What are the types of Mercury? How do you get mercury out of your body? What are the symptoms of Mercury poisoning?
Mercury 101: Three forms of mercury
There are three major types of mercury:
- Elemental mercury: this is the form in “silver” fillings, or dental amalgams. Such fillings are about 50 percent mercury with smaller amounts of silver, tin, and copper. Dental amalgams continuously lose trace amounts of mercury, primarily as mercury vapor, or gas, which we inhale. Just as we inhale oxygen and it’s transported from our lungs to all of the tissues in our body, so too is mercury inhaled and transported throughout our body.
- Inorganic mercury: you can think of this form of mercury as a result of corrosion. At some point, the elemental mercury in dental amalgams will be inhaled or swallowed, and then it attaches to another compound, forming inorganic mercury.
- Organic mercury: also called methylmercury, this is the type of mercury found in seafood. When we eat fish, the methylmercury is delivered directly to our intestines. Somewhat unfortunately, due to a process called molecular mimicry, which can be thought of as a case of mistaken identity, our body sees the organic mercury, thinks it’s a beneficial nutrient and brings it out of the gut into circulation.
How do you get mercury out of your body?
Make sure you are working with a licensed Doctor or healthcare provider!
This is information here for you to help inform them!
- Diet. Avoid all sugar and milk, limit all processed foods and most grains, especially wheat.
These cause inflammation and enhance the mercury toxicity!
- Beneficial Bacteria. … Probiotics
- Maintain two to three bowel movements per day. …
- Unload the connective tissue with Chlorella or ProChitosan. …
- Start Garlic or MSM. …
- Start Cilantro. …
- Mineral Replacement. …
- Digestion and Gall Bladder Support for Autism.Milk thistle, for example, has been proven effective in supporting the body’s detoxification from heavy metals. The active ingredient in it is called silymarin, and it has incredible cleansing effects on the liver and gallbladder, which can help your body more effectively heal from mercury poisoning. From one of our Modern Medical Heros:http://www.mercola.com/article/mercury/detox_protocol.htm
Dr. Mercola with Dr. Larsen
Avoid all sugar and milk, limit all processed foods and most grains, especially wheat.
It will be important to have a high protein diet as the sulfur bearing amino acids in the protein will greatly facilitate detoxification. Do NOT attempt to fast during DMPS mercury detoxification. If you are a vegetarian you will be at HIGH risk for complications from DMPS unless you have a large amount of protein.
Whey protein can be used as a supplement as it is high in glutathione and branched chain amino acids. Two large tablespoons are used per drink and that can be taken once a day and twice a day for the week prior to DMPS chelation.
Autistic children can’t use this product as it contains casein. They can use pure branched chain amino acids. You can start with one capsule twice daily and mix with food. Work up to two capsules twice a day for the week prior to DMPS chelation.
2. Beneficial Bacteria
Take one quarter to one half teaspoon once a day of a high potency high quality strain. It is vital to have an optimized bowel flora for detoxification.
3. Maintain two to three bowel movements per day
If you are not having this many bowel movements make certain that your thyroid status has been checked. It is very common for mercury to affect the thyroid. If your thyroid function is fine then you should add some magnesium.
If you are on long-term magnesium it is important to take some calcium with it or after awhile you will develop an imbalance in your calcium magnesium ratio which could result in severe cramping.
Freshly ground flax seed several teaspoons per day will facilitate intestinal movement and also contribute some healthy essential fatty acids.
4. Unload the connective tissue with Chlorella or ProChitosan
Chlorella and ProChitosan are an important part of the detoxification program, as approximately 90% of the mercury in our bodies is eliminated through the stool. Chlorella is an algae and, unlike Protchitosan, has protein high levels of chlorophyll and other nutrients which can be used for nourishment.
The chlorella powder is the most cost effective approach but some people will prefer the tablets or capsules for convenience. A simple way to dissolve the powder is to place it in a container with a lid partially filled with water. Then tighten the lid and shake to dissolve and drink the solution.
