levels of mercury were found in umbilical cord blood and correlated with reduced performance in neurologic testing in 917 mother-infant pairs.

The health effects from methyl mercury upon infants and children depend on the dose. Severe symptoms start with exposure to doses of 100 mcg/kg/day, mild symptoms with more than 10 mcg/kg/day, and sub-clinical symptoms with less than 1 mcg/kg/day. These symptoms include late development in walking and talking and decreased performance on neurological tests.

Dr. Clewell also reviewed the limitations of various forms of testing for mercury.

Methylmercury (also called organic mercury) is found predominately in red blood cells, which is what doctors check when they do a blood test for mercury. But unless you've been eating fish with mercury recently, you won't see your total body level of mercury.

Plus, mercury is lipophilic, meaning that it concentrates in fatty tissues, especially in the brain, which is made mostly of fat. That means that blood levels aren't an accurate measurement of total body burden of mercury.

Inorganic mercury from dental fillings (amalgams) is found in plasma but is rapidly cleared and stored in your tissues. Inorganic mercury is also converted from methylmercury by the body and is the main form of mercury in brain, which can lead to dementia, autism, ADHD and more.

All of these are reasons you need to get comprehensive testing done to assess you total mercury load. I will review the test you need in a moment, but first I want to talk about how mercury gets in your body and what it does to your body and brain.

Health Effects of Mercury

We get mercury in our bodies from many different sources including mercury vapors in ambient air, ingesting it via drinking water, fish, dental amalgams, vaccines, occupational exposures, home exposures including fluorescent light bulbs, thermostats, batteries, red tattoo dye, skin-lightening creams, over-the-counter products such as contact lens fluid and neosynephrine, and more.

You absorb about 80 percent of inhaled mercury vapor and nearly 100 percent of the mercury in fish through your gut.

Once this mercury is in your body it is then primarily distributed in the kidneys and brain and can be readily transferred to the fetus via the placenta.

The only way it can get out of your body is via urine, feces, expired air, and breast milk. The major reason it is toxic to human biology is because mercury has the ability to bind to sulfur-containing molecules in the body (found in nearly every enzyme and in the mitochondria), as well as other chemical binding sites in the cells.

We've learned a lot about how this mercury effects us and our children from reported exposures to mercury over the last 100 years. These include epidemics such as the Minimata Bay exposures in Japan, acrodynia or pink disease in children from calomel (HgCl) used in teething powder, "mad hatter syndrome" or erethism, and methylmercury fungicide grain seed exposures in Iraq and Pakistan.

The symptoms and diseases these exposures have caused are varied and mimic many other conditions. Nervous system toxicity can cause erethism ("mad hatter syndrome" as mentioned above) with symptoms of shyness; laughing, crying, and dramatic mood swings for no apparent reason; nervousness, insomnia, memory problems, and the inability to concentrate.

Other neurologic symptoms may include encephalopathy (non-specific brain malfunction), nerve damage, Parkinsonian symptoms, tremor, ataxia (loss of balance), impaired hearing, tunnel vision, dysarthria (slurred speech), headache, fatigue, impaired sexual function, and depression.

Kidney toxicity leads to proteinura (protein in the urine) and acute renal failure.

Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and colitis.

Skin toxicity causes allergic dermatitis, chelitis (cracked corners of the mouth), gingivitis (gum disease), stomatitis (sores in the mucous membranes of the mouth) and excessive salivation.

Clearly, mercury toxicity is VERY serious business!

Dentistry and Mercury

One of the more controversial sources of mercury toxicity is dental fillings. Silver dental fillings, or amalgams, contain inorganic mercury. Mercury exposure from amalgams is estimated to be between 3 to 17 micrograms per day from chewing, brushing, grinding, and even slow corrosion.

Questions have arisen about whether or not this amount is toxic ... I am going to clear up the confusion here.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no significant neurologic or behavioral changes in children who had mercury amalgam (silver) fillings, compared to kids who had composite (white) fillings placed. But there were significant problems with that study ...

First, the duration of the study was short and the effects subtle. Second, they failed to emphasize the significance of the fact that the kids who had the silver fillings had much higher levels of mercury in their urine than the kids with white fillings.

This is one of the most important details of that study, because it proves that mercury fillings in your mouth release mercury vapor that is absorbed into your body, ending up in your urine. It is deposited in your organs, including your brain, where it accumulates over time.

Whether your fillings are new or old, the mercury in them is constantly absorbed into your body. And even if you stop being exposed to that mercury, it sticks around. It takes up to 18 years for the body to clear half of the dose of mercury from the body. Once mercury is in the body it comes out only VERY slowly.

In fact, people with amalgam fillings have significantly elevated blood mercury levels, three to five times more mercury in the urine, and two to twelve times more mercury in their tissues than those without amalgam fillings.

However blood and urine mercury levels don't necessarily relate to the mercury load in your body tissues or severity of clinical symptoms.

