by Tom McGuire,
majority of people I’ve consulted with do not understand just how
devastating chronic mercury poisoning is to their health. Without this
awareness it is difficult to fully appreciate the need for, and value
of, participating in a mercury detoxification program that supports the
body’s efforts to remove the accumulated mercury and heal the damage
done by it.
I've also found
that most people think that it is enough just to have their mercury
amalgam (silver) fillings removed and, once they do, the problems they
equate to mercury exposure from these fillings will quickly go away.
When the mercury related symptoms don’t improve in a short period of
time they often get frustrated and think that their amalgam fillings
didn’t cause or contribute to their health issues. I believe that if
they were educated about the destructive effects of chronic mercury
poisoning more people would not only commit to having their fillings
removed but also stimulate participation in a mercury detoxification
The first place to
start this education is to realize just how toxic mercury is to the
body, including how it does its damage and why it must be dealt with in
a unique way. I believe that in order to effectively treat chronic
mercury poisoning and appreciate the need for removing the accumulated
mercury from your body, it’s critically important to see the big
picture. This means you must:
source of the toxin/poison*;
eliminate the source*;
the poison works
be aware of
the damage it does to the body;
mercury detoxification works; and
find the right
program to participate in.
amalgam (silver) fillings are the main source of mercury exposure and
nearly 200 million people in the USA alone have them. These fillings
continuously release mercury as a toxic vapor and as much as 80% of the
vapor enters the body. It is fat soluble and can enter every cell of the
body and is particularly harmful to the brain. Thus, the chronic mercury
poisoning that I’m writing about is the result of mercury exposure from
amalgam fillings. But keep in mind that mercury is mercury and
regardless of the source or form, it is a powerful poison. The safest
way to remove the source is to find a mercury free dentist and my
www.dentalwellness4u.com has the
largest mercury free dentist listing in the world.
matter what you have heard from a pro-amalgam dentist, or from the
American Dental Association (ADA), mercury is released from
amalgam fillings and this means they can never be considered ‘safe’ nor
‘harmless’. To ever suggest that any amount of mercury is safe,
or harmless, is inaccurate, misleading, and hazardous to the health of
those who believe what these organizations are telling them. There are
many factors that determine how much is released and ultimately
accumulates in the body, and if that subject is of interest to you the
information can be found in my book Mercury Detoxification: The
Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body.
In the second part
of this article I’ll briefly introduce what I consider to be the most
important elements of a mercury detoxification program. All the
information you will need to fully understand the process of mercury
detoxification is available in my book and it will be your A to Z guide
What You Need
to Know about Mercury: There is NO Safe Level of Mercury
Mercury is the
most poisonous naturally occurring, non-radioactive, substance on our
planet. It is more toxic than any of the other heavy metals, including
arsenic, lead and cadmium. According to the World Health Organization,
there is no safe level of mercury! It doesn’t matter what the
source of mercury is, the body has no biological need for it and even
one atom of mercury will harm it!
Mercury can damage
cells in many ways. If, over time, more mercury enters the body than it
can remove it will begin to accumulate throughout the body. At some
point, if the source of mercury isn’t eliminated, enough will build up
to manifest a symptom, or symptoms, of chronic mercury poisoning. But
make no mistake about it, the damage done to your body is taking place
even if you are not aware of it or you haven’t yet experienced a mercury
For many people
it could take years for enough cells of the body to accumulate enough
mercury to cause a symptom specifically related to chronic mercury
poisoning. For example, let’s say that it took an accumulation of 25
micrograms (mcg) of mercury before a related symptom is experienced.
Does that mean the first 24 mcg of stored mercury were harmless and did
no damage? Does that mean that it was only the last microgram of mercury
that caused the damage that resulted in a symptom? The answer is an
emphatic NO to both questions!
There may be other
ways to explain this, but I think my modified parable of how the straw
broke the camel’s back will be the most effective (just think of a straw
as a small amount of mercury).
“The farmer loaded
bale after bale of straw on his camel’s back. It was a slow process and
the camel did its best to hold the ever increasing weight of the straw
in the bales. Finally the farmer felt he added as much straw as the
camel could carry. But then he saw a single straw still laying on the
ground. “Why not he said, my camel is strong enough to carry just one
extra piece of straw!” But when he added the last straw, it broke his
camel’s back.” I think you get the point.
