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Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
May, 2001

Mercury Detoxification.

Author/s: Mitchell A. Fleisher
 

Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, we have all been unfortunately and undeniably exposed to an increasingly toxic and polluted world. Among the most dangerous of these pollutants is mercury, which is considered to be the most toxic, non-radioactive, heavy metal. There are no metabolic functions for which mercury is known to be required. Mercury is considered to be toxic at any concentration in the body and can cause a very wide range of psychophysiological disturbances [1] (see table 1).

Mercury Exists in Different Toxic Forms

Mercury occurs in three different forms -- elemental or metallic, inorganic and organic - each with their own unique, toxicological characteristics and primary sources of exposure (see table 2). Metallic mercury is insoluble in water but dissolves inorganic, lipophilic solvents and is found in dental amalgams, thermometers, electrical switching and pressure-sensing devices, gauges, vacuum pumps, etc. It is the only metal that is in a liquid state at room temperature and vaporizes easily. Elemental mercury accumulates in the brain, kidneys, lungs and fatty tissues, where it causes cellular dysfunction and acute and chronic inflammation. Elemental mercury is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and over 200 grams ingested by children has not resulted in systemic poisoning. The real danger arises from exposure to mercury vapor. Metallic mercury vapor crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it accumulates in the central nervous system (CNS), and damages brain cells, particularly sensory and motor neurons [2] (see table 3).

Elemental mercury vapor exposure may result in the following symptoms: short- and long-term memory loss; poor concentration; intellectual decline; irritability; fits of anger; depression; anxiety or nervousness; shyness or timidity; loss of self-confidence; drowsiness; insomnia; bleeding gums; loosening of teeth; excessive salivation; halitosis or foul breath; metallic taste in the mouth; leukoplakia or white patches of the oral mucosa; gingivitis; stomatitis; ulceration of gingiva, palate and tongue; burning sensation in mouth and throat; alveolar (jaw) bone loss; abdominal cramps; constipation or diarrhea; colitis; arrhythmias (bradycardia, tachycardia); feeble and irregular pulse; alterations in blood pressure; chest pain or pressure; persistent cough; shallow and irregular breathing; emphysema; asthma; rhinitis; sinusitis; allergies; lymphadenopathy or swollen glands, especially in the neck; subnormal body temperature; excessive perspiration; cold, clammy skin, especially of the hands and feet; joint pains; peripheral edema or swelling of limbs; muscle weakness; fatigue; wei ght loss; anorexia or loss of appetite; anemia; hypoxia (poor oxygenation of tissues); chronic or frequent headaches; dizziness, tinnitus or noises in ears; dim or double vision; hearing loss; fine tremors of the hands, feet, eyelids, lips and tongue; parasthesias or abnormal, unpleasant sensations; and, hallucinations and manic depression in severe cases. [3]

 

 

Inorganic mercury occurs as mercury salts, the most famous of which is mercurous chloride, or Calomel, used by allopathic physicians for centuries as an agent to "puke and purge" their patients of "evil humors," until it was realized that they were doing far more harm than good. Although only about 10% of inorganic mercury salts are absorbed by the GI tract, they cause serious injury to the mucosal membranes resulting in painful ulcerations of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, intestines and rectum, toxic gastroenteritis with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Inorganic mercury salts also damage the kidneys leading to a decrease (oliguria) or absence (anuria) of urine production, which results in uremia and possible need for renal dialysis. Although inorganic mercury salts poorly cross the blood-brain barrier, chronic exposure causes cognitive dysfunction and behavioral abnormalities [4] (see table 4).

Mercury can cause Multiple Sclerosis-like Symptoms

Organic mercury compounds are converted from elemental and/or inorganic mercury by microorganisms and human blood enzymatic reactions (see table 5). These are volatile, highly lipid-soluble substances, which easily traverse human tissues. The most important of the organic mercurial toxins is methyl mercury, which is readily absorbed up to 90% by the GI tract, and accumulates in all cells, especially in the brain, liver, kidneys, blood, skin and hair and also in breast milk. Toxicity from chronic exposure to methyl mercury develops gradually. Methyl mercury inhibits acetylcholine synthesis, an essential neurotransmitter, resulting in loss of short- and long-term memory, poor concentration, cognitive dysfunction, incoordination and gait abnormalities, visual and auditory disturbances, i.e., blindness and deafness, decreased and/or aberrations of the sense of taste and smell, slurred speech, tingling and numbness of the extremities, especially of the hands and feet, tremors of the head and limbs, weakness and f atigue; all symptoms which are pathognomonic of multiple sclerosis. Chronic exposure to organic mercury compounds also causes serious immune system impairment resulting in increased susceptibility to infections and cancers. An organic mercurial antiseptic agent, Mercurochrome, has caused death in children when applied to large burns. Dietary organic mercury exposure, largely from contaminated seafood, has caused toxic disasters, e.g., the Minamata, Japan, incident in which dozens of infants were born with severe mental retardation and absence of limbs due to their mothers consuming fish poisoned by local, industrial waste discharges. The body only excretes about 1% dally of its burden of organic mercury. Once chronic, toxic damage from organic mercurial compounds has become established in the body, the prognosis for complete recovery is poor. [5]

The earliest symptoms of organic mercury exposure may include: forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and focus attention; cognitive decline; irritability; outbursts of anger; depression; apathy and indifference; headache; and, fatigue. Later manifestations consist of: progressive loss of memory; emotional instability; general CNS dysfunction; incoordination; numbness and tingling of the lips, hands and feet; muscular weakness progressing to paralysis; dim or restricted vision; hearing loss; speech disorders; kidney damage; immune dysfunction; and, dermatitis. [6] There is growing scientific evidence that long-term exposure to dental mercury amalgam causes Alzheimer's disease and/or senile dementia. [7]

 

 

Both inorganic mercury, in the form of the mercuric cation ([Hg.sup.+2]), and methyl mercury bind to cell membrane proteins resulting in structural and functional damage to critical receptor sites, transport channels and ion pumps, e.g., [Na.sup.+]/[K.sup.+] ATPase, etc., that eventuate in the disruption of normal cellular physiology and, ultimately, in cell death [8] (see table 6).