Research on sheep and monkeys with dental amalgams has shown that blood mercury levels remained low -- even though their tissue mercury levels were raised.

Urine mercury levels aren't much better as an indicator of your total mercury load. They mainly reflect the cumulative dose of inorganic mercury in the kidneys and there exists only a very weak correlation with levels in other target tissues.

Another speaker at the conference, Mike Robichaux, a practicing dentist, reviewed his experience with removal of amalgams fillings. He showed a remarkable video of mercury vapor being released from a 25-year-old tooth. You can watch it on the website of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.

But other dentists aren't so concerned. In fact, the American Dental Association still says it is safe to use mercury or silver fillings. That's something I've always wondered about, since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers old mercury fillings that have been removed from the body toxic waste that has to be disposed as such.

Let me put this another way. It's apparently all right to put mercury fillings in your mouth -- but not to throw them out in the garbage!

The danger of amalgam fillings has been confirmed by research from around the world.

At the conference, Anders Lindvall, M.D., from the Foundation for Metal Biology in Sweden, reported his work on the health effects of dental amalgams and presented a review of the controversial literature on dental amalgams and human health.

Many of his patients reported a symptom complex consistent with chronic fatigue syndrome that they believed were related to dental amalgams. So in 1990, Dr. Lindvall began a study at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden to diagnose and treat 796 patients with suspected amalgam-related illness and to develop and evaluate diagnostic tools to assess toxicity from dental amalgams. (i)

Besides conventional measures of quality of life and symptoms, unique laboratory assessments were used to determine the presence and immunological toxicity of metals.

One was PIXE, an accelerator-based test on single blood cells that assesses intracellular levels of trace elements, which showed that, in lymphocytes (white blood cells), mercury is found in the nucleus, particularly in places where zinc is low.

The other was MELISA, a test of lymphocyte reactivity to metal compounds. Information about the MELISA test is available at www.melisa.org. (ii)

Dr. Lindvall's patients were treated with antioxidants (B complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, and selenium); infections and jaw dysfunction were addressed; and selective removal of any incompatible dental material was performed using low-emission amalgam removal techniques and bio-compatible materials to replace the amalgams.

The cost of these procedures was covered by national health insurance.

Laboratory follow up at one year showed over 70 percent of patients reported significant improvement in symptoms after amalgam removal!

Unfortunately, this study had some problems too ...

The clinic was closed after the study was published, so there was no further access allowed to the records, which contained over 1,000 untreated patients who could have served as a control group. And since 1999, amalgam dental restorations in Sweden are no longer covered by insurance.

But Dr. Lindvall's study still suggests that silver amalgams can cause health problems -- and that removing the fillings can help relieve these problems.

And other studies have had similar effects.

Research has found that patients with chronic fatigue and autoimmune thyroiditis show improvement in their health status after their amalgam fillings are replaced with composites. (iii)

In another study, 71 percent of people with autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, improved after amalgam removal. Low-dose exposure to inorganic mercury may be a contributing factor in the development of autoimmune diseases. (iv)

Animal and lab studies suggest that exposure to metallic mercury may cause nerve cell damage and promote the production the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. (v)

Plus, we know that mercury levels in the human placenta correlate with the number of maternal amalgam fillings -- and a substantial amount of mercury from amalgams reaches the fetus.

Worse, mercury from dental amalgams in pregnant women may also contribute to development of autism in their children. In one study, mothers of 94 autistic children had statistically more amalgam fillings during pregnancy than 49 mothers of healthy kids. (vi)

In contrast to their higher mercury exposure during pregnancy, these autistic children had reduced mercury levels in their first haircut (mercury exposure can be measured in human hair). This may reflect a reduced capacity to excrete mercury from their body, which in turn may lead to elevated brain mercury levels.

And approximately 20 percent of the general public may experience sub-clinical central nervous system and/or kidney function impairment due to amalgam fillings.

When taken collectively, the research forces us to question the safety of dental amalgams. In my view, there is no doubt about it ... they are a danger.

But before you start yanking out your fillings, there is something else to consider ...

Genetic Variations in the Ability to Detoxify

Some of us are very good at detoxifying mercury and other toxins, while some of us store toxins like a toxic waste dump. Genetic variations (called polymorphisms) make some people more prone to metal toxicity.

One gene in particular is very important because it's related to the body's production of glutathione, our most powerful detoxifier and antioxidant. Your body can only excrete mercury when it's bound with glutathione.

The polymorphism of the gene that controls the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase (GSST) prevents excretion of mercury. That is the gene problem I have that led to my mercury toxicity. When that happens, the mercury stays in tissues and does damage. Plus, mercury also binds to key enzymes that help us produce glutathione -- in effect helping itself accumulate in our bodies.