Over time, if the
source of mercury isn’t removed, the majority of people exposed to
mercury from amalgam fillings will have to deal with the “last straw”.
The key to understanding everything I will discuss in this section
hinges on you being aware that there is no safe level of mercury
and it can never be considered safe.
Think about this
for a moment. If I asked you if I could give you a little bit of arsenic
throughout the day, every day, would you agree to it? Of course not,
everyone knows that arsenic is a poison and can kill! In fact adding a
little arsenic to your food or drink would actually be against the law
because you cannot give someone a known poison without their knowledge.
Yet mercury is far more poisonous than arsenic—now that is something to
Acute and Chronic
Mercury Poisoning: The Facts
amount of mercury in the general body or brain can alter the function
of, or damage everything to which it attaches, exposure to mercury is
always classified as either acute or chronic. The extent of the harm
done by mercury vapor is directly related to:
located in the body;
it’s been there; and
health of the immune/detoxification system.
poisoning is relatively rare and occurs when you are exposed to a sudden
and very high dose of mercury, especially elemental or organic/methyl
mercury. Acute mercury toxicity can result in immediate and severe
symptoms, requiring emergency attention. Untreated it can quickly cause
death due to kidney (renal) failure.
chronic mercury poisoning (CMP) is very common, affecting all those with
amalgam fillings—but is still largely unrecognized and under diagnosed.
CMP results from the continuous exposure to small amounts of mercury
over an extended period of time; such as the exposure to highly toxic
mercury vapor from amalgam fillings. Given such conditions mercury can
gradually accumulate in the body. While the effect of CMP isn’t as
sudden or dramatic as acute mercury poisoning, over time it can be
extremely damaging to one’s health. I compare CMP to radiation
poisoning, where, if you’re far enough removed from the main source of
radiation you won’t die right away. But depending on how much radiation
you received, you could eventually manifest a radiation-related illness
that could result in numerous health problems and possibly cause death.
mercury poisoning may not be instantly fatal but, over time, could
directly and indirectly contribute to numerous and undesirable symptoms
and a serious and even fatal disease.
Faces of Chronic Mercury Poisoning
Mercury is toxic
in extremely small amounts, it can accumulate in the body over time, and
contribute to or make worse every health problem. Mercury can:
proteins and enzymes and interfere with their normal function .
autoimmune diseases and impair the blood and cardiovascular system.
with, or overload, the natural detoxification pathways of the liver,
kidneys, skin, and bowel.
function of the nervous, endocrine, immune, enzymatic, gastrointestinal,
reproductive, and urinary systems.
harmful intestinal bacteria, including Candida, to become immune to
Dramatically deplete the body of its most important antioxidants.
Mercury can also
cause a great deal of cellular and tissue damage by creating tremendous
amounts of free radicals. Free radicals are highly toxic to cells and
are suspected of being one of the underlying causes of all degenerative
We also know that
mercury can interfere with disease fighting white blood cells and can
inactivate neutrophils, the most important type of white blood cell.
White blood cells are very important immune system components and are
responsible for killing bacteria inside the body (blood and soft
Where the Mercury
If mercury (or any
other heavy metal) enters the body and accumulates faster than the body
can remove it, it will gradually build up until a toxic state is
reached. If the exposure to mercury is in small daily amounts, such as
you receive from amalgam fillings, it is classified as chronic, meaning
it could take years before enough has accumulated to manifest a
recognizable symptom. Because there are so many factors involved, the
time it takes for early symptoms to appear will vary greatly from person
If you are to
understand why mercury is such a powerful poison you must realize that
it can readily enter every cell in the body and thus is widely
distributed throughout the body. This is a bad news/good news situation.
The bad news is that mercury enters the body. The good news is that the
body is made up of trillions of cells and the mercury is, in effect,
diluted by the fact that it is spread out throughout these cells. The
fact that it is so widely dispersed throughout the body also accounts
for the fact that there are so many diverse symptoms related to chronic
The effects of
mercury released from amalgam fillings would be more dramatic and occur
more rapidly if it only had an affinity for one organ, or one part of
the brain. For example, if all the mercury entering the body only went
to the kidney, it wouldn’t take long for an observable symptom related
to kidney function to show up.
