Mercury and heavy metal detoxification. Today, I’m going to talk to you about everything mercury and heavy metal detoxification related. Now this is highly relevant to dentistry, and you will soon see what I am referring to. Now we all know that some types of metals, like zinc and copper for instance, are essential for our body to function properly, but some metals can be harmful, or even iron, for instance, which is essential for us to have, free floating iron in the blood is actually quite harmful if it’s unbound and free. So there’s a lot to consider here. Even traces of metals like mercury can damage the body, and various concentrations of other metals can cause problems or exacerbate them. It seems somewhat bizarre, therefore, that for a long time now dentists have been putting these metals into our mouths in the form of fillings and crowns on grounds of there is no scientific evidence of harm to the body.
Now, this includes me as well as a dentist, historically, because that’s what I was taught. Soon enough, though, a few years into my career, I just didn’t feel comfortable about this at all. I had studied the topic even at university and had questioned this, actually, earlier on. These toxins, they can seep into the body and are added to by the dietary and environmental toxins, heavy metals that we’re actually exposed to in our everyday life. Some proportion of the population are actually highly sensitive to the slightest amount of heavy metal exposure. While for some, it may take years or decades before signs and symptoms are displayed.
To date, millions of dentists around the world routinely use dental amalgam as a filling material to restore decayed and broken teeth. It is often referred to as silver fillings, but in fact, it contains 45 to 55% inorganic, i.e. metallic, mercury. Mercury is a toxin and a highly potent neurotoxin at that. As mercury passes the blood brain barrier, after having interacted with enzymes of the body, thus modified enough to do so, it is then stored in the brain tissue for many years. In fact, the half life of mercury from the brain is known to be over two decades. This may explain why we are now able to refer to studies and say that there’s a strong link between neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, et cetera, and exposure of mercury, or to mercury.
Symptoms from mercury exposure can include any organ, and to summarize, scientists have associated the mercury in amalgam fillings with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, antibiotic resistance, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, autoimmune disorders, immunodeficiency, cardiovascular problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease. Now as you can see, there’s a whole array of problems that we can end up with. The use of dental amalgams play a vast role in the environmental release of mercury into our nature, and the air that we breathe. Thus also damaging plants, animals, and the entire ecosystem. And why, you may ask, why do we use this material? Well, it is cheap, it is relatively easy to handle for the dentist, and it exhibits longevity that makes it argument greatly compelling for the governments of countries around the world.
Luckily, the use of dental amalgam has been banned on environmental grounds in many developed countries. However, there has so far only been a phasing down of the use of this material in some countries for restoring teeth, including the UK, actually, as opposed to complete phasing out of it. There are committees and programs whereby over a hundred countries have signed a contract to minimize the use of dental amalgams and instead seek to restore teeth with effective, mercury free alternatives. This contract, which took effect in 2017, is actually legally binding and was instigated by the Minimata Convention on Mercury, which is working towards a complete worldwide phasing down of the use of amalgams by 2030.
On an individual level, and it is safe to say that it varies from person to person. However, susceptible populations are people of certain age, for instance, making infants and children more susceptible to developing neurological developmental issues, for instance. Based on genetic predisposition, making individuals with gene variants, such as CPOX4, APOE3 and 4, and BDNF, which stands for brain derived neurotropic factor, more sensitive to mercury exposure. So these groups are basically more sensitive to mercury exposure, people with these genetic variants, and thus responding with symptoms more readily than those who do not carry the mentioned variants.
There are other genetic traits that have been examined to investigate a link between health impairments and exposure to mercury. Now it is a rather interesting observation of my own to know that APOE3 and 4 are variants that are seen in early onset Alzheimer’s and dementia also. Now, when I say early onset, I’m referring to middle aged and maybe a bit older, so not this 70, 80 year old kind of dementia that might happen a bit more with age. Furthermore-
Furthermore, occupational exposure also lends itself to a high risk cohort making the dental profession a high risk category as for professions. Mercury reaction can in general also be seen in patients who have metal allergies such as type IV allergic reactions, and those with known nickel allergies, for instance. In these circumstances, we are no longer touching on toxicity but we are actually talking about true allergic reactions. From a restorative perspective, mercury is being released and measurable serum levels of mercury can be detected a varying degree. So factors that influence how much mercury is being released depend on many things. It can be the age of the filling, so now we are talking about locally in a patient’s mouth really.
