Dangers Posed by Mercury

Understanding what mercury is, the dangers of mercury, and the options we have for detoxification can help us take a proactive approach in both avoidance and elimination.

In this post we will talk about:

  • The History of Mercury Use
  • Modern Sources of Mercury Exposure
  • Dangers Posed by Mercury
  • Determining Detox Strategies
  • What is Chelation?
  • When to Seek Help
  • Takeaway: Mercury Avoidance Checklist
  • How You Can Learn More About Detoxification at The Detox Summit

The Detox Project

Every day, more people become aware of the absolute necessity to detoxify in order to prevent and possibly overcome chronic illnesses. Yet, few have a comprehensive detox plan, or access to experts in the health industry who can help build one. If you have health problems, chemical sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune conditions and/or weight issues, take the time to learn if chemicals and toxins in your environment could be the cause!

The Detox Project will teach you about:

  • Identify proven culprits contributing to disease
  • Dispel myths about detox
  • Save money (and time) when detoxing
  • Understand why cleanses are not addressing toxicity
  • Learn the detox practices of the world’s top holistic doctors and more!

The Detox Project is online and free from September 26 – October 3, 2016!

>>>>>>>>>> Register for FREE Today!

Or own all of the expert talks to watch at your own pace!

I’m speaking about the toxic metals that cause fatigue and how to detox them. It’s a major reason everyone is so tired! Register for free below and listen to my talk for FREE.

detox16_banner_attend_728x90

 

History of Mercury Use

Before we can address current uses of mercury, we need to look back at its past. Mercury exists environmentally as vapors and residue, in small levels but nearly impossible to avoid. It was probably discovered initially as it seeped from rocks or volcanic areas. Its quick movements and silver color earned it the name “quicksilver,” or mercury, for the speedy messenger god of the Romans.

Mercury was soon collected, modified, and used in many ways for many reasons. Forms of mercury were created by roasting, inciting reactions, and creating compounds and amalgams (combinations of metals). It was used for therapeutic reasons and known as poison alike.  (1)

Cinnabar, an ore that contains mercury, is the most plentiful source and was also used as a red pigment. Cinnabar has been found on Mayan burial sites, and mercury in ancient Egyptian tombs. A Chinese alchemist around the same timeframe used cinnabar in religious rites in place of gold, smearing it on skin and ingesting it. (2)

For all of the benefits the ancients sought from mercury, they knew it to be toxic as well. The guards of cinnabar prisons lived short lives. Later, when mercury was believed to improve the fabric for hats, the hatters were known to be sick – “mad hatters.” Yet, its use did not slow. Today, we are in no place to condemn this continued use.

Modern Sources of Mercury Exposure

The use of mercury was intriguing and then continued through the generations because it’s a remarkable metal. It liquefies; it binds to other metals; it has scientists to discover other gases; it extracts metals from their ores. (3) Early fascination and curiosity has morphed into modern viable uses. Mercury is incredible!

Today, mercury (in some form) is used in gauges, lights, batteries, electronics, coal-burning, and even cosmetics. Because of its unique interactions with other substances, the type of mercury used in each application varies widely, thus affecting the ways in which end consumers are exposed. All of that mercury – whether it’s used directly or indirectly – has to come from somewhere. In spite of the ability to recycle and reuse mercury that has already been used, we still have people mining and processing new mercury to this day.

People working directly with mercury are certainly at the highest risk of poisoning, but some forms of mercury have the ability to bioaccumulate in small amounts that build over time. This is what happens with many kinds of fish, making our diets the most common source of contamination for those of us who don’t work in mining. The fish accumulate high levels of mercury, and then the people who ingest it accumulate those levels. (4)

Due to the pervasive use of mercury, the lack of proper disposal leaving mercury in landfills, and a lack of consumer demand for cleaner products, mercury is everywhere. It’s not about whether you do or don’t eat fish, or even whether you have had vaccines with thimerosal – it’s about what kind of and how much exposure you have had.

Dangers Posed by Mercury

While the realization that mercury exposure is everywhere sounds daunting, it’s simply a fact of life at this point. What we can do is determine our overall exposure levels, evaluate what that means in terms of health risks, and form a plan of action from there.

Early on, alchemists and miners and “consumers” had relatively direct contact with mercury and the compounds they made. As a result, they experienced the Central Nervous System disruption, blood and kidney trouble, and shortened life spans that mercury poisoning incites.

