Mercury is a toxic heavy metal which
in small doses can be very detrimental to human health. It affects
the body in 4 main ways:
- Allergic reactions
- Induction of auto-immunity
- Idiosyncratic reactions
Mercury is a heavy metal which, like
lead and arsenic, is very toxic to the human body. Mercury is liquid
at room temperature and so vapourizes very easily. The vapour is
odourless, colourless, tasteless and when inhaled is very rapidly
taken up by the blood and passes to all the other tissues of the
body. Once in the tissues it enters the cells where it is converted
into inorganic mercury. This highly reactive chemical reacts with
sulphur containing enzymes. Enzymes are special molecules that promote
chemical reactions that keep the cells, and therefore the tissues
and body, alive. Without enzymes we would not be alive. Mercury's
main mode of action is as an enzyme poison, with the final result
being metabolic disease.
Allergic reactions to mercury and
other compounds in 'silver fillings' can occur locally around the
teeth, gums, or oral tissues. These reactions may occur immediately
or take up to several years to develop. Symptoms may appear on other
parts of the body (systemic) and, as with local symptoms, may appear
immediately or take several years to appear. Typical systemic reactions
would be eczema and sores on face or shoulders. General dental opinion
is that less than 1% of the population is sensitive to mercury.
Unfortunately scientific fact shows that approximately 5% of the
population is allergic to mercury - that means that 5 out of every
100 patients in a dental practice may be allergic to mercury.
3. Mercury induced auto-immunity
The immune system is the body's defense
system and protects 'you' from things that are 'not you' such as
infections and cancer. Autoimmunity is a reaction in the immune
system where it can't tell the difference between 'you' and 'not
you' and so starts to attack healthy tissues. There are many specific
auto-immune diseases e.g. Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid
Arthritis. If you have any of these diseases, and are told that
having your 'silver fillings' removed will cure you, please be very
cautious. Choosing to have the mercury removed is a very positive
health move and will reduce the mercury levels in your body, but
it is not a scientifically proven cure for the disease.
4. Idiosyncratic reactions
Some people may be immunologicaly
hypersensitive or toxicologicaly sensitive to very low doses of
mercury and some individuals have idiosyncratic (strange) reactions.
Often the symptoms are bizarre and difficult to diagnose, and may
be included in a whole range of environmentally induced reactions
totally unique to that individual.
One of the important issues facing
medical research today is whether mercury from 'silver fillings'
causes specific diseases. Many diseases today have no known cause
and none of these have been shown to be caused by mercury from fillings.
However mercury exposure, no matter how small, will cause mercury
poisoning to some degree and so one should not ignore the negative
effect mercury will have on your health. Removal of the mercury
will be a positive health move. Remember mercury is more poisonous
than both lead and arsenic.
Showing the impact that low level exposure
to mercury vapour has on your health is very difficult. There is
neither a single test that can show this, nor indeed any number
of tests that are 100% accurate.
Lab tests will help to evaluate
- Overall health status
- Environmental & life style factors
- Co-existing medical factors
- Need for therapeutic nutrition
- Liver & kidney function during removal
- Excretion from the body