It can be the age of the filling, whether it is defective, for instance, the filling, has a crack through it, number of amalgam fillings in the mouth. With the person in question grinds their teeth, which would increase the release of mercury quite substantially actually. We know that, for instance, from brushing our teeth, that the release of mercury vapor shoots up, and so it then makes sense that grinding teeth would have similar effect. In fact, perhaps even worse as it is tooth grinding against a filling, and enamel being the hardest substance we have in our body. It also depends on how much plaque there is in the mouth. For those who are in favor of not removing all the plaque in the mouth, that this perhaps would contradict that as too much plaque actually makes the mercury release worse and increases it.
So lack of brushing or technique is actually not helpful in this situation. There’s no other factors actually that do impact an increase and the release is presence of an infection in the mouth as well or presence of other metals, for instance. Which in old literature would be talking and referring to it as galvanism, for instance. And galvanism has been something that’s been forgotten about, I would say, in the dental education perhaps a little bit. Galvanism is still a fact, and that’s the interaction between different metals in the mouth creating a bit of a similar to a battery current situations.
Now, apart from the obvious solution, namely, of removing these amalgam fillings safely, with emphasis on safely, which can be done through this smart protocol designed by the IAOMT, which stands for International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, which is a protocol. This smart protocol is something that we at Munro Hall Clinic, for instance, adhere to very strictly because it is something that we feel very strongly about for obvious reasons. It is safe to say a longstanding and gentle but active detoxification after the removal of these amalgam fillings is crucial. It’s a crucial part of the whole process of eliminating this potent toxin from bodily tissues and organs.
This is of course important because, and in light, of the very long half life of mercury from the body, and particularly, from the brain as it’s stored in fatty tissue, mercury is. So, subsequently, how long it takes for the body to eliminate the mercury from its tissues and organs, that, that is basically why this is so important. The active detoxification after the removal of the amalgam fillings. Talking about triggering and enhancing a person’s own detoxification pathways and capacity. Supplementations with vitamin such as vitamin C and the potent antioxidant called glutathione, which is an intrinsic antioxidant. It is a substance made from the amino acids, glycine, cystine, and glutamic acid. It is produced by the liver, glutathione is, and involved in many body processes.
Glutathione is involved in tissue building and repair, making chemicals and proteins needed in the body and immune system function. It is capable of preventing damage to key cellular components such as mitochondrial activity and the damage caused by heavy metals such as mercury. Glutathione is often referred to as the mother of antioxidants. Sadly, the production of glutathione by the liver can diminish with age as well as with liver disease or simply a sluggish or overloaded liver. It makes a supplementation with glutathione key, really. However, not all glutathiones are made equal. It seems a category of individuals present as very sensitive and is as often people who are sulfur sensitive.
I mean, we know wine, for instance, is a sulfur heavy drink that some people are very sensitive to and people can say, “Oh, well, I can’t drink wine but they can drink spirits, for instance.” This is pretty much what it comes down to. The best form of glutathione intake would seem to be, in my experience, liposomal glutathione. And there are brands that take sensitivity into account and produce the kind that provoke less symptoms. As we know, some patients who have started expressing symptoms related to their mercury exposure are either many amalgam fillings, happen to also be sulfide sensitive. They usually can’t tolerate wine either and react really badly. They also react to the glutathione supplementation. If somebody’s…
…glutathione supplementation. If somebody simply cannot tolerate the side effects of glutathione, even after trying a lower dose or taking less regularly, one could then consider supplementing with PQQ instead, which is short for pyrroloquinoline quinone. I think it’s really much easier just to say PQQ and that’s what I’m going to refer to it as. So this has a similar impact in that, impact as glutathione, in that it also supports mitochondrial function and prevents the cells from oxidative stress from free radicals by boosting the enzyme mechanism in the process of oxidation reduction that takes place in the cells in the mitochondria. It is rather beneficial fact that it is also highly potent in cellular energy production and thus is an overall energy booster and must not be taken therefore too late in the day in order to avoid insomnia problems. It is actually that potent for some people.
Another way of detoxification could also be by supporting your own detoxification pathway, is by being deliberate and intentional in your dietary choices. High intake of cruciferous vegetables, for instance, such as purpose sprouting broccoli will support the body’s own detoxification, [inaudible 00:18:02] and pathways and increase the production of glutathione, thus assisting detoxification rather gently and naturally. This is especially beneficial for people who are prone to herxheimer reaction, also referred to as herxing and people who are then actually very sensitive to detoxify and usually with block to detoxification pathways sometimes, but sometimes a bit of herxing is quite normal anyway.
So other dietary intake that support your body’s own detoxification could be chaga mushrooms, to talk about a few, which is a potent antioxidant as well, as well as garlic and wild blueberries among many other foods and the latter that I mentioned is really good. It’s a great antioxidant so quite a nice sort of type of dietary intake really, can be made into smoothies and so on.