Dental Amalgam Proven to be a Major Source of Mercury Toxicity

Dental amalgam is comprised of approximately 46% to 56% elemental mercury with varying amounts of silver, copper, zinc, tin and other trace metals depending on the manufacturing source. A large dental amalgam may contain more than 750 mg of elemental mercury. After placement of a mercury/silver dental amalgam, there is persistent, low level release of elemental mercury vapor into the body for many years thereafter. Scientific research has proven that the corrosion of dental amalgams by chewing, exposure to oxygen in breathed air, food acids and the electrolytic effect of minerals in saliva (called "oral galvanism"), causes the continual release of elemental mercury vapor into the body 24 hours a day and the uptake of inorganic mercury in swallowed saliva that exceeds known standards of exposure by 10 to 100 times. Studies have shown that a single 0.4 [cm.sup.2] ocdusal amalgam can release 15 mcg of mercury vapor per day. Human autopsy research has validated the statistical correlation between the number of d ental amalgam fillings and CNS mercury levels. [8]

US government risk assessment studies prepared by the Public Heath Service in 1994, established standard minimum risk levels (MRLs) for acute and chronic mercury exposure for the general population. The acute mercury exposure MRL is 0.02 mcg per cubic meter of air which translates into an intake of 0.4 mcg per day. The chronic mercury exposure MRL is 0.014 mcg per cubic meter of air which translates into an intake of 0.28 mcg per day. From conservative estimates of the daily intake of amalgam mercury vapor determined by medical and dental experts, the USPHS has concluded that the average daily intake of amalgam mercury vapor exceeds the established MRLs. The USPHS has ruled that chronic exposure to mercury from dental amalgams is not without risk to the general population (USPHS, ATSDR; Toxicological Profile for Mercury: Update TP-93/10; page 125). Moreover, in 1991, the World Health Organization confirmed that dental amalgam is the greatest source of mercury Vapor in the non-industrially exposed population, significantly exceeding that from food or air. [10]

Toxic Damage May Occur Before Symptoms Become Obvious

According to Dr. Michael Ziff and his research associates, a widely respected dental authority on mercury toxicity, "...mercury is so toxic to the human organism that there can be cell death or irreversible chemical damage long before clinically observable symptoms appear indicating that something is wrong. Further, you could be experiencing some of the symptoms of mercury (poisoning) released from amalgam dental fillings, but since the mercury exposure is so gradual and because the time between the placement of the fillings and the onset of symptoms can vary so dramatically (from days to years, based on your own biochemical makeup and sensitivity), it may not be readily apparent or identifiable as being associated with dental mercury. Under these conditions, your physician would have extreme difficulty in relating subclinical symptoms (not readily apparent or identifiable as being associated with a particular disease or health problem) to mercury toxicity."" Dr. Alfred Stock, the distinguished German chemis t, also alluded to the problem of diagnosing mercury toxicity as the primary source of clinical symptoms in the earlier stages of systemic poisoning as long ago as 1926. [12]

 

 

Studies have demonstrated that the removal of dental mercury amalgam fillings can result in definitive and significant improvements in overall health status. The Foundation for Toxic-Free Dentistry compiled data on 1,569 patients from six different sources. Of particular interest in the FTFD analysis report is the fact that 14% of patients experienced some form of allergic symptomology and that 89% reported that their condition had improved or was entirely eliminated after removal of their silver/mercury dental amalgam fillings. Systemic mercury toxicity appears to have a direct causal relationship to the development of allergic sensitivity to foods, chemicals and other environmental factors. Extrapolating the FTFD data to the approximately 140 million individuals with mercury dental amalgams in the US, there would be about 19.6, million people (14%) with mercury amalgam-related allergies, and, 89% or about 17.4 million people would experience the amelioration or disappearance of their allergies by simply ha ving their silver/mercury dental amalgam fillings replaced with non-mercury, hypoallergenic composite dental fillings. [13,14]

ADA and FDA Have Misinformed the American Public

That the American Dental Association (ADA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been negligent in providing the public with accurate, truthful, up-to-date information about the potential health hazards of mercury, particularly silver/mercury dental amalgam fillings, has already been clearly documented. [15] The ADA has repeatedly denied that mercury amalgam fillings are associated with human illness, despite the plethora of scientific data arguing very strongly to the contrary. Moreover, the ADA has also systematically persecuted pioneering dentists, such as Hal Huggins, DDS, who conscientiously informed their patients about the potential health risks of chronic, dental mercury exposure. This is quite ironic and' disturbing given the history of mercury amalgam. As reported in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, "When (mercury) amalgams were introduced into the US in 1833 by two French entrepreneurs, the Orawcour brothers, its use was denounced by a substantial number of American denti sts. So strong was the opposition to amalgams, that the American Society of Dental Surgeons, founded in 1840, required its members to sign pledges promising not to use them...the common term for mercury in those years was "quick silver." The German pronunciation for quick" is "quack." Thus, those dentists who used mercury were called "quacks." This term has now come to mean anyone who is an "ignorant pretender to medical skills." Despite the efforts of a few researchers in this country and Europe to call attention to the dangers of mercury fillings, most notably a German chemist named Dr. Alfred Stock who published numerous articles prior to World War II, and Hal Huggins, a Colorado dentist who has spoken out against amalgams for the last 20 years, debate about the safety of mercury fillings remained muffled until recently. The amalgam safety debate was revived in this country initially by a 1989 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declaration that amalgams are a hazardous substance under the Superfund law, and, subsequently, by a December 1990 broadcast of the TV program "60 Minutes" that presented a devastating critique of amalgams." [16]