Research also shows that people suffering from symptoms like fatigue, irritability, mood disorders, poor concentration, headaches, and insomnia due to their amalgam fillings are more likely than their peers to have the apolipoprotein E 4 (ApoE 4) gene. (vii)

ApoE 4 is known as the "Alzheimer's gene." It also promotes heart disease. ApoE 4 reduces detoxifying activity. This means that people with this gene can't get rid of mercury from their brains, contributing to its toxic effects on this organ.

I know this all sounds very depressing. And it is. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your exposure -- and identify if you have toxic levels of mercury. So let me sum up what we learned in this week's blog and offer some suggestions for reducing your exposure.

10 Truths and Tips about Mercury Toxicity

1. Industrial exposure to mercury is significant and mostly comes from coal burning (220 million pounds a year) and chlor-alkali plants.

2. The main ways that humans are exposed to mercury are from contaminated fish and dental amalgams or silver fillings.

3. Mercury can affect nearly all your organs, especially the brain, heart, kidneys, and gut.

4. Many chronic diseases may be caused or worsened by mercury, including neurologic disease, ADHD, autism, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and more.

5. Some of us are genetically better adapted to detoxify mercury than others, leading to variable effects within the population.

6. You should reduce your exposure by avoiding large ocean fish (like tuna, swordfish, shark, and tilefish) and river fish. Eat only small wild fish. If it fits in your pan, it is probably okay.

7. Blood tests are relatively worthless for analyzing mercury toxicity, unless you have had a significant recent exposure or eat a lot of sushi or tuna.

8. Hair tests only check for mercury from fish, not from fillings so they only give you a partial picture.

9. The only way to find out your total body load of mercury is to take a medication with sulfur molecules that binds to the mercury like fly paper. This is called DMSA or DMPS.

This test should ONLY be done by a trained physician and involves taking one dose of this medicine, followed by a 6- or 24-hour urine collection to see how much comes out. (In my opinion, the most reliable testing is done by www.doctorsdata.com).

10. If you are toxic and sick, you may consider addressing your dental health by seeing a biological dentist who can safely help you deal with mercury in your mouth.

Going to see a conventional dentist who drills out your fillings without any precautions or protection can lead to serious health consequences. I strongly advise against it. However, amalgam filling removal CAN be done safely and effectively done by a dentist trained in the correct techniques.

That's all for this week. Next week, I'll give you more advice on how to safely eliminate the mercury in your body if you find you are toxic. Finding out if you are poisoned by mercury, limiting your exposures, and getting the mercury out of your body is absolutely critical if you want to achieve lifelong vibrant health.

If you would like to read more of the extensive research on the biologic effects of mercury and toxins on human health, please link to this extensive online bibliography. If you have any doubt about the evidence of harm across a broad range of health conditions of mercury, you must do your homework and review the research yourself.

Now I'd like to hear from you...

Do you think mercury toxicity is a legitimate health concern or a bogus problem?

Do you have any symptoms of mercury toxicity and what have you done about them?

Have you asked your doctor about mercury toxicity and if so, what was his/her response?

Are you exposed to many sources of mercury? What could you do to reduce your exposure?

Please let me know your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, M.D.


(i) Lindh U. Removal of dental amalgam and other metal alloys supported by antioxidant therapy alleviates symptoms and improves quality of life in patients with amalgam-associated ill health. Neuroendocrinology Letters 2002; 23(5/6):459-482.

(ii) Stejskal V. Metal-specific lymphocytes: biomarkers of sensitivity in man. Neuroendocrinology Letters 1999;20:289-298.

(iii) Sterzl I., et al. Mercury and nickel allergy: Risk factors in fatigue and autoimmunity. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 1999; 20: 221-228.

(iv) Prochazkova, J., et al. The beneficial effect of amalgam replacement on health in patients with autoimmunity. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 2004; 25(3): 211-218.

(v) Stejskal, J. and Stejskal, V. The role of metals in autoimmunity and the link to neuroendocrinology. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 1999; 20: 351-364.

(vi) Holmes, A.S., et al. Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children. International Journal of Toxicology. 2003. 22(4): 277-285.

(vii) Wojcik, D.P. et al. Mercury toxicity presenting as chronic fatigue, memory impairment, and depression: Diagnosis, treatment, susceptibility, and outcomes in a New Zealand practice setting (1994-2006). 2006. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 27(4): 415-423.

Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. Dr. Hyman is now sharing the 7 ways to tap into your body's natural ability to heal itself. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on Youtube and become a fan on Facebook.


mercury-exposure-avatarFor years I've read news stories about dental mercury amalgam fillings that failed to ask vital follow up questions for one to form a better understanding of the true risks involved with exposure to mercury fillings. Rarely was a toxicologist, neurologist or bio-chemist interviewed. Instead, the stories would always give dentists such prominence when promoting the safety of a substance of which they knew nothing about, all while never acknowleding the much lower levels of mercury at which our government has removed other products from the market. So now I'm doing what I can to help raise awareness of the many dangerous aspects of dental mercury fillings.

Website: www.mercuryexposure.info

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