How Much Mercury
is Too Much Mercury!
Toxic levels of
mercury are measured in micrograms and it is important to know just how
small a microgram is.
What is a Microgram?
Unit of Measure
As you can see, a
microgram is extraordinarily small. But here is the scary part—just one
microgram of mercury contains roughly 300,000,000,000,000 (that’s 300
trillion!) atoms of mercury. And every single atom that stays in your
body is harmful to it!!!
and more numbers! True, but you don’t have to be a mathematician to
understand that extremely small amounts of mercury contain an
extraordinary number of extremely toxic mercury atoms. The fact that it
is so poisonous in such small amounts accounts for its extreme toxicity
compared to other poisons.
The bad news is
that it really doesn’t take a lot of exposure to generate, or contribute
to, a mercury related symptom and as I mentioned earlier; just because
you haven’t yet expressed a symptom doesn’t mean you aren’t being
Sources of Mercury
There are many
sources of mercury, including food, air, water, cosmetics, medications,
and industrial occupations. However, according to the World Health
Organization (WHO), the single greatest source of mercury is mercury
amalgam fillings. Here is what WHO lists as the main contributors and
the estimated daily amount of mercury taken into the body.
The amounts are
important but the key to understanding how mercury can accumulate over
time is knowing that mercury entering the body on a daily basis from
Based on the WHO
data, and the other available evidence, there are tens upon tens of
millions of people who take in far more mercury than the body can
eliminate on a daily basis. Consequently, millions of people are
suffering from symptoms and diseases directly, or indirectly, related to
chronic mercury poisoning.
What Makes Mercury
The membranes that
surround the cells of the body are composed of fatty substances and it
just so happens that elemental mercury vapor is highly fat-soluble. This
characteristic allows it to readily pass through the cell membrane of
cells of the general body, easily cross the blood brain barrier, and
readily enter brain cells. Once inside any cell, mercury can attach to
critically important enzymes, proteins, and other substances; disrupting
the function of everything it bonds to.
Once it has
attached to a cell component, the bond it forms is very strong and not
easily broken. The body does have the ability to get rid of mercury, but
as more and more mercury accumulates it becomes increasingly deficient
in the vital antioxidant chelators needed to do this job. Over time, its
ability to take out mercury is diminished. Unless the source of
mercury is removed and the body is supported in its efforts to eliminate
the accumulated mercury, the damage and related symptoms will only
worsen. Initially mercury interferes with proper cellular function but
at some point the cell will be exposed to more mercury than it can deal
with and ultimately dies.
In addition, when
mercury attaches to an enzyme or protein it displaces an essential
mineral, mostly zinc and/or copper. This action also creates free
radicals, which are believed to be a major factor in degenerative
The Direct and
Indirect Health Effects of Chronic Mercury Poisoning
including dentists and health professionals, don’t know that chronic
mercury poisoning can have a destructive effect on the body in two ways:
directly and indirectly. Mercury has a direct and damaging effect on
everything it comes in contact with, such as proteins, enzymes, DNA, and
thousands of other important components of cells. It disrupts the body’s
ability to carry out the normal metabolic functions required for health,
can cause genetic mutations, and is devastating for the fetus, nursing
baby (if the mother has amalgam fillings in her teeth while pregnant and
nursing), and developing child. But the harm mercury inflicts doesn’t
stop there, because the indirect effects of mercury on your health can
be just as serious. This makes mercury a very dangerous two-edged sword.
Effect of Mercury
One of the most
damaging indirect effects of mercury is the toll it takes on the immune
system. Over time, chronic mercury poisoning can so severely weaken the
immune system that it dramatically lowers the body’s resistance to other
diseases. It does this because the body’s most prolific and important
antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), is also the one that is primarily
responsible for removing mercury from the body. In addition, GSH is an
extremely important antioxidant for removing other heavy metals, toxins,
and neutralizing free radicals.