Caution: About 30% of people can’t tolerate chlorella. This may be due to optimized function of the enzyme cellulase. If you are unable to tolerate this it would be wise to consider adding an enzyme with cellulase in it to help digest the chlorella.
Dose: One can start out with a one quarter of a teaspoon of the powder (one 500 mg tablet) once a day initially to confirm that there is no hypersensitivity present. Work up slowly over one to two weeks to a dose of one teaspoon (ten tablets or capsules) per day. Once you tolerate this dose you are able to use it to bind the mercury. Use this dose starting two days prior to your chelation and for one day afterwards. The chlorella will thoroughly coat your intestine and bind like a sponge to any mercury that the DMPS liberates into the gut.
The above dose is based on a 150 pound adult. If you are using the program for children reduce the dose proportionately. (So a 30 pound child would have have 30/150 or 1/5 (20%) of the dose).
Caution: If at any time one develops nausea or starts “burping up” the chlorella taste then the chlorella should be stopped immediately as a food sensitivity is developing which will only worsen if you continue taking it. If this happens you should switch to ProChitosan. This binds similarly to mercury. Its dose is dependent on your bowel movements.
If you have one bowel movement a day or less you should start two days prior to the DMPS. If you have two or more bowel movements, you can start 24 hours prior to the DMPS. Stay on it for 24 hours after the DMPS. So you will be on it either two or three days. The dose is two capsules three times a day. Be sure to drink it with plenty of water and increase magnesium if constipation develops.
Porphrazyme from Biotics Research is another alternative to chlorella that many clinicians have had success with in mercury detoxification.
5. Start Garlic or MSM
It would be wise to start on garlic regularly to enhance sulfur stores. Use the food, rather than the supplement garlic. Try to get in three cloves per day, but decrease the dose if your odor becomes socially offensive.
Again, as indicated in the chlorella section above, children will have proportionately lower doses.
MSM is a form of sulfur which will help your body to remove the mercury. The initial dose is one capsule twice a day. Increase by one capsule a day until you are at three capsules twice a day. If you have root canals and are chronically sick you may want to increase to five capsules three times a day.
6. Start Cilantro
Cilantro will help mobilize mercury out of the tissue so the DMPS can attach to it and allow it to be excreted from the body. The best form of cilantro is a tincture available from Dragon River (505-583-2348).
The dose is one dropper applied on the wrists and rubbed in twice a day for the two weeks preceding the DMPS IV. It is used the morning prior to the DMPS chlelation but can be stopped for the following two weeks. The tincture is also particularly useful for any joint pain and could be rubbed on the joint that is hurting as an alternative.
You can also augment the tincture with using the herb. It is not as potent, but certainly will add to the program. However, like chlorella, many people are sensitive to oral cilantro. So, if you develop any nausea or discomfort after eating cilantro do not use it orally.
7. Mineral Replacement
It is important to have a generally healthy mineral base. The body works better with toxic metals than no metals at all. Enzymes have certain binding sites that require a metal for them to perform their function as a catalyst. When you are deficient in magnesium, sodium, zinc and other minerals, the body does not let go of the toxic metals very easily.
Selenium and zinc are particularly important trace minerals in mercury detoxification and should be used for most people.
Generally the citrate form of minerals works quite nicely unless one has a low blood phosphorous level. It is important to not take copper or iron though unless a clinician has examined a hair analysis and or blood work and recommended these minerals. Thorne Research has Citramins II which is citrated minerals without copper or iron.
If you do not have a sufficient amount of hydrochloric acid secreted by your stomach then it will be very difficult to ionize mineral supplements to absorb them properly. There is a hydrochloric acid reflex present on the lowest rib approximately one inch lateral to the midline. If this area on the rib is tender to palpation there is a strong likelihood the person is deficient in hydrochloric acid and would benefit from supplementation.
This is especially common in individuals over 50 years old, and also in individuals with food allergies. One to six capsules or more of Betaine hydrochloride is generally taken with the first bite of every meal for proper digestive support. The Betaine can be discontinued once the reflex point in non-tender to deep palpation.
