So you might be wondering how does he know about this topic. Personal experience. I had my first dental amalgam filling put in when I was ten years old as I ate candy as a kid and thus had a cavity. My parents also did not take me to the dentist often or force me to brush my teeth. Then the exposure from this first amalgam filling continued into first year of college when I had a tooth break. The dentist did a root canal on me and filled the several other cavities I had. In graduate school I had another root canal and a huge temporary mercury filing was put in until I could afford to get a crown put in. Later while working I had more dental work with a bridge and some more fillings. In time I must have had eight amalgam fillings for a cumulative time of 23 years. That is a lot of exposure. I drank lots of coffee daily at work and chewed gum regularly. I did not take a multi mineral or take selenium or DHA/fish oil.
I experienced several of the symptoms on the list of mercury toxicity symptoms over time with symptoms gradually increasing in severity as more fillings were added. The main symptoms experienced in the final year were
- Trouble sleeping and falling asleep at night
- Anxiety and stress/ nervousness
- My gums bled when I brushed my teeth and I had deep pockets in my gums per the hygenist
- I had acid reflux
- Felt sluggish/lethargic/often tired/needed lots of sleep to feel refreshed
- Felt easily angered and annoyed when things went wrong. Anger issues.
- Trouble concentrating
- Had mouth sores/ canker sores in my mouth
I became concerned with what was wrong on with me so I went to doctor to test my thyroid levels thinking maybe I had a thyroid condition as I felt so lethargic. The thyroid test came back fine to much surprise. The doctor told me to get plenty of iodine and selenium in my diet in case I had a borderline thyroid condition developing. So I went to the local drugstore and bought a bottle of multivitamin/multimineral with iodine (Centrum) and selenium yeast supplement (Nature Made). I took them and felt energized/good from the selenium and off from the multi mineral. This was odd to me. I wondered if I had some sort of mineral deficiency or weird disease. I started to document my findings in a notebook and took notes on what symptoms I experienced to make sense of it.
The eye surgeon then told me I had a slight tremor in my right hand when I was looking into Lasik. He was right to notice it. I never noticed this. He asked if I had a lot of caffeine that morning. No, I told him I haven’t had any today as it was 8 am in the morning and I was planning on having coffee at the office later. I wrote that down too as an observation.
Confused I started doing research on mineral imbalances and thyroid conditions. Then I saw an ad for a hair metal test online that would test for mineral levels and toxic elements. I decided to order the test for $120 to eliminate a cause methodically as a nutrient imbalance. Then I could focus on the thyroid or whatever it was. When the test packet came in the mail I snipped off hair from the back of my head where I never put styling gel to avoid contamination. I put the hair in the envelope, sent it out as instructed and waited.
About month later I got my results in the mail. I was shocked when I opened the letter. Not only was my mineral balance off but I had high levels of mercury! The mercury level was way over the maximum level for hair (99th percentile). I went online and searched for mercury poisoning symptoms. They matched what I had noted down in the notebook. I had a mineral imbalance and mercury poisoning. Then it all made sense. The mercury had come from the mercury amalgam fillings in my teeth! I am a white collar office worker and not a metal factory worker. I also never played with mercury as kid and rarely ate fish. In reality the mineral imbalance is a symptom of the mercury toxicity as the body is overwhelmed trying to get rid of the mercury.
I showed the hair metal test results to my primary care doctor who ran the thyroid test and gave me medicine for my acid reflux ( Aciphex). She was intrigued, did some research and ordered a test for me from a reputable local medical lab called Quest Diagnostics. Then she clipped my finger nails and toe nails into two vials from both hands and feet. We sent it off and a few weeks later she gave me the result. I had elevated levels of mercury in my nails in both the toenails and finger nails. The levels were 300% higher than the average. Wow. The hair metal test was no fluke it seemed. She asked me if I ate lots of fish. No, very little as a I am not a big fan. Or was exposed industrially at work? No as I work in an office, but I did have mercury amalgam fillings. It must be from those she said as there is no other big source of exposure in your life. I agreed. At that point I decided they had to be removed as I wasn’t comfortable with such a mercury test result.
I went to my dentist, said I wanted the fillings changed out and showed the test results from both tests. He wanted copies of those. He didn’t say anything about it or deny it. He also didn’t seem to want to discuss it out of scientific curiosity. This made me feel like I was exposed to some sort of dental cover up or was some hypochondriac crazy. Over the course of few appointments and about three thousand dollars the mercury fillings were out. They were replaced with ceramic inlays/onlays in the molars and plastic fillings on the smaller surfaces. By the end of 2005 all were gone. I felt relieved. This was not a metal free dentist but just a regular one as I had no idea at the time, so I was probably exposed to more mercury during the removal process. Either way they felt better when drinking hot and cold liquids and they blended in with the teeth nicely.