Now, our mercury is diluted, if you will, in compounds or indirect sources (like fish). Or, it’s encased in bulbs and electronics and tubing, or tucked within in our vaccines and dental fillings. In a way, this is good, because it limits our chances of direct, inhalation-level exposure. On the other hand, out of sight out of mind comes into play. We don’t see the danger, so we mishandle the materials and don’t see the warning signs of bioaccumulation.

The most common form of mercury that we encounter is methylmercury, and it’s the type that accumulates in fish and infiltrates our diets. The trouble with methylmercury is that it’s a neurotoxin that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, make it into the brain, and essentially get stuck there. (5) Damage to the CNS ensues, with minor effects that build over time – attention span, headaches, memory loss, and cognitive dysfunction.

Sometimes, direct exposure to mercury occurs, such as when a thermometer or mercury-containing light bulb breaks. Or, in more dangerous situations, when an industrial accident occurs or working conditions are poor. Acute exposure to mercury or its vapors can manifest as respiratory concerns, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, vision or eye problems, a metallic taste, blood pressure or heart rate increases and chest pain. (6)

It’s important to note that high levels of acute exposure to mercury are a different issue from the cumulative amounts that warrant detoxification. If you or a loved one may have been exposed to mercury topically or via vapor inhalation, it’s imperative to get to a doctor right away.

For the stealthier, long-term types of mercury exposure, there are detoxification options to consider.

Determining Detox Strategies

As you begin to consider your mercury detox strategy, keep your level of exposure in mind. Think through dietary habits, cosmetic use, the electronic items in your home, the fillings in your mouth, whether you utilize any coal-burning items in your home, the proximity of mining or manufacturing plants that may utilize mercury – where do your risks lie?

The most basic forms of detoxification include simply removing as much of the source(s) of contamination as possible. Shifting the kinds of fish you eat and changing the kinds of batteries or lights you use, for example, would eliminate much of the risk for many people. Liver-supporting supplements and high-antioxidant foods could help the body repair and recover, and you’d be set!

Measures to enhance detoxification, eliminate the mercury and other offending substances, and restore the body escalate from there, building to the point of amalgam filling removal and, sometimes, chelation therapy.

The old wisdom to choose the simplest option available absolutely applies here.

The process of drawing heavy metals out of the body via chelation is intensive, controversial, and poses some risks alongside the reward. It’s important to not overdo it when choosing a detox strategy. For lower forms of exposure and accumulation, you don’t want to “throw the book” at the problem.

Conversely, if you have high risk levels in your environment and life, and high levels of in your body, you won’t get far by simply changing up the diet or taking a supplement. Be thorough; don’t waste your efforts and certainly don’t waste time.

With wasted time and efforts in mind, remember that long term changes after your detox are just as important as the detox itself. What good would it be to remove fillings and bioaccumulation, only to return to mercury-laden fish daily and a house full of mercury compounds in products?

You’ll need to learn to be judicious with your purchases. Even herbal supplements and remedies can be contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals, usually coming from unregulated China. (7)

Realizing now how pervasive mercury exposure actually is, we have a responsibility to call for better care of our environment and our bodies. Better energy sources, recycling strategies, and product ingredients are not only imperative but are things only consumers can demand.

Choose your brands carefully, write letters and inform your friends and family, and set an example in the way you purchase and use clean products, and dispose of potentially hazardous products.

What is Chelation?

As we dive into the more specific and intensive forms of detoxification, chelation is going to come up. It’s usually discussed in tandem with mercury or lead contamination, and it frequently stirs up contention.

The word chelate refers to a “claw,” so named because chelating agents act as a claw of sorts, grabbing onto metals and dragging them out of the body with the agent.

In the process of detoxification, the first exposure you’ll likely have with a chelating agent is in your first test to determine metal accumulation. The “provoked urine test” typically uses a chelating agent to draw recent exposures out of the body and into the urine over a several-hour period. Chelating agents are quickly expelled from the body, so they would only grab that which is readily available in that first sweep through.

If indicated, a practitioner may use chelation therapy to draw more reserved metals out of the body over multiple uses and during a full detoxification protocol.