Monitoring Your Mineral Dosing
It will be very important to monitor your mineral levels during the detoxification program. This should be done initially and at least every 6-12 weeks. I only recommend two labs to do this work. Trace Elements and Analytical Research as they are the only two labs that do not wash the hair samples prior to analysis.
8. Digestion and Gall Bladder Support for Autism
Liver and gallbladder congestion are major issues in states of toxicity. To insure that your gallbladder bile flow is functional add magnesium taurate or taurine, butyric acid (Butryex 559-433-3110)
The dose of the Butyrex initially is 1/8-1/4 of capsule. Gradually increase the dose to 5 capsules 3 times daily. The Butyrex has an offensive odor which is lessened by keeping it in the freezer. Additionally inserting the powder in applesauce, raw honey or elderberry cough syrup may improve compliance.
Digestive enzymes (containing lipase) and CCK (stimulates contraction of the gall bladder) can be used one hour after meals containing fat. CCK is taken after dinner (high fat meal).
- young children 1/4 tablet
- older children 1/2 tablet
- teenagers 1 tablet
- adults 2 to 4 tablets
Your ability to clear toxins will be impaired if you do not have proper fats to support digestive function. Your diet should contain adequate fat from unprocessed pure oils. Omega Nutrition, Flora or Arrowhead Mills
OR fats naturally found in foods:
- free range organic poultry, eggs, or meats
Vitamin C and E. It would be wise to take Unique vitamin E one capsule per day and about 250-500 mg of vitamin C with each meal. If you are exercising aggressively you can take 1000 mg of C 15-30 minutes prior to exercising. It is also wise to consider adding 2-4,000 mg of Vitamin C powder to a half gallon of water and drinking that throughout the day.
It will be VERY important to take 2000 units (typically five of the 400 unit capsules) of vitamin E the day of and the day after the DMPS injection as this will decrease the side effects of the detoxification reaction considerably. You can also take 1-2 grams of vitamin C immediately prior to the DMPS injection.
10. Start Monthly DMPS Injections, Suppositories or Transdermal
You should not have DMPS if you still have amalgam fillings. If they have been removed the injections can be started on a monthly basis. Collection of the urine is then down to analyze how much mercury is being excreted. One must urinate completely prior to the injection.
I perform the analysis at 90 minutes as that is most convenient, but others do four or 24 hour collections. The DMPS injections are generally given about six times or until the level drops into single digits or you are feeling better.
For pediatric patients
You can click here to find out why I don’t recommend DMSA mercury chelation. Since an IV is such a traumatic event for most children it is probably wise to use a rectal suppository version of DMPS which is available from most compounding pharmacists. Another alternative is to apply the dose transdermally with DMSO. This is very similar to the way that the hormone secretion is being used for many autistic patients.
The dose is 5 mg of DMPS per kg of body weight and is generally given once a month. The urine collection for pediatric patients incorporates a bag to collect the urine for mercury analysis.
11. DMPS Alternative
Some people do not tolerate DMPS well. This is especially true for those who have damage in the central nervous system, such as those with MS or ALS or children with fragile brain architecture. If this is the case there are several options. PCA (peptid clathrating agent) spray can be used. The dose is 4 sprays under the tongue every day or every other day. One may use a dipeptide amino acid or mixed mineral succinates such as Champion Nutrition Muscle Nitro.
Different individuals, different rates of mercury detox
Based on studies during an outbreak of mercury poisoning from eating mercury-contaminated seeds, the half-life of mercury (meaning the time it takes to decrease the blood level of mercury by half) for most people is 60 days. But the range is 40 to 120 days. In someone who only slowly detoxifies mercury, exposure to a constant source, even if small, such as with dental amalgams, leads to significantly greater accumulation and toxicity that would occur in someone who quickly moves it out of the body.
Chronic inflammation can lead to impaired detoxification and mercury accumulation. Are you at risk?
Mercury detox is affected by numerous factors
Mercury is moved out of the body by the glutathione system. Glutathione can be thought of as the master antioxidant. One of its many roles is to attach to metals and other toxins to guide them out of the body.