Now, if we talk about other supplementary substances such as cilantro and chlorella, which are quite well known, to be sort of… It is quite popular for detoxification purposes of heavy metals. They do bind into heavy metals. However, some light has been shared on these as heavy metal eliminators in recent studies, and it seems they bind to mercury, but rather weekly and can therefore be responsible for redistributing it, of the metal to other organs, causing various types of symptoms and this is certainly not what we want to do. We do not want to redistribute the mercury and have it dumped in perhaps even less favorable organs, the kidneys being highly sensitive organs, for instance, to mercury and kidney failure is not too uncommon in acute mercury exposure. So somebody being exposed to high levels of mercury in a sort of very quick, acute exposure and the body can then not eliminate it in a slow, gentle manner.
Redistribution can be a real problem, as in that, the metal can go to organs that are even more sensitive to the mercury. For instance, one example would be the kidneys, which are highly sensitive to mercury and we know that from acute exposure where accidents have happened and somebody’s broken a thermometer and been exposed to high levels of mercury in a very short space of time and that’s what we call acute exposure and kidney failure is actually then not too uncommon.
So yes, so redistribution would [inaudible 00:22:00] distribution of the mercury to very sensitive organs would be an even bigger problem. And this redistribution problem can actually happen in other methods of detoxification. And to mention this particular one is heavy metal detoxification by way of chelation and chelation does take place and DMPS to mention one or DMSA or the most common examples of sort of classic chelators. And what they have been criticized for is actually, in short, redistribution problems. The chemical structure is such that it has a sulfur component that would be the bit to bind to mercury, is closely connected to the carbon atom and it’s very inflexible and leaves little room for mercury to attach and therefore mercury can again be released easily and go to other places, hence making redistribution a problem. So chelating with DMPS and DMSA can be very much hit and miss and when it’s a miss, it can be quite dangerous actually. So I do not tend to recommend this method to my patients anyway. With the alternative chelators, there is a particular…
Alternative chelators. There is a particular substance called NBMI, which is a product over the well known Boyd Haley in the science world of mercury, he’s dedicated his whole career, or a large proportion of his career to mercury research. So, NBMI is going through different stages of trials, and hopefully will one day be FDA approved, because this structure of this substance, of this chelator, is different in that it has two sulfur arms and it is quite flexible in the arms, and so holds on to the mercury in a much stronger way and just doesn’t let go of it. This being the main problem with other chelators, makes NBMI quite a promising chelator.
Some people may know NBMI, which is by the way, the chemical name for the substance. It’s led by the company Irminix. But anyways, some people will know it as OSR, because this substance was sold as a supplement before it was put through for trials to be approved as a medical agent, as a chelator. But in effect, it’s a highly potent antioxidant, and while it binds to most heavy metals, it has a special affinity to mercury. So, if it binds to something else and mercury comes along, it will drop, from what I understand, it will drop the… Whether it is cadmium or iron or copper, among other things, and bind to mercury, and it will displace other metals in favor of binding to mercury instead. It has a high affinity to zinc and copper as well, so the downside is that then one has to make sure one supplements with minerals to replace any minerals that may go missing as a result of taking OSR or NBMI.
But as I mentioned, this has not gone through all the trials yet. I believe it got stuck in second or third stage, owing to a study or a trial that wasn’t successful in South America, due to choice of cohorts in this study. Then of course the pandemic happened, and so there was a halt put to the progression of these studies. So, this looks promising as a chelator, and Dr. Boyd Haley is a highly respected chemistry professor, and as mentioned, he’s dedicated a vast majority of his career to mercury. So, I am waiting for one, with excitement to see where this goes.
Lastly, one more way that I can think of how to detox from heavy metals, or any toxins for that matter, maybe by way of increasing the drainage and the excretion pathways, by way of sweating the metal out using near infrared sauna. I mean, one could in effect use saunas if one doesn’t have access to infrared saunas, but near infrared sauna has certain specifics to it that makes it more beneficial. Near infrared light with a penetration capacity of about seven inches, and full spectrum light emission that operates at around 850 nanometers, where it will stimulate mitochondrial regenerative capacity, is a great way of sweating out toxins and thus eliminating them safely and naturally. It’s a fantastic non-invasive and EMF free method.
Now, all the methods I’ve mentioned work, but of course it is down to each individual to do their own research and find out what works for them. If you are in tune with your body, you will instinctively be drawn to a certain method, I am sure. I hope everybody is aware that I am not talking in the capacity of a dentist, or this is not medical advice in any shape or form. One, as I mentioned, has to do their own research, but I do wish you all the best and hope you have benefited from my wisdom and experience with heavy metal and the detoxification thereof. Good luck in your detoxification journey everybody. Thank you and goodbye.
Last Updated: March 29, 2022