 

 

Most, revealing of the ADA's current attitude toward the public welfare regarding amalgams is a legal brief filed with the court by attorneys for the ADA in a recent California civil lawsuit. In this legal case, the plaintiff claiming that he sustained injuries stemming from exposure to mercury dental amalgams, named as defendants his treating dentist, two amalgam manufacturers, an amalgam distributor and the American Dental Association. The ADA attorneys' argument was as follows: "The ADA owes no legal duty of care to protect the public from allegedly dangerous products used by dentists. The ADA did not manufacture, design, supply or install the mercury-containing amalgams. The ADA does not control those who do (a blatant falsehood with regard to US dentists). The ADA's only alleged involvement in the product was to provide information regarding its use. Dissemination of information relating to the practice of dentistry does not create a duty of care to protect the public from potential injury [filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara, Case #718228]." [17] The bottom line is that the ADA does not see itself as responsible to the American public for telling the truth about the dangers of dental mercury amalgam.

The Medical Device Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, signed into law in May 1976, required the FDA to classify all medical and dental devices accepted for use in the US. However, the Final Rule of the FDA Classification of Dental Devices published in the Federal Register in August 1987, failed to mention and/or to classify dental mercury amalgam as a dental device. Instead, mercury and amalgam alloy were classified separately, as Class I and II respectively. Curiously, neither component itself can be used as dental device, which is not in accordance with the law as it requires each device to be safe and effective. Moreover, The FDA's deceptive rationale for failing to classify dental mercury amalgam as a dental device, thereby circumventing the requirement that it be proven safe and effective for use in humans, was that amalgam is a "reaction product" produced in the dentist's office. This is in clear violation of the intent of the Federal law enacted by the US Congress governing medical and dental devices. The FDA should have classified dental mercury amalgam in Class III and demanded that amalgam manufacturers provide proof of the safety and efficacy of the mixed amalgam dental implants. By all reasonable ethical standards, the FDA Commissioner should place a moratorium on the further use of mercury amalgam fillings until they are proven to be safe and effective for implantation in humans. To date, no such action has been taken.

The question then remains: are the ADA and the FDA the sort of public organizations that you'd trust with information regarding mercury amalgams with respect to the health and welfare of your family and yourself? To be forewarned is to be forearmed. In essence then, the admonition is for self-empowerment through careful self-education.

 

 

The choice of methods for detoxification of mercury from the human body is dependent upon the specific form of mercury to be removed, the target organ system and/or tissues involved and the age and state of health of the patient.

Environmental and Dietary Precautions

Firstly, it is prudent to remove the sources of mercury contamination, if possible. Limiting, or avoiding altogether, certain high risk foods, e.g., shellfish, coastal and inland freshwater fish and oceanic, bottom-dwelling scavengers, such as flounder, skate, etc., is a good first step. Though even deep-sea fish, such as tuna, swordfish, sea bass, shark, etc. may have significant degrees of mercury contamination. Fish that have comparatively lower mercury contamination include cod, halibut, pollack, mackerel, sardines, redfish and herring. Since mercury is primarily stored in fatty tissues, broiling the fish and discarding the juices is sensible. Commercially-raised poultry and eggs, which are raised on fish meal, and certain produce, especially certain tree fruit, e.g., apples, that may have been sprayed with mercury-containing pesticides, should be eliminated from the diet. Avoidance of industrial white sugar in candy and processed foods is wise, since the oral bacteria promoted by these non-foods ferment sugar into organic acids, which increase the release of mercury and other toxic, heavy metals from amalgams. Especially avoid chewing gum since the force of mastication stimulates release of mercury vapor from dental amalgams.[19,20] Moreover, it is very important to drink a minimum of one-half ounce per pound of body weight daily of fresh, non-fluoridated water to assist the body in flushing out toxins.

Another potential source of mercury toxicity is that found in certain medications, including allopathic, conventional drugs, i.e., mercurochrome and vaccinations containing thimerosal (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate) as a preservative, etc., as well as some contaminated and/or adulterated, traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic botanical medicines. [21] By far, the single most significant source of systemic mercury toxicity in the human population, confirmed by the World Health Organization and the US Public Health Service, is dental mercury amalgam.

Get the Mercury Out of Your Teeth!