Genetics and epigenetics clearly have some influence over our rate of detoxification. But the story is much more complex, and fortunately, there are a number of pieces of the detoxification process that we can support.
Most notably, there is a complex interplay between inflammation and detoxification, and one cannot be treated without addressing the other.
Chronic inflammation = impaired detoxification. And, mercury = chronic inflammation. A vicious cycle.
Detoxification is essentially an antioxidant system. Inflammation, in contrast, plays the role of “attack and repair.” For example, if you cut yourself, you’ll notice that the skin around that cut becomes red, warm, and a little swollen. This is because inflammatory cells move into “attack” any potential pathogens (like bad bacteria) that may try to move into your body through the cut (since the skin provides a normal barrier of defense). Inflammation is often protective in the short term, but it is associated with increased oxidative stress, meaning there’s an increase in reactive compounds that can cause damage to our cells and our DNA. Chronic inflammation, which is essentially “pro-oxidant,” will decrease detoxification, which is “anti-oxidant.”
In one study looking at fish consumption in children, levels of mercury were compared with inflammatory markers. Even though the levels of mercury in these children were low, an association was seen between higher mercury (whether due to slow detoxification and associated accumulation, or due to high consumption) and several inflammatory markers.
One study looking at how the immune system responds to mercury found an increase in the release of pro-inflammatory immune cells. This dysregulation in the immune system leads to an unopposed inflammatory response and increased risk for infectious or autoimmune diseases.
Inflammation makes us more susceptible to mercury toxicity
In one study, inflammation due to different causes, including exposure to bacterial endotoxin, which occurs with food poisoning or other GI infection, significantly increased toxicity. Another study similarly found that small amounts of bacterial endotoxin exposure substantially increased susceptibility to damage from various toxins, including metals. And another study in mice demonstrated that mercury in the presence of bacterial endotoxin caused measurably more kidney damage than mercury alone. This means that the same amount of mercury or other toxins will cause more damage in the presence of inflammation.
Mercury affects every cell and system in our body
Because of this, the effects and symptoms of mercury toxicity are different in each individual. While the variety of ways in which mercury affects each of us is too much to cover in this article, here’s a list of some signs and symptoms that mercury is affecting your health:
- Brain fog or decreased concentration
- Frequent headaches
- Ataxia (decreased control over muscular movements such as with walking or picking up objects)
- Sleep disturbance in children
- Autoimmune disease
- Multiple chemical sensitivity
- Paresthesias or neuropathy
- Hearing loss
- Dysarthria (characterized by slurred or slow speech due to weakness or poor control over the muscles used for speech)
- Muscle tremor
- Movement disorders
- Hair loss
- Hormonal dysregulation including abnormal menstrual cycles and infertility
- Cardiovascular disease including hypertension, coronary heart disease, transient ischemia attacks or stroke, or other vascular diseases
- Kidney dysfunction including proteinuria (or “spilling” proteins into the urine)
Our nervous system is particularly vulnerable to mercury toxicity
You can see from this list of symptoms that our brains are especially susceptible to the toxic effects of mercury. Many of these conditions also result from the underlying inflammation and immune dysfunction associated with a high burden of mercury. Fortunately, you can get the mercury out of your body safely!
It’s important to know that if you are considering having your dental amalgams removed, this MUST be done by a biologic or holistic dentist with experience in low-emission removal techniques. When done incorrectly, removal of amalgams can expose you to a substantial amount of mercury.
In an upcoming webinar ( the exact date is TBA) Chris and I will talk more about how to test for metal toxicity, including why we don’t recommend provoked mercury tests, what additional tests need to be considered, and how we approach detoxification. The webinar will provide some time for questions and answers, so we’ll look forward to answering your specific questions there!
Milk thistle, for example, has been proven effective in supporting the body’s detoxification from heavy metals. The active ingredient in it is called silymarin, and it has incredible cleansing effects on the liver and gallbladder, which can help your body more effectively heal from mercury poisoning.