Every time the
body removes an atom of mercury two molecules of GSH are also removed in
the process . . . lost forever! Over time, as glutathione levels
continue to decrease, more and more mercury will be able to accumulate.
As the loss of GSH continues, the body will progressively lose its
ability to deal with other harmful substances that glutathione helps
protect it from.
I consider the
indirect effect of chronic mercury poisoning on the body as being
similar to the effects of AIDS. The AIDS virus doesn’t kill directly but
it can so weaken the immune system that it no longer has the ability to
protect the body against other toxins, bacteria, and other harmful
substances. Thus people with AIDS don’t die of AIDS, they die of
pneumonia, kidney failure, etc. But the fact that AIDS isn’t the direct
cause of death does not make it less lethal. In chronic amounts, mercury
may not be as initially devastating, but the analogy is accurate in
that, over time, mercury can generate auto immune diseases and
dramatically inhibit the function of the immune system.
The fact is that
the wide-ranging direct and indirect effects of mercury should never be
overlooked, or underestimated, when dealing with any health issue! It’s
fair to say that you’ll never be truly healthy as long as you have
mercury amalgam fillings and mercury is still stored in your body.
Summing it Up
No one can tell
you exactly how much mercury you have stored
in your body, where it is located, or the specific damage it is doing.
But if you have, or had, amalgam fillings you are mercury toxic
to some degree and it could very well be a contributing factor to every
symptom or health problem you are facing.
It’s important to
understand that it’s not enough just to eliminate the main source of
mercury exposure—amalgam fillings—because you can never achieve optimal
health as long as your body is being poisoned by mercury that has
already accumulated. No mercury related symptom or disease will improve
until the stored mercury is removed. Thus, while removing the source is
a critical first step, it isn’t the only one that must be taken.
It is my hope that
this brief overview of chronic mercury poisoning will motivate you to at
least consider participating in a mercury detoxification program. Space
does not allow me to detail my mercury detoxification program but my
book is designed to guide you through every step of removing mercury
from your body.
Is a Mercury Detoxification Program
When considering a
mercury detoxification program a number of factors should be considered.
been exposed to mercury?
duration and extent of that exposure.
of definitive mercury testing.
extent of symptoms and diseases related to chronic mercury poisoning.
I believe everyone
who still has mercury amalgam (silver) fillings, and those who have had
them removed, are mercury toxic and should seriously consider a mercury
detoxification program. Because those who still have these fillings are
being constantly exposed to mercury vapor, it is even more important
that they begin a program as soon as possible.
There are two
tests for mercury that I believe will tell you if you are mercury toxic
and the extent of the toxicity. These are the fecal metals test and the
urine mercury challenge (or provoked) test. Both, along with other
common tests for mercury, are explained in detail in my book. While I
believe testing has a value it isn’t necessary if you fit the other
criteria for mercury poisoning. But the fecal metals test can also be
beneficial in helping to monitor your program.
I also feel that
an evaluation of your current health issues is a good indicator of a
need for a mercury detoxification program. For example, if you have or
had amalgam fillings and find you have a number of related symptoms or
diseases you should seriously consider a program. The following section
will serve to explain the importance of symptom diagnosis.
Diseases Related to Chronic Mercury Poisoning
Most people with
mercury amalgam fillings aren’t aware of the extraordinary number of
symptoms that are directly and indirectly related to chronic mercury
poisoning. Because mercury can be stored in virtually every cell of the
body the number of symptoms related to it are considerable. In my
opinion, mercury can directly or indirectly cause, contribute to, or
make worse every health issue we know of.
Of course, most of
these symptoms can also have other causes and contributors. But we do
know that every one of them can be caused by chronic mercury poisoning!
This isn’t speculation as there are thousands of studies to support what
can happen when exposure mercury passes the threshold level.
Also keep in mind
that the level of exposure can vary from person to person. For example,
if 10 people were in an environment where the threshold level for
mercury vapor was reached, not all would necessarily exhibit the
earliest symptoms of mercury poisoning. While there are other sources of
mercury exposure than amalgam fillings, the amount of mercury in the
body has been shown to be proportional to the number of these fillings
in the mouth.