Being the analytical type that I am I decided to keep running the hair metal test every six months to see if the mercury was indeed coming out. It was slowly coming out as levels were reducing by about half each test/every six months. My mineral levels of elements like copper, zinc and selenium also returned into the normal range. By 2007 end two years later I was feeling much better. My lead and other toxic metals like cadmium also came out as the mercury came out as my body was not overwhelmed with toxins. See the next post for the data in chart form.
Over the next several years time I experienced
- Clearer thinking and better concentration at work
- I seemed to become better at problem solving at work as mercury came out and I took DHA daily in fish oil to restore my brain
- Less irritability and anger when things went wrong
- I slept more soundly and felt more rested
- I performed better at work and switched careers to a more challenging one
- No weird symptoms from a multi mineral supplement
- No hand tremor
- Nervousness and stress reduced
- More confidence and outgoing nature
- My gums stopped bleeding and no mouth sores (canker sores)
- Small problems bothered me less
- I felt more calm and relaxed
- Acid reflux went away on its own with no change in diet
- My allergies to ragweed went away. There was no need for allergy pills in the summer
- My long term memory improved
If you are experiencing these symptoms and have amalgam fillings you may want to run a hair or have your doctor run the nail metal test before to confirm things before spending money to ensure that is the problem. Remember that the hair (1 month exposure window) and nail test (5 month exposure window) only shows what is in the blood currently. It is a like a tree ring. There is no real way to measure the amounts stored in the brain and body. If you do have mercury fillings I would have them replaced if were you if the test comes in high. Better safe than sorry.
Once your fillings are out and have been out for some time you can try eating a little fresh cilantro with meals. The leaves contain a thiol (sulfur) compound that attracts mercury. Then you can eliminate it from your body. Or you can buy some liposomal glutathione pills.
- Basically the symptoms experienced were mainly neurological symptoms as mercury is bioaccumuolative neurotoxin. It impacts the brain the most and up to 80% of mercury vapor released is absorbed in the bloodstream.
- The reaction to selenium was because I had a shortage of it in my body as it was being used up binding to mercury instead of in the thyroid where it is needed. This made me sluggish.
- My gums bled, had deep pockets and I had mouth sore/canker sores because the inside of my mouth was irritated from the mercury being leached
- The acid reflux came from excess salivation from the mercury I was swallowing
- Over time as the mercury left my body the symptoms disappeared
The funny thing is it was only afterward did I start to see more and more articles about the dangers of mercury amalgam fillings and how some people are more susceptible to mercury poisoning due to genetics (APOE4 gene types= 25% of the population has one copy). When I was first diagnosed I had no idea this could be a real problem. Only through trial and error plus use of the scientific method did things come into focus.
So why write these entries on my blog? Well I figure people need to be warned not to get these fillings and there may be others suffering from the same symptoms that I did not knowing what to do. Read all the posts and articles regarding this topic and then make up your own mind on the dangers. It’s telling you can’t throw fluorescent light bulbs in the trash (contain mercury vapor) but somehow it’s ok to have mercury in your mouth. The worst thing honestly was that there was no one to talk with about this or a doctor I could go to once I had the fillings removed. Now that things are coming out the topic isn’t so taboo anymore. However there is no need to chelate just let it come out naturally once the source has been removed.
Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning aka Mad Hatter’s Disease
Compare this list to the list of my symptoms. Notice anything similar?
- Nervousness/jittery feeling/restlessness (YES)
- Fine motor tremor in hands (YES)
- Irritability/over emotional/easily angered/bad temper (YES)
- Lack of confidence/fear of public speaking/exaggerated feeling of what other people think/ timidness
- Social withdrawal, spending time alone
- Depressed mood/blues/negative view (YES)
- Reduced motor skills/clumsiness/reduced sports ability
- Impulsiveness or rash decision making
- Overly excitable
- Memory loss/ Loss of long-term memories (YES)
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing unless it is quiet when studying or working (YES)
- Bleeding gums, mouth sores (canker sores), gingivitis, dental pockets (YES)
- Canker sores in mouth (YES)
- Difficulty sleeping at night (YES)
- Nights sweats/hot and cold cycles where it’s either too hot or too cold repeatedly
- Lethargy/sluggishness/lack of energy/seems like thyroid issue (selenium depletion impacts thyroid hormone levels and metabolism) (YES)
- Strange reactions to normal things like multi vitamin/ multi mineral supplements or fish oil /DHA due to mineral imbalance (YES)
- Need for lots of sleep to feel refreshed. (YES)
- Tooth loss around the fillings or the site of the filling itself (YES)