Deamalgamation, i.e., the careful and judicious removal of dental mercury-silver amalgams by a specially-trained, dental physician and their replacement with hypoallergenic, non-metallic, composite, dental fillings, is, therefore, the single, most important step that an individual possessing mercury amalgams may take (See Table 7 to locate a specially trained dentist). The removal of dental mercury amalgam is a step-wise process. It involves the determination of the electroconductivity of the fillings, which are removed from most to least electrically charged. This serves to diminish daily, chronic sublimation of mercury into the body tissues between dental appointments. In order to protect the patient from acute toxic exposure to mercury vapors, a nasal mask to deliver fresh air, high speed drill with high intensity, cold water spray, two or more high vacuum suction cannulas to remove drill waste and vapors, frequent cleansing of the oral pockets by the dentist's gloved finger and gauze pad and frequent rin sing of the mouth with water should be employed. Some dentists may recommend concomitant I.V. Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) during the deamalgamation procedure to help chelate liberated mercury. [23] Your dentist may also recommend that special laboratory testing be performed, prior to the selection of the non-mercury composite dental fillings to be used, e.g., the Clifford Materials Reactivity Test, etc. [24]

 

 

Nutriceutical Agents for Detox

Among the most important nutrients for mercury detoxification is Glutatbione (GSH). GSH is vital in hepatic detoxification and elimination of mercury and other fat-soluble, toxic heavy metals, and also serves as a systemic antioxidant. Since GSH is quite expensive, more cost-effective means by which to increase liver and body stores of GSH is by use of N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), which forms L-Cysteine, Cystine, L-Methionine and Glutathione in the liver, all sulfur-containing amino acids which can chelate and thereby remove mercury to some degree, and Silymarin. Silymarin, a bioflavonoid found in Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) extract, increases synthesis of hepatic OSH by as much as 35% and is also a potent liver detoxifier and antioxidant. MSM, or Methylsulfonylmethane, is a natural, dietary, sulfur compound that provides bioavailable organic sulfur for the synthesis of sulfur-containing amino acids. MSM appears to be inert in the body tissues, is nonallergenic and overall virtually free of undesirable side effects. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) are essential in the synthesis of sulfur-ontaining amino acids, and must be included in the mercury detoxification regimen. Mercury causes rapid turnover of thiamine in the brain by converting it to thiochrome. Interestingly, the symptoms of Vitamin B1 deficiency and mercury toxicity are almost indistinguishable. Chelated mineral sources of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium and manganese can protect against organic and inorganic mercury posoning.[25] Selenium is an essential trace element, which is vital to the activation of GSH- containing, liver detoxification enzymes and also to the antioxidant enzyme, Glutathione peroxidase, important in neutralizing free peroxide radicals and oxidized lipids. Tolerance of selenium may be limited by its binding to, redistribution and precipitation of mercury in the tissues, which may induce nausea, digestive disturbances, vertigo, etc. For those who do not tolerate selenium, use of Vitamin E (Tocopherols and Tocotrienols) to counteract mercury-induced, tissue lipid peroxidation is indicated. Vitamin E works with selenium to neutralize mercury. Zinc is important in the production of Metallothionein, present in L-Cysteine, which detoxifies mercury. Molybdenum decreases accumulation of mercury vapor depresses adrenal gland stores of Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C), thus diminishing the body's response to Oxidative stress, infections, etc. Supplemental Vitamin C, in both the water-and lipid-soluble forms, is critical to adequate, systemic mercury detoxification. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA), or Thioctic Acid, is a potent, universal antioxidant, being both water- and fatsoluble. It regenerates the endogenous antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Glutathione, and repairs tissue damage due to oxidative stress. Most importantly, ALA substantially increases intracellular, reduced GSH. Prolonged use of garlic extract, containing high amounts of sulfur allyl compounds, particularly allicin, is helpful in the gradual removal oflow levels of mercury from the body. Microactivated algae, such as Chlorella and Spirulina, may help detoxify organic and inorganic mercury. Probiotics, e.g., Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteriae, are helpful in restoring normal, friendly bowel flora, which are injured by mercury compounds, and serve to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, including flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, halitosis, etc. Finally, activated charcoal is prescribed immediately before and after the deamalgamation procedure to help adsorb and prevent enterohepatic recirculation of the liberated mercury.[26] (See Table 8 for recommended nutriceutical dosage regimens).

 

 

Homeopathic Detox

Homeopathic medicines have been purported, by skilled practitioners since the mid-l9th century, to help alleviate the general and local symptoms of mercury intoxification. The clinical rubric which describes the remedies which may be useful is "Generalities; MERCURY, abuse of" (see Table 9). [27] A scientific research study, by Cazin et al. at the University of Paris School of Medicine in 1987, demonstrated that homeopathically potentized arsenic trioxide (Arsenicum album), in varying high dilutions, can significantly stimulate the elimination of arsenic from lab animals intentionally poisoned with this heavy, metal toxin. [28] Another study, by Fisher et al. at the St. Bartholomew's Hospital Dept. of Clinical Phannacology in London, again in 1987, revealed that homeopathically prepared lead (Plumbum metallicum) did not cause a significant change in urinary lead excretion compared against distilled water. The study further showed that DMPS (Dimercaptopropane sulfonate) produced a large increase in the urinary excretion of lead. However, no such similar research has shown homeopathically prepared mercury (Mercurius solubills) to enhance mercury excretion from the body. The haphazard, 'cookbook' or 'shotgun' approach of prescribing a combination of homeopathic remedies allegedly for the purpose of mercu ry detoxification has not been proven by clinical studies to be effective and is not recommended. It is my very strongest recommendation, as an experienced, homeopathic physician, to avoid any health care provider who seeks to prescribe for you in this manner, as it may suppress, rather than cure the symptoms, and weaken your overall vitality. I highly recommend that you locate a homeopathic practitioner who will examine your state of health holistically, taking all of your physical, emotional and mental symptomology into account, and through careful case analysis, prescribe a specific, individualized, single, homeopathic medicine that will serve to strengthen your vitality and accelerate the detoxification process. [30]