The list of
symptoms and diseases related to chronic mercury poisoning is long,
especially when the symptoms related to the indirect of mercury are
included. But because the length of this article doesn’t allow for them
to be listed you can access them on my website, or from my book.
The number and
severity of symptoms of mercury poisoning will be determined by your
state of health (especially the status of your immune system), how much
mercury you’ve been exposed to over time, and the amount that has
accumulated in your body. Understanding the full effect and depth of
chronic mercury poisoning should also serve to motivate you to consider
a mercury detoxification program.
A number of
studies have been done that show the improvements in symptoms and
diseases related to chronic mercury poisoning when amalgam fillings have
been removed and when a detoxification program was included. This is
encouraging news and demonstrates that the body can respond once the
source of the poison has been removed and the body is supported in its
efforts at removing mercury. These studies can be found in my book and
my website and I encourage you to review them.
Confusion about Mercury Detoxification
While there’s a
consensus within the mercury free dental community about the need to
safely remove mercury amalgam fillings, there’s considerably less
agreement about the most effective and safest way to go about
eliminating mercury from the body. In fact, many mercury free dentists
and health professionals who believe in the need and value of mercury
detoxification have differing recommendations.
extremely low dosages of supplements, and others recommend dosages that
may be too high for many people. This can result in confusion for the
layperson, especially when the fundamentals of mercury detoxification
haven’t been adequately explained and understood. And, if you don’t have
the basic background information you won’t be able to make an informed
choice about whether or not to participate in a detoxification program.
Without the ability to make an informed choice you will continue to be a
Confusion out of Mercury Detoxification
I will briefly
discuss the key elements of the innovative and natural approach I take
to mercury detoxification. This philosophy is the key to the safety and
success of my program.
approaches mercury detoxification in the safest and most natural way
possible. This insures that any possible undesirable side-effects will
be reduced or eliminated. The goal of my program is to support—and
ultimately improve—your body’s own extraordinary ability to effectively
remove mercury. Most people aren’t aware that the body has this ability,
but if the exposure is too great it becomes less and less effective at
removing it. Thus, unless it receives support from you it will not be
able to remove the mercury or heal the damage done by it.
Once your body’s
ability to remove mercury has been restored and your mercury levels have
been significantly reduced, the program can continue to function as a
health maintenance program. In other words, it’s designed to not only
help you eliminate mercury in the most natural way possible, but to also
obtain your optimal state of health and then keep you healthy.
fundamental approach I take to mercury detoxification is the same for
everyone, each person’s situation is unique and should be dealt with
accordingly. For example, your present state of health, nutritional
status, health of your immune system, the extent and length of your
mercury exposure, and your body’s ability to eliminate mercury, must all
be taken into consideration. The sum of these factors will determine how
long you should participate in the program and the benefits you will
receive from it.
My approach to
detoxification makes my program safe for virtually anyone who doesn’t
have a serious, pre-existing health problem—such as severe liver and
kidney problems, or chronic constipation—which would contraindicate or
limit full participation without support from a health professional.
Except for the possible use of a pharmaceutical chelator, everything in
my program is either naturally produced by the body, required by the
body (or must be obtained from outside sources, e.g. vitamin C), or is a
health supporting nutrient. All the supplements and nutrients used in my
program are sold over-the-counter at health food stores and by most
vitamin companies. None requires a prescription.
element of my philosophy regarding mercury detoxification is that I
don’t believe you need to get sick while trying to get well. Because
some people detoxify rapidly—even too quickly in some cases—I believe
that you should always start low and go slow*. Detoxifying
too rapidly from mercury can be difficult and uncomfortable for some. In
fact, some people have become ill during a detoxification process that
was too aggressive because it stirred up more toxins than their bodies
could effectively eliminate.
I believe this
accelerated approach should be avoided. The safe and gentle approach
that I promote is even more important for those:
very mercury toxic;
immune system has been severely compromised; and
have difficulty with rapid detoxification.