The risks with chelation therapy, especially if not executed carefully by a professional, include redistribution of the toxins. The body is generally equipped to protect itself from toxic exposures, so if a chelating agent sweeps through bone tissue to stir up mercury levels, for example, but fails to eliminate them, they can be redistributed through the body and potentially causing even more damage. From a thorough and highly recommended review in 2010:

Toxic elements sequestered in bone and soft tissues are not completely immobilized; they migrate back to the bloodstream and hence to tissues where they will again exert toxic effects. It is important to gain a greater understanding of the quantities of biologically accessible toxic elements within the body that are not necessarily reflected in baseline blood or urine levels, before chelation provocation. (8)

With that said, the clinicians who do use chelation therapy note improvements in their patients’ health conditions, including broader health issues such as vascular disease. (9) A widespread study, called the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy, was conducted over the course of several years. While the results weren’t strong enough to eliminate controversy, one summary notes the following findings:

The trial to assess chelation therapy demonstrated a significant (P=0.035) 18% reduction in a combined primary endpoint of death, MI, stroke, coronary revascularization, or hospitalization for angina. In diabetic patients the benefit was more extreme, with a 41% relative reduction in risk (P=0.0002) and a 43% reduction in total mortality (P=0.011). (10)

While more specific studies are yet to be done, safety data was reported to be good, and the results were slight but encouraging. Chelation remains an option for clinicians who understand its importance and measures of use.

When to Seek Help

The accumulation of mercury, along with other heavy metals, is undoubtedly connected to disease and reduced quality of life. When levels reach that point, the consideration of risks and benefits becomes necessary. There are times that the risks of continued accumulation outweigh the concerns with chelation therapy compared with the benefits of toxin removal.

However, extensive toxin accumulation, heavy and acute levels of exposure, or toxin levels for children, the elderly, or the very ill, should all be left to healthcare professionals.

Acknowledging the risks of the toxins themselves comes with the counterpoint of acknowledging risks of interfering with the body’s processes to keep us safe. Higher-risk cases should be dealt with swiftly and expertly to remove as much of the toxins possible as quickly as possible.

At-home self-care is empowering and usually highly effective. But when it comes to heavy metals and detoxification, be sure to seek professional guidance and care. Vet your healthcare provider as a trained and reliable source, and never attempt extensive chelation on your own.

Takeaway: Mercury Avoidance Checklist

While we’ll never be able to avoid mercury and other toxins completely, we can take some steps to reduce our exposure and be aware of potentially dangerous situations.

The Detox Project

Every day, more people become aware of the absolute necessity to detoxify in order to prevent and possibly overcome chronic illnesses. Yet, few have a comprehensive detox plan, or access to experts in the health industry who can help build one. If you have health problems, chemical sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune conditions and/or weight issues, take the time to learn if chemicals and toxins in your environment could be the cause!

The Detox Project is online and free from September 26 – October 3, 2016!

>>>>>>>>>> Register for FREE Today!

Or own all of the expert talks to watch at your own pace!

I’m speaking about the toxic metals that cause fatigue. It’s a major reason everyone is so tired! Register for free below and listen to my talk for FREE.

detox16_banner_attend_728x90

WHY ATTEND?

This once-in-a-lifetime gathering of experts will discuss the modern day toxicity crisis, explore the plague of chemical toxicity, uncover surprising exposures and lay out the best ways to detox. By the end of this event, you should be able to to assemble a personal plan for awareness, assess your toxicity and begin a lifestyle transformation!

The Detox Project will teach you about:

  • Identify proven culprits contributing to disease
  • Dispel myths about detox
  • Save money (and time) when detoxing
  • Understand why cleanses are not addressing toxicity
  • Learn the detox practices of the world’s top holistic doctors and more!

The Detox Project is online and free from September 26 – October 3, 2016!

>>>>>>>>>> Register for FREE Today!

Or own all of the expert talks to watch at your own pace!

References

  1. http://www.alchemylab.com/dictionary.htm#sectM
  2. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~toxmetal/mercury/history.html
  3. http://www.chemicool.com/elements/mercury.html
  4. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs361/en/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19253038
  6. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mercury/docs/HealthEffectsMercury.pdf
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19890755
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654245/
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16053118
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25023079

in Articles/Detox

Raised in a holistic family, Dr. B.J. Hardick is an organic food fanatic, green living aficionado, and has spent the majority of his life working in natural health care. In 2009, he wrote his first book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, which has now been used professionally in over 500 health clinics, alongside a follow-up publication to which he was a contributor, The Cancer Killers. Dr. Hardick serves on the advisory board for GreenMedInfo.com, the world’s most widely referenced natural health database. In addition to creating recipes and resources for DrHardick.com, his strategies for natural health are featured on FoodMatters.TV, the Huffington Post, and Wellness.com. An energizing and passionate speaker, Dr. Hardick shares his lifestyle methods to numerous professional and public audiences every year in the United States and Canada. Dr. Hardick received his Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in 1997, and his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Life University in 2001. He maintains a private practice in London, Ontario, Canada. In his spare time, he invests his keen interest in sustainable living into urban development in his hometown of London. All of Dr. Hardick’s passions are anchored in helping others achieve ecologically sound, healthy, and balanced lives.