MERCURY: Influences on Body Chemistry
Mercury Sources (partial list):
Natural Sources: volcanoes, some stone
Deliberate Sources: mining of silver, lead, and coal; curing of
plastics; fireworks (pharoah’s serpents and bengal green lights); anatomical specimen preservatives;
fungicides and pesticides (golf courses); laboratory tests in slide
preparations and reagants; dental amalgams; thimerosol; certain drugs; thermometers; fluorescent
lights; certain button-sized batteries; coal burning.
infertility, miscarriage and prematurity.
Mercury lowers progesterone levels, which is needed to allow the uterus to
support pregnancy. Progesterone insufficiency can be associated with low libido
(sex drive) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Low progesterone levels can lead to infertility. In fact, PMS and
infertility are common among many young female dental workers due at least in
part to their mercury exposure.
dental workers also have a relatively high incidence of infertility. Mercury
also leads to lower testosterone (male hormone) levels. Both progesterone and testosterone production
are zinc dependent. Mercury interferes
with zinc metabolism and thereby indirectly affects hormone production.
Mineral Displacement: mercury (usually with a +2 charge) can grab the biological
spaces that should be filled by another essential mineral. As a result, there
may be plenty of the mineral found in the blood, urine, hair, etc. but due to
the displacement at the active site, mercury
interferes with the activity of the essential mineral. Symptoms that can be caused by a deficiency
of minerals displaced by mercury include:
- Magnesium: irregular heartbeat,
chocolate cravings, cramps, PMS, receding gums, elevated blood pressure,
- Iron: anemia, fatigue, etc.
- Copper: anemia, thyroid dysfunction,
impaired digestion, liver enzymes are all
copper-dependent, easy bruising, etc.
- Zinc: anorexia nervosa, loss of taste
and smell, loss of appetite, low libido, PMS, impaired growth, acne and
other skin disorders, etc.
- Iodine: thyroid dysfunction, thickened
Digestive effects: mercury acts as an antibacterial and has been
used in some medicines (vaccines, eye drops, etc. as a preservative). Mercury
could be an important cause of bowel yeast or parasite overgrowth due to
killing off beneficial bacteria which normally repel parasites and aid in
digestion. Yeast overgrowth with its
attendant symptoms of fatigue, sweets cravings and vaginal infections is often
traced to the antibiotic effect of dental mercury. Suspect this as a root cause
when yeast is a continuing problem in spite of repeated treatment. The symptom
(yeast overgrowth) will not likely go away until the root cause (mercury) is
dealt with. The effect of dental mercury on normal gut flora is well
Thyroid problems: such as low body temperature often improve
when mercury-containing amalgams are removed.
Normal body temperature is about 98.6 F orally. Those with a temperature
range of 96.2 to 97.6 degrees are often considered to have hypothyroid (low
thyroid function). It has been observed
that their temperature can rise to 98.2 in as little as one day after amalgam
removal and to 98.6 soon afterward. It is plausible that a low body
temperature, which can be a sign of low thyroid function, is another symptom
caused by mercury. Of course it would be
far better to correct the cause of the apparent thyroid malfunction by removing
the fillings or other cause responsible for the low body temperature, rather
than prescribing thyroid hormone.
Brain and Learning: Birth defects involving the brain and learning ability can
be caused by mercury, as the metal can passes through both the placental
barrier into the fetus and the blood-brain barrier. There is a sheep study documenting that the
fetus actually accumulates and concentrates mercury from the mother!
in the brain leads to mental and nervous system effects such as brain fog,
depression, vision difficulties, and others as listed above. Mental effects are
among the most common due to mercury's strong affinity for the brain. Mercury
inhibits the effects of certain neurotransmitters:
- Dopamine: controls pain, well-being
- Serotonin: relaxation, sleep,
- Adrenaline: energy and stamina
- Noradrenaline, melatonin: sleep cycles
of these neurotransmitters by mercury can account in part for the feelings of
depression and loss of motivation.
mental/neurological symptoms include:
- General neurological symptoms
- Mental illness
- Demyelinization, which can lead to such
diseases as multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Developmental problems
- Cerebral palsy
- ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or
Lou Gehrig's disease)
- Alzheimer's disease
- Psychological problems, including loss
of function and memory, anger and emotionality, and timidity
is an excellent on-line movie
clip that you can see right on your computer. You may require a standard plug-in video
program called QuickTime to run it but it is well worth viewing. Go to www.commons.ucalgary.ca/mercury
Mercury effect on energy: Mercury binds to nitrogen and
sulfur in proteins, oxygen from the lungs, sulfur from the liver's
detoxification systems, and selenium from the colon. Lower levels of body
tissue oxygen due to mercury's binding it may lead to:
- Fatigue caused by low blood sugar
secondary to low blood oxygen
- Parasite infestation by setting up an
anaerobic (less oxygen) environment, and by lowering the level of the good
bacteria which fight off parasites
- An anaerobic environment also favors
the development of yeast infections and cancer, since yeast is a
fermenting spore and cancer is a fermenting cell rather than a normal
respiratory (oxygen using) cell.
binds with hemoglobin, which is located inside the red blood cell and carries
oxygen for transport to tissues. Mercury bound to hemoglobin results in less
oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cell and therefore less oxygen will
reach the tissues. The body senses the need for more oxygen and may attempt to
compensate for this by increasing the production of hemoglobin. A normal or increased hemoglobin level
combined with symptoms of lack of oxygen (fatigue, weakness, appearing pale,
rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, etc) could indicate mercury toxicity.