In addition, some
nutritional supplements work fine for some people, but may produce
unwanted dose-related side-effects in others. My program provides a
sound foundation that can be built on or even reduced, as the case may
be. It is also designed to let you become more involved in what, and how
much, you should take. After all it’s your body, and your body will
quickly tell you how well it can handle what you are putting in it;
regardless of what I or anyone else tells you should or shouldn’t
happen. So it is important that you learn how to listen to your own
body. I also encourage you to work with a qualified health professional,
especially if you have multiple symptoms and serious health issues that
could be related to chronic mercury poisoning.
is an exception to the start low and go slow philosophy and that is if
there is an acute exposure to mercury. In that case your health care
practitioner will implement more immediate and stronger measures.
I also emphasize
tolerance testing to help prevent or minimize side-effects. The two most
commonly seen side-effects of taking high doses of supplements and other
nutrients are allergic and dose-related reactions. Most of what is
included in my program is made or needed by the body and therefore
shouldn’t cause allergic reactions. But dose-related reactions, even
with natural substances the body needs, can occur if the dosage is
excessive (the old adage of ‘taking too much of a good thing’ applies
here). To ensure this doesn’t occur I include a tolerance testing
formula that starts you off with small doses of a supplement and then
lets you gradually increase it until the recommended, or tolerated,
levels are reached.
small and large, plays an important and complex role in health and in
detoxification. When the body releases mercury into the intestine it may
then be “technically” out of the body but once there it still has to
travel through 26 feet of intestine before it is “officially” removed
from it. During those 26 feet a lot of things can happen to the mercury
released into it and, unless the intestine is properly supported, all
the mercury that enters it may not ‘get out’!
conditions mercury can be re-absorbed into the body and a serious effort
should be made to prevent this from happening. Thus, providing support
to the intestine is another important element of my program.
We all know
mercury is a powerful poison, but it is scientifically classified as a
neurotoxin. A neurotoxin is a
toxic agent or substance that inhibits, damages or destroys
the tissues of the brain and central nervous system. Because many of the
symptoms related to chronic mercury poisoning are neurological, I
believe that supporting brain health can substantially improve the
success of a mercury detoxification program. It’s so important that I’ve
devoted a special section to it in the book and it is a must read for
anyone with any neurological symptoms related to mercury
poisoning. It should be noted that the neurological effects aren’t just
physical in nature. Chronic mercury poisoning can result in numerous
emotional and psychological symptoms, such as depression, memory loss,
and irritability . . . to name just a few.
Your Mercury Detoxification Program
mercury detoxification program, both objectively and subjectively, can
be very helpful in assessing your progress, both for you and if you’re
working with a supporting health professional. I consider monitoring to
be an essential component of a mercury detoxification program and
discuss it in detail in the book.
Based on my
experience, extensive research of the principles of detoxification, and
my evaluation of many mercury detoxification programs, I believe that
many are not successful because the participant fails to fully comply
with the program. There are a number of reasons for this lack of
compliance, including not being motivated. But one of the main reasons
is the difficulty in keeping track of which supplements to take, and
when to take them. I’ve created special charts and forms that make
keeping track of my program a simple process.
Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body
will show you how to support your body’s efforts at removing mercury
in the safest, most effective, and most natural way possible. If this is
your first experience with a mercury detoxification program this book
will be an invaluable guide to this important health building process.
It will also be beneficial if a previous attempt at detoxifying mercury
did not achieve the desired results, or you’re now participating in
another detoxification program and need more information than you’ve
When it comes to
eliminating mercury from the body, the more you know about the
detoxification process, the better off you’ll be.
Detoxification will explain:
removing mercury from your body is important to your overall
health and how the detoxification process works.
role and importance of the immune system in mercury
basics of vitamins and nutritional supplements needed to support
your body’s efforts at removing mercury.
importance of supporting intestinal health during this process.
value and importance of providing your body with healing ‘brain’
to tolerance test supplements to minimize potential
role of pharmaceutical chelating agents in the detoxification
Testing for mercury and how it can be used to effectively
monitor your detoxification program.
to use my innovative Supplement Schedule Charts to help you keep
track of your program and make it exceptionally easy to follow.
will logically provide you with the essential information you will need
and in a language you can easily understand. I’ve made every effort to
simplify and de-mystify this subject and I also provide an extensive
reference section if you want to review the science that supports my