Mercury Detox Using Pharmaceuticals

One of the first drugs created for the purpose of heavy metal detoxification was Dimercaprol, also known as British Anti-Lewisite (BAL), a dithiol compound developed as an antidote to Lewisite, an arsenical war gas, used by Axis forces during World War II. It was found to effectively compete with arsenicals for tissue sulfhydryl groups. After WWII, Dimercaprol was discovered to be effective for other toxic heavy metal poisonings, however, it can only be administered by injection, was shown to enter cells and deactivate many enzymes and to actually cause accumulation of mercury in the brain. Another drug that has been utilized for mercury toxicity is D-Penicillamine. However, both of the aforementioned drugs have significant, adverse side effects, DMPS (2,3-Dimercapto-1-Propanesulfonic Acid) is a water-soluble derivative of Dimercaprol that was developed to reduce the negative side effects. Although DMPS has been used since the 1950s in Europe and Russia, under the names Unithiol and Dimaval, it is, as yet, u napproved for general, therapeutic usage by the FDA, and is currently undergoing selective, clinical trials at various US medical office research sites to determine its actual safety and efficacy. DMSA (2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic Acid) is an important, orally administered antidote for toxic heavy metal poisoning. Extensive clinical research by the Chinese, Japanese and Russians since the 1950s, has demonstrated that DMSA accelerates elimination of mercury from the brain and effectively removes mercury from the blood, liver and kidneys, whereas DMPS, which is generally given by the IV route, is considerably less effective in both respects and has more adverse, side effects. DMSA has been approved for use in the US for the treatment of lead intoxication in children, and is marketed under the names Chemet and Succimer. Both DMPS and DMSA are organic sulfur-containing compounds, so that people who have sensitivity to the sulfa class of drugs should use them with caution or not at all, depending upon the degree of the ir reactivity and on the advice of their physicians. DMPS and DMSA will also remove significant amounts of zinc, such that zinc supplementation is mandatory prior to and throughout treatment with these chelating agents. Concomitant administration of glutathione with DMSA or DMPS should be avoided, whereas the simultaneous, supplemental use of the amino acid glycine is thought to augment mercury excretion. Although the effective therapeutic use of intravenous EDTA (Ethylene-Diamine-Tetraacetic Acid) has been well-documented for many of the heavy metal toxins, especially lead, there is evidence to suggest that it is less effective for mercury when used alone. EDTA removes mercury from cell surfaces and from the blood, but not from within cells, whereas DMSA is very effective in removing intracellular mercury and lead, especially from the brain. A single study done using human brain tissue at the University of Kentucky indicates that EDTA, after binding with mercury ions, may possibly cause inhibition of tubulin polymerization, a vital process in nerve cell functioning. At our current state of knowledge, it would appear then that DMSA is the pharmaceutical agent of choice for systemic mercury detoxification. [31-34] Various protocols exist for the administration of DMSA. The dosage regimen recommended in conventional medicine for mercury toxicity 10 mg per kg in divided doses of five to ten or more cycles of three days on and fourteen days off, may result in unnecessary adverse side effects. Another proposed protocol is 500 mg every other day for a minimum of five weeks. If the individual is sensitive, a suggested dose of 250 mg may be given every other day for two to three weeks, followed by 500 mg every other day for a total of five weeks. However, according to personal communications with Sir Arnold Takamoto, one of the world's foremost authorities on mercury's influence on chronic disease and cancer promotion, adequate mercury detoxification may require as long as two to three years or more, depending on the tot al body burden and state of health. Many experienced, chelation physicians find the protocol described in Table 4 to be well tolerated for prolonged therapy. (See Tables 10 and 11 regarding use of DMSA).

 

 

Measurement of Mercury in the Body

Mercury and other toxic heavy metals are primarily measured in hair, blood cells and urine samples. Simply put, hair analysis is a useful screening tool but does not provide information about the actual amount of mercury in the body. Red blood cell analysis gives somewhat more information about tissue levels, but misses mercury bound in brain, bone and fatty tissues. By far, the most accurate, practical, clinical measurement of the relative total body burden of mercury is obtained through a provocative, 24-hour elemental urine analysis. In this procedure, a dose of DMSA and glycine is taken the evening before beginning the urine test, thereby extracting mercury and other toxic heavy metals from their hiding places deep in the tissues, which is then collected in the urine, thus giving a more accurate measure of total body burden. It is advisable to discuss with your doctor which test is most appropriate for you. A useful, medical history screening tool, called the Mercury/Toxic Metal Sensitivity Questionnaire , was designed by Dr. Keith Sehnerty and associates to determine whether further laboratory evaluation is indicated. If you score "yes" in five or more of the questions, this should serve as an 'alert' warning to proceed with toxic heavy metal testing. (See Table 12 for the Mercury Sensitivity Questionnaire) [35]

References

(1.) Pizzorne J and Murray M. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Churchill-Livingstone, 1993.

(2.) Krohn J et al. The Whole Way to Natural Detoxification. Hartley & Marks, 1998.

(3.) Hanson M. Mercurry Bibliography (3rd Edition), 285 symptoms of mercury toxicity and 12,000 mercury citations. Olo-Probe, Inc. P.O. Box 608010, Orlando. FL 32860-5010.

(4.) Ibid.

(5.) Ziff S and Zitf MF et at. Dentistry Without Mercury. Bio-Probe. Inc., 1997.

(6.) Oettingen WF. Poisoning: A Guide to Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia. 1958.