This can confuse the doctor since the patient seems like they are anemic but in
fact the blood counts seem fine.
is also required to prevent anemia, and mercury can compete for copper's
binding sites. In this case, a lowered hematocrit (red blood cell count) can be
indicative of lowered blood copper levels.
terms hematocrit and hemoglobin, found routinely on blood test printouts, can
be confusing. If blood is compared to a train carrying oxygen to where it is
needed, hematocrit is a measure of the number of boxcars on the train (red
blood cells), while hemoglobin is a measure of the carrying capacity of each
boxcar, or red blood cell. When there is
a low hematocrit (less boxcars), it is called anemia.
activity of other minerals on metabolism and energy production can be reduced
by mercury's tendency to fight for site.
A deficiency of the function of minerals can lead to fatigue and other
- Cobalt, calcium, magnesium, potassium,
and sodium are all required for energy.
- Zinc is needed for the manufacture of
- Cobalt, a component of vitamin B12
prevents pernicious anemia, which can cause fatigue.
- Mercury blocks magnesium and manganese
transport required for memory, resulting in lowered ability to
mineral deficiencies may be primarily due to dietary deficiencies. However,
deficiencies may also be secondary. The mineral may be in the body but cannot
get to where it is needed because mercury has blocked the way. This is like
putting a too-large battery in a toy - it won't fit in the slot made for a
smaller battery, both denying power to the toy and blocking the slot from
receiving the correct size battery. For
this reason, knowing the mercury load is critical to understanding the mineral
balance in the body. Lab tests can only
tell the levels available – they do not tell if the minerals are performing
there function in the body. Symptoms and
physical signs can often be helpful in clarifying the illusion that the “labs
are all normal…”
the mercuric ion (Hg+2) binds to sulfhydryl groups (-SH) in
proteins and disulfide groups (-SS) in amino acids. These sulfur containing
groups have an important detoxification function in the body by binding to a
variety of chemicals, toxins, minerals, etc.
Mercury binding to these sulfur groups may prevent them from detoxifying
binding the bile lowers the ability of the body to absorb fat, leading to
increased absorption of toxic oil-soluble chemicals such as solvents and pesticides
like a dry sponge.
is an antioxidant which binds in place of oxygen and which protects against
free radical damage from chemicals which can lead to cancer. Mercury can bind
to selenium, making it useless for this protective purpose.
What else can mercury do?
ion (Hg+1) pushes out Na+1 (sodium), K+1 (potassium), and Li+1 (lithium).
Sodium and potassium are part of the cellular sodium/potassium pump which
causes muscle movement. Interference with sodium and potassium can lead to muscle
weakness for this reason. Leg and muscle cramps may be due to potassium
is sometimes given as lithium carbonate to patients suffering from bipolar
depression (manic depressive illness) since lack of lithium is one of the
causes of the disease. Lack of lithium may itself be caused by mercury
preventing lithium from working as it should in the brain. Mercury is like the
200 pound bully attacking a 7 pound baby; the small baby doesn't have much of a
chance. 200 and 7 are the molecular weights of mercury (the bully) and lithium
(the baby) respectively. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar depression,
maybe what you need is less mercury, not more lithium pills.
fights for binding sites in the kidney, another organ for which it has a
special affinity. A mineral and electrolyte balance is needed in order for the
kidney to perform its functions, and a poorly functioning kidney can lead to
edema (fluid buildup in the body). These minerals are prevented from entering
into their reactions when mercury is there to interfere. Suppression of
potassium by mercury also affects the kidneys which takes
you from making adrenaline to maintaining electrolyte balance, and the lowered
adrenaline level can lead to lower energy.
systems such as metallothionein, cytochrome
P-450, and bile are adversely affected by mercury. Metallothionein
binds toxic metals in the body to prepare them for excretion. Mercury ties up
this material so it cannot clear out other metals such as lead, cadmium, and
from amalgam binds to -SH (sulfhydryl) groups, which are used in almost every
enzymatic process in the body. Mercury therefore has the potential to disturb
all metabolic processes.
people appear to be allergic to whatever food they eat. No matter what they
eat, at least one thing in common is ingested - mercury (or nickel). Mercury
released from amalgam during chewing may be the cause of most of the symptoms
which seem to be caused by the food. If a mercury vapor test, described later
in this chapter, is done, it may show a low to moderate level of mercury
initially, but a sharply increased level after chewing gum. This is also what
happens when food is chewed. Such a test result combined with apparent allergy
to most food points to mercury as a probable culprit. Nickel, which may also be
contributing to the problem, is in stainless steel dental posts and braces.
(Paraphrased from the book "Surviving the Toxic
Crisis" by William R. Kellas)