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Heavy Metals & Your Health: Avoiding Mercury Toxicity

Are you heavy? If so, it may be causing you to be sick and tired, and to age prematurely. I’m not asking about your weight. I’m asking if you’re heavy with heavy metals like mercury? It’s a question that needs to be asked, even as I encounter alarming trends in mercury toxicity in my chiro care and wellness practice.

Sailboat CompassWe humans are poisoning ourselves with mercury at ever increasing rates—along with polar bears, beluga whales, ducks, otters, panthers and all river fish and most large ocean fish. Mercury is a malignant, disease-causing source of environmental toxicity. I should know: I suffered from it for many years.

How Do We Get Toxic Exposures to Mercury?
I polluted myself by eating tuna fish sandwiches and receiving immunizations throughout my childhood, and by having a mouth full of amalgam—a.k.a. mercury fillings—which I had removed all at once, producing a toxic vapor that I readily inhaled. These exposures, along with genes that effectively prevented me from detoxifying the metals in my body, led to a slow and significant poisoning of my cells and mitochondria (the energy storage center of every cell in our body).

The effects were readily apparent: I felt physically weak and tired, and couldn’t think clearly; I had muscle pain and twitches, and I suffered from insomnia, digestive problems, food allergies, weight gain, depression and symptoms of candida. Mercury toxicity is detected through hair and urine samples, and after testing myself I discovered high levels of mercury, which could be eliminated from my body over time through a slow detoxification process. Only then did I begin to feel better.

I’ve seen this over and over again in my practice—from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, autism, candida, anxiety and obesity, to dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, heart failure, and heart disease—the message is clear: Mercury toxicity.

This is such an important public health and personal issue that remains undetected in the lives of so many people.

Alarming Trends in Atmospheric Mercury Levels

Some disconcerting trends were shared during Tulane University’s conference on “The Impact of Mercury on Human Health and the Environment,” an international gathering of policymakers, environmental scientists, toxicologists, biochemists, journalists, academic physicians, practicing pediatricians, neurologists, and dentists.

Barry Kohl, Ph.D., an adjunct professor at Tulane’s department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 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, he explained.

Overall, changes have been dramatic: There’s been a 30-fold increase in mercury deposition during the past 100 years—70 percent of which has come from human sources. For example, much of it comes from coal-fired industrial plants and from chlor-alkali plants using mercury to produce the chlorine used in plastics, pesticides, PVC pipes, and more. Major industrialization has caused an exponential spike in mercury levels during the past 4o years, even though we’ve had a reduction in industrial mercury emissions from 220 million pounds to 120 million pounds a year over the past 10 years—small consolation for a substance measured in parts per million not in millions of pounds.

How Does Mercury Enter the Body?
Sources of mercury exposure are widespread and include mercury vapors in ambient air, drinking water, large fish especially sushi, dental amalgams, vaccines, occupational exposures, and home exposures including fluorescent light bulbs, thermostats, batteries, red tattoo dye, skin-lightening creams, and over-the-counter products like contact lens fluid and neosynephrine.

The human body can absorb about 80 percent of inhaled mercury vapor and nearly 100 percent of the mercury found in fish through the gut. Mercury is then distributed in the kidneys and brain and can be readily transferred to the fetus by way of the placenta. Mercury is eliminated from the body through urine, feces, expired air and, unfortunately, breast milk, which can have harmful effects on unborn children and infants. Looking at children today you may have noticed an increase in instances of autism, and of bright red cheeks and lips and itchy skin, all potentially indicative of elevated mercury levels. A single vaccine given to a child with toxic mercury levels could push him or her over the edge into one of the autistic spectrum disorders we see so often today.

Symptoms Can Mimic Other Conditions

Toxicity results from mercury’s 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. Mercury toxicity has been traced to epidemics such as the Minimata Bay exposures in Japan, acrodynia or pink disease in children from the calomel (HgCl) used in teething powder, mad hatter syndrome or erethism, and methylmercury fungicide grain seed exposures in Iraq and Pakistan. The symptoms are varied and mimic many other conditions, especially nervous system conditions such as erethism, which has symptoms of shyness, emotional irritability, nervousness, insomnia, memory problems and an inability to concentrate.

Other symptoms which seem to mimic other conditions include: encephalopathy (non-specific brain malfunction; nerve damage, tremors, ataxia (loss of balance); impaired hearing; tunnel vision; dysarthria (slurred speech); headaches, fatigue, impaired sexual function, depression, and kidney toxicity, which includes proteinura (protein in the urine and acute renal failure).

Mercury and Candida

Mercury and candida are two sides of the same coin: Candida is an overgrowth of yeast/fungus/mold in our system. Mercury in the digestive tract creates candida because the metal acts like an anti-biotic, similar to when we may have used that orange topical mercuricum as children (on our cuts to kill bacterial infection), so it is with internal mercury which kills off most of the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Good bacteria is our first line of defense for healthy immunity.

Candida/fungus grows freely when friendly bacteria are eliminated by the presence of mercury because candida can absorb ten times its weight in heavy metals. That’s why many candida diets and cleanses fail and symptoms reappear: Metal must be eliminated from our system along with the cleanse.

Help is Available

Mercury toxicity can be turned around with the right holistic health changes and supervised detoxification regimen. We can help: Please contact me by email for further assistance at drsevensky@optimum.net.

 

 

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