(7.) Godfrey ME and Huggins H. The Pathophysiology of Long-term Exposure to Dental Amalgam: A Potential Hazard for Senile Dementia. Clin, Pract. of Allem. Med. 1(2): 107-112, Summer 2000.

(8.) Hanson M. Mercury Bibliography (3rd Edition).

(9.) Zift S and Ziff MF of al. Dental Mercury Dotox, Bio-Probe, Inc., 1997.

(10.) Ibid.

(11.) Ibid.

(12.) Stock A. Die Gefahrlichkeit des Quecksilberdampfes und der Amalgame. Med. Kiln. 22:1250-1252, 1926.

(13.) Ziff S and Ziff MF et al. Dentistry Without Mercury. OloProbe, Inc., 1997.

(14.) Zamm AV. Removal of Dental Mercury: Often an Effective Treatment for the Very Sensitive Patient. J Orthomol. Med. 5(3):138.142, 1990.

(15.) Ziff S and Ziff MF et at. Dentistry Without Mercury BioProbe, Inc., 1997.

(16.) Sehnert KW, Jacobson G, Sullivan K. Mercury Toxicity in Autoimmune Disease. Townsend Letter for Doctors 7 Patients #193/194:100-103, August/September 1999.

(17.) Zitf S and Ziff MF et al. Dentistry Without Mercury BioProbe, Inc. 1997.

(18.) Ibid.

(19.) Pizzorno J and Murray M. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Churchill-Livingstone, 1993.

 

 

(20.) Ziff MF, Ziff Sand Hanson M. Dental Mercury Detox, BioProbe, Inc., 1097.

(21.) EspInosa EC. Amenic and Merucry in Traditional Chinese Herbal Baits. NewEngjof Mod; 1995:333.803-804.

(22.) Lorschelder F, Vimy M, Somers AO et al. Mercury Exposure from "SilverTooth Fillings: Emerging Evidence Questions a Traditional Dental Paradigm. FASEB J; 1995: 9: 504-508.

(23.) Zill MF. Ziff S and Hanson M. Dental Mercury Detox, Bio-Probe, Inc., 1997.

(24.) Clifford Consulting & Research, Inc., 2275-J Waynoka Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80915: 719-550-0008: Fax 719-550-0009.

(25.) Krohn J et al. The Whole Way to Natural Detoxification, Hartley & Marks 1996.

(26.) Ziff MF. Ziff S and Hanson M. Dental Mercury Dotox, BioProbe, Inc., 1997.

(27.) Bakahl JPS. Phoenix Repertory v1.01; Generalities chapter: MacRepertory v5.6.0, 2000.

(28.) Cazin JC et al. A Study of the Effect of Decimal and Centesimal Dilutions of Arsenic on the Retention and Mobilization of Arsenic in the Rat. Human Toxicol.; 1087: 6:31 5-310.

(29.) Fisher P. et al. the Influence of the Homoeopathic Remedy Plumbum Metallicum on the Excretion Kinetics of Lead in Rats. Human Toxicol; 1987:6:321-324.

(30.) National Center for Homeopathy Directory and American Institute of Homeopathy Directory 2000 NCH, 801 North Fairfax St., Suite 306, Alexandria, VA 22314: 703-548-7790: fax 703-548-7792.

(31.) Klasasen CD. Heavy Metals and Heavy-Metal Antagonists: Chapter 69: pp. 1615-1637; in Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (6th Ed); 1980.

(32.) Aposhian HV. DMSA and DMPS-Water Soluble Antidotes for Heavy Metal Poisoning. Ann. Rev. Pharmacel. Toxicol; 23:193-215: 1983.

(33.) Pangborn JO. Mechanisms of Detoxification and Procedures for Detoxilicafion. Doctor's Date, Inc., and Bionostics. Inc., Chicago, IL 708-231-3549.

(34.) Ziff MF. Ziff S and Hanson M. Dental Mercury Do fox. BioProbe, Inc., 1997.

(35.) Sehnert KW, Jacobson G, Sullivan K. Is Mercury Toxicity an Autoimmune Disease. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients #193/194:100-103, August/September 1999.

 

