A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Mercury Toxicity
I had a question the other day about mercury toxicity.
Mercury is one of the most toxic metals – even more so than lead.
This poison is found in our soil, water, and food supply, as well as in sewage sludge, fungicides, and pesticides.
Some grains and seeds are treated with methyl mercury chlorine bleaches, which seep into our food supply.
Because methyl mercury contaminates our waters, large amounts are found in fish, especially bigger ones farther up the food chain.
About 1/3 (or maybe more) of our lakes and 1/4 of our rivers now contain fish contaminated with mercury.
Mercury is also present in lots of everyday products, including cosmetics, dental fillings, fabric softeners, batteries, industrial instruments, inks used by printers and tattooists, latex, some medications, some paints, plastics, polishes, solvents, and wood preservatives.
Mercury is a cumulative poison.
There’s no barrier keeping mercury from reaching your brain cells, and it’s stored in the pain center of your brain and in your central nervous system.
There it prevents both the normal entry of nutrients into your cells and the removal of wastes from your cells.
It also binds to immune cells, distorting them and interfering with normal immune responses.
This may be one factor behind autoimmune disorders.
Mercury can cause permanent kidney, cardiac, and respiratory problems.
Significant amounts of mercury in your body can cause arthritis, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, fatigue, gum disease, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, insomnia, headaches, joint pain, slurred speech, memory loss, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and excessive salivation.
High levels can also interfere with enzyme activity, resulting in blindness and paralysis.
The symptoms of mercury poisoning can mimic those of multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Many food and environmental allergies may be directly caused by mercury poisoning.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has linked exposure to mercury vapor to menstrual disorders and spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) as well.
Mercury exposure in pregnant women can cause neurological damage, like lowered intelligence and delayed development in infants.
In addition, the mortality rate for infants is significantly increased when mothers are exposed to mercury.
Children who have severe mercury poisoning can experience a syndrome characterized by peeling and pinkness of the skin on their hands, nose, and feet; blindness; increased heart rate; agitation; and pain in their arms and legs.
Signs indicating the presence of toxic mercury levels include behavioral changes, depression, confusion, irritability, and hyperactivity.
People with this toxicity may also have allergic reactions or asthma.
They may complain about a metallic taste in their mouth, and their teeth may loosen.
These symptoms can happen within a few minutes, or they can take as long as 30 minutes to appear.
People get most of their mercury from eating fish.
Mercury can build up in the environment and accumulate in certain freshwater and saltwater fish and marine mammals.
It’s particularly damaging to developing embryos, which are 5-10 times more sensitive than adults.
Although concerns have been raised over the years about the safety of mercury in dental amalgams, researchers have shown these concerns to be unfounded.
Previous estimates of how much mercury is absorbed from fillings were too high.
The measured levels in the brain, blood, and urine from an amalgam are about 1-3 micrograms per day.
Toxic amounts are considered to be 30 micrograms per gram of creatinine (a protein in your urine) a day.
You would need to have 450-530 fillings to achieve this level.
According to the American Dental Association, fewer than 100 cases of allergic reactions to mercury in amalgams have been reported.
And, in 2 major studies in children, no effect was seen on kidney function, behavior, or IQ from mercury in fillings.
To deal with mercury toxicity it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (whether thirsty or not!). Also drink plenty of pure fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
*Alfalfa contains valuable nutrients and helps your body eliminate toxins.
*Eat organically grown foods, especially beans, onions, and garlic, for added sulfur, which helps protect your body against toxins.
*Supplement your diet with plenty of fiber (oat bran is a good source) and pectin (found in apples). (Always take supplemental fiber separately from other supplements and medications.)
*Eat fish in moderation (two 6-ounce servings a week), and always broil it; don’t baste it in its juices. While some fish may contain mercury, fish also contains compounds which help to remove mercury from your body. If there’s mercury in the fish, it’s primarily stored in the fat. By broiling the fish and draining the juices, you’ll get rid of much of the fat and keep the beneficial compounds. Rarely eat high-mercury fish like tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and albacore tuna. Good seafood choices include canned light tuna, salmon, shrimp, catfish, and pollock.
*If you suspect mercury toxicity, have a hair analysis performed. This can detect toxic levels of mercury. A urine mercury test also can give you this information.
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