                   Estimated Average Daily Intake of
                   Mercury from Environmental Sources
Environmental     Hg Vapor         Inorganic        Methyl Hg
Source          ([micro].day)  Hg ([micro]g/day)  ([micro]g/day)
Air                 0.024            0.001            0.006
Water                 0              0.005              0
Food:
 Fish                 0              0.042             2.3
 Other                0              0.29               0
Total               0.032            0.337            2.206
Dental amalgam    2.9-17.5             0                0
Adapted from Table 2-1 in Magos,
L. (1991), Mercury metabolism and
toxicology. Dental Amalgam -- A
Health Hezard? Munksgaard, Copenhagen.
               Potential Side Effects of DMSA (Succimer)
                   Succimer Adverse Reactions (%) [1]
Body system/adverse reaction                 Children  Adults
                                             (N=191)   (n=134)
GI:
Nausea; vomiting; diarrhea: appetite; loss;
hemorrhoidal symptoms; loose stools;
metallic taste in mouth                         12      20.9
Body as a whole:
Back, stomach, head, rib, flank pain;
abdominal cramps; chills; fever; flu-like
symptoms; heavy head/tired; head cold;
headache; moniliasis                           5.2      15.7
Metabolic:
Elevated AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase,
serum cholesterol                              4.2       104
CNS:
Drowsiness; dizziness; sensorimotor
neuropathy; sleepiness; paresthesia             1       12.7
Skin and appendages:
Papular rash; herpetic rash; rash;
mucocutaneous eruptions; pruritus              2.6      11.2
Special senses:
Cloudy film in eye; ears plugged;
otits media; watery eyes                        1        3.7
Respiratory:
Sore throat, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion;
cough                                          3.7       0.7
GU:
Decreased urination; voiding difficulty;
proteinuria increased                           0        3.7
Other:
Arrhythmia                                      0        1.8
Increased platelet count;
intermittent eosinophilia                      0.5       1.5
Kneecap pain; leg pains                         0         3
                Mercury/Toxic Metal Sensitivity Questionnaire
1.  Have you had sore gums (gingivitis)     Yes  No
    often over the years?
2.  Have you had mental symptoms such as    Yes  No
    confusion, forgetfulness?
3.  Has severe depression been a frequent   Yes  No
    problem?
4.  Has ringing in the ears (tinnitus)      Yes  No
    been present?
5.  Have TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint)     Yes  No
    problems been a concern of yours?
6.  Have you had unusual shakiness          Yes  No
    (termors) of your hands or arms or
    twitching of other muscles?
7.  Do you have "brown spots" or "age       Yes  No
    spots" under your eyes or elsewhere in
    the skin of your body?
8.  Have you tended to have more colds,     Yes  No
    flu, and other examples of infectious
    diseases than "normal"?
9.  Have you had food allergies or          Yes  No
    intolerances?
10. Have you been to many doctors for       Yes  No
    your health problems and they have
    usually said "There is nothing wrong"?
11. Do you have numbness or burning         Yes  No
    sensations in your mouth or gums?
12. Do you have numbness or unexplained     Yes  No
    tingling in your arms or legs?
13. Have you developed difficulty in        Yes  No
    walking (ataxia) over the years?
14. Do you have 10 or more "silver"         Yes  No
    fillings?
15. Do you often have a "metallic"          Yes  No
    taste in your mouth?
16. Have you ever worked as a painter       Yes  No
    or in manufacturing/chemical or
    pesticide/fungicide factories
    (fungicides with methyl mercury
    ingredients) or in pulp/paper mills
    that used mercury?
17. Have you worked as a dentist,           Yes  No
    hygienist, or dental assistant?
18. Have you ever had Canadida- Related     Yes  No
    Complex (CRC) or yeast infections
    (vagina, mouth or GI tract)?
19. Do you have a lot of bad breath         Yes  No
    (halitosis) or white tongue (thrush)?
20. Have you frequently had low basal       Yes  No
    body axillary temperature (below
    97.4[degrees]F) over the years?
21. Do you have problems with               Yes  No
    constipation?
22. Do you have heart irregularities        Yes  No
    or rapid pulse (tachycardia)?
23. Do you have unexplained arthritis       Yes  No
    in various joints?
24. Is it common for you to have a lot      Yes  No
    of mucus in your stools?
25. Do you have unidentifed chest pains     Yes  No
    even after EKG's, X-ray, and heart
    studies are normal?
26. Is your sleep poor do you have          Yes  No
    frequent insomnia?
27. Have you had frequent kidney            Yes  No
    infections or do you have significant
    kidney problems?
28. Are you extremely fatigued much of      Yes  No
    the time and never seem to have enough
    energy?
29. Do you have irritability or             Yes  No
    dramatic changes in behaviour?
30. Are you on antidepressants now or       Yes  No
    have you been in the past?

 

 

 

Common complaints that the sufferer may not attribute to a hypersensitivity to foods and/or inhalants

Nerve and Muscle Problems

1. Fainting

2. Blurred vision

3. Unexplained hyperactivity

4. Headache

5. Dizziness

Mood Changes

1. Unexplained anxiety

2. Unwarranted excitability

3. Unexplained irritability

4. Hostility

5. Aggression

6. Insomnia

7. Restlessness

8. Difficulty concentrating

9. Difficulty thinking

10. Mental confusion

11. Grogginess

12. Decreased reading comprehension

13. Forgetfulness

14. Difficulty recalling words

15. Depression

16. Loss of interest in work or former activities or hobbies

17. Crying spells

18. Tendency for fixed ideas; recycling or repeating of ideas

19. Antisocial behavior

20. Thoughts of suicide

Organs and Systems Problems

1. Skin: Rashes, Excessive perspiration

2. Eyes: Burning, Itching, Excessive tearing, Feeling of heaviness and pressure within eyes

3. Ears: Dizziness (Meniere's syndrome), Decreased hearing, Buzzing in ears (tinnitus), "Plugged" ears (swollen eustachian tubes)

4. Nose: Nasal obstruction, Sinus congestion, Sneezing (rubbing nose upward is a sign of allergy)

5. Throat: Hoarseness, "Itching" throat (leading to sore throat), Excessive mucus

6. Lungs: Wheezing

7. Cardiovascular: Palpitations, Flushing

8. Gastrointestinal: Nausea, Loss of appetite, Voracious appetite or sudden weight gain (5 pounds in 2 days), Chronic obesity, Excessive thirst

9. Genitourinary: Urgent urination, Frequent urination, Bedwetting, Vaginal itching, Excessively painful menstruation

10. Muscular-skeletal: Muscle soreness, Joint pains, Uncertain gait

General Physical Problems

1. Fatigue (physical or mental)

2. Loss of former energy ("getting old")

3. Weakness

4. Edema (swelling)

5. Pallor

6. Inappropriate chilliness or excessive warmth

7. Excessive perspiration without fever

8. Unexplained fevers

Oxidation of Elemental Mercury Vapor ([Hg.sup.-0]) by the Enzyme Catalase

I. Catalase + [H.sub.2][O.sub.2] [Right Arrow over Left Arrow] Catalase-O (compound I) + [H.sub.2]O

II . Catalase-O + [Hg.sup.0] [right arrow] [K.sub.4] Catalase + [Hg.sup.0]

III. Catalase-O + [H.sub.2] [O.sub.2] [right arrow] [[K.sup.1].sub.4] Catalase + [O.sub.2] + [H.sub.2]O + [Hg.sup.2+]

Hursh et al., (1988). In vitro oxidation of mercury by the blood. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 63. 266-273.

Recommended Sources of Deamalgamation Dentists

International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)

P.O. Box 608531, Orlando, Florida 32860-8531

407-298-2450

* Fax: 407-298-3075

* www.iaomt.org

American Academy of Biological Dentistry

P.O. Box 856, Carmel Valley, California 93924

831-659-5385 or 831-659-2475

Foundation for Toxic Free Dentistry

P.O. Box 608010, Orlando, Florida 32860-8010

407-298-2450

American Academy for Advancement in Medicine

23121 Verdugo Dr., Suite 204, Laguna Hills, California 92653

714-583-7666

American Academy of Environmental Medicine

4510 West 89th St., Prairie Village, Kansas 66207

 

 

913-642-6062

For a listing of Mercury-Free Dentists on the Internet, contact Citizens for Mercury Relief at: http://www.talkinternational.com/mfdsindex3.htm

Recommended Nutriceuticai Dosage Regimen for Mercury Detoxification

NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) 600 mg: 1 to 2 capsules three times daily between meals on an empty stomach (All amino acids should be taken in this manner)

Silymarin Extract 175 mg: 1 capsule three times daily with meals

Lipoic Acid Caps 100 mg: 2 capsules three times daily with meals

MSM 500 mg: 1 to 2 capsules three times daily with meals

'C' Plus: 1 to 2 capsules three times daily with meals

Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate 50 mg: 1 capsule twice daily with meals

Extension B-Plex: 3 capsules daily or 1 capsule three times daily with meals

E Team or Vitamin E Succinate 300 IU: 1 capsule twice daily with meals

Advanced Essential Minerals: 2 capsules three times daily with meals

Zinc Monomethionine 25mg: 1 to 2 capsules daily with meals

Selenium Caps 100 mg: 1 to 2 capsules daily with meals

Primary Greens: 1 tablespoon of powder blended in juice daily

Garlic Extract 500 mg: 1 capsule three times daily with meals

EnteraKlenz: 1 tablespoon in 8 oz. water 30 minutes before and immediately after completion of each mercury deamalgamation procedure

BioPro Caps: 2 capsules daily with meals

Use above in conjunction with oral DMSA therapy as prescribed.

(*.) Obtain above agents from VRP at 800-877-2447; use #235277 to order at 20-25% discount.

Homeopatbic Medicines Potentially Useful for the Abuse of Mercury

Acon., agn., alumn., anan., ang., ant-c., ant-t., arg., am., am., asaf., Aur., aur-m., aur-s., bell., bor., bry., calad., calc.. calo., camph., carban., Carb-v., caust., chel., chin., cic., cina, clem., cocc., coff., colch., con., cupr., dig., dulc., euph., euphr., fern, fl-ac., graph., guai., Hep., hudr., iod., iris, kali-bi., kali-chi., Kali-i., Lach., laur., led., lye., lycps., merc., merc-i-r., mez., mur-ac., nat-m., Nat-s., Nit-ac., nuxv., op., ph-af., Phyt., plat., plat-m., podo., puls., rheum., rhod., rhusg., rhust-t., sabad., sars., sel., sep., sil., spong., Staph., still., stram., stront-c., sul-i., Suiph., syph., thuj., valer., verat., viol-t, zinc. [8]

Recommended Dosage Schedule for DMSA [*]

DMSA 100 mg: 1 capsule daily given ever other day (For patients 18 to 35 lbs.); 1 capsule twice daily given every other day (For patients 36 to 55 lbs.); 2 capsules in the morning and 1 capsule in the evening daily given every other day (For patients 56 to 75 lbs.); 2 capsules twice daily given every other day (For patients 76 to 100 lbs.); 3 capsules in the morning and 2 capsules in the evening daily given every other day (For patients over 100 lbs). [**]

This regimen is to be followed for three weeks on and one week off each month. The duration of therapy is to be determined by your chelation physician through sequential laboratory testing of your residual total body burden of mercury and other toxic heavy metals.

(*.) DMSA should only be taken under the supervision of a physician trained in Chelation Therapy

 

 

(**.) On the days that DMSA is administered, do not take any mineral-containing supplements and avoid the concomitant use of Glutathione. Supplementing with Glycine 500mg with each dose of DMSA may enhance its activity.

Obtain DMSA 100 mg from VRP at 800-877-2447; use #235277 to order at 20-25% discount.

 

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COPYRIGHT 2001 The Townsend Letter Group
in association with The Gale Group and LookSmart. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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ALL INFORMATION, DATA, AND MATERIAL CONTAINED, PRESENTED, OR PROVIDED HERE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REFLECTING THE KNOWLEDGE OR OPINIONS OF THE PUBLISHER, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR INTENDED AS PROVIDING MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE.  THE DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO VACCINATE IS AN IMPORTANT AND COMPLEX ISSUE AND SHOULD BE MADE BY YOU, AND YOU ALONE, IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.