Introduction to Mercury Detoxification: Is It for You? by Dr. Tom McGuire
I’ve written this article to introduce the concept of mercury detoxification. Of course there is much more to this subject than space allows here but it should provide you with enough information to at least consider participating in such a program.
You won’t be left in the dark because all the information you will need to understand how chronic mercury poisoning damages the body and how to support your body’s efforts at safely and naturally removing mercury will be found in my book, Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body. You can review the Table of Contents and browse excerpts from each chapter. The book has a full Glossary, an extensive and detailed Reference section, and a complete Index. It also contains over 50 educational Tables and Charts. Click Here to Browse the Mercury Detoxification Book.
In this article I will review my philosophy and approach to mercury detoxification. I’ve extensively researched this subject and have accumulated a scientific database of over 1200 articles (180 pages) on all aspects of amalgam fillings, chronic mercury poisoning and mercury detoxification to support my research. You can review the database by Clicking Here.
While I believe my book is the most informative book of its kind on this subject for the layperson, I realize that there are other mercury detoxification programs out there. I feel that whether you decide to participate in my program or someone else’s, having a sound understanding of the principles of mercury detoxification will help you to better understand it. My book will do that for you. At least you will have something to compare to and it will allow you to make a more informed choice.
Considering a Mercury Detoxification Program
When considering a mercury detoxification program a number of factors should be considered. They are divided into two parts.
- Have you been exposed to mercury?
- Source of exposure.
- The duration and extent of that exposure.
- Number and extent of symptoms and diseases related to chronic mercury poisoning.
- The results of mercury testing (optional).
While evaluating the factors that are involved in chronic mercury poisoning, the ultimate decision to participate in a mercury detoxification program should be based on the following criteria. Do you want to improve:
- Your overall health, energy, and be as healthy as you can be?
- Symptoms that are directly and indirectly related to chronic mercury poisoning?
- Your immune/detoxification system and increase your resistance to toxins, infections, allergies, and other, more serious diseases?
- Your quality of life and extend your life-expectancy ?
The big question is, are you mercury toxic? I believe everyone who still has mercury amalgam (silver) fillings, including those who have had them removed, is mercury toxic to some degree and should seriously consider a mercury detoxification program. Because those who still have these fillings are being constantly exposed to mercury vapor, it's even more important that they begin a mercury detox program as soon as possible. This can be done even before the safe removal process has begun.
There are two objective tests for mercury that will tell you if you are mercury toxic and provide a general indication of 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 subjective criteria for mercury poisoning. But the fecal metals test can also be beneficial if you want objective proof that you are mercury toxic and in helping to monitor your mercury detox program. (Click Here to review the most common tests for mercury.)
I also feel that an evaluation of your current symptoms and related health issues is a good indicator of the need for a mercury detoxification program. For example, if you have, or had, mercury amalgam fillings and find you have a number of symptoms, or diseases, related to chronic mercury poisoning, you should seriously consider participating in a program. The following section will serve to explain the importance of symptom diagnosis.
When Should I Start a Mercury Detoxification Program?
The best answer is to begin a natural mercury detoxification program as soon as possible - especially if you still have mercury amalgam (silver) fillings. Many people have heard, or read, that they shouldn't start a mercury detoxification program until their amalgams have been removed. This is wrong information. Those who still have amalgam fillings are not only accumulating more and more mercury from them but will continue to become more and more deficient in the essential antioxidants/antitoxins necessary to help the body eliminate mercury.
Even when your amalgams have been removed the body will still do its best to remove stored mercury but in the process these essential antitoxins will continue to be depleted. Thus, whether you now have amalgams, or you've had them removed, it is critically important to provide the body with what it needs to increase the production of these antioxidants/antitoxins and improve the health of the immune system as soon as is possible.
Symptoms & 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. Mercury just doesn’t do its damage directly, by interfering with the normal metabolic process. It can also devastate the immune system, making you more susceptible to toxins, free radicals, and will lower your resistance to other diseases. Because mercury can be stored in virtually every cell of the body the number of symptoms related to it are wide-ranging. In my opinion, mercury can directly or indirectly cause, contribute to, or make worse every health issue we know of.
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. You can find the list by Clicking on Symptoms and Diseases Related to Chronic Mercury Poisoning.
Of course, most of these symptoms can also have other causes and contributors. But we do know that every one of them can be made worse by chronic mercury poisoning! This isn’t speculation as there are thousands of studies to support what can happen when exposure to mercury passes the threshold level that will then manifest a related symptom.
Also keep in mind that the level of exposure, and the amount of accumulated mercury, 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. For example, the immune/detoxification system of some could be functioning better, allowing them to remove more mercury than those whose system is more compromised. There are also genetic and other factors involved. Of note is that the amount of mercury in the body of those with amalgam fillings has been shown to be proportional to the number of fillings in the mouth.
The number and severity of symptoms related to chronic 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 is stored in your body. Understanding the full effect and depth of chronic mercury poisoning, and how singularly devastating it can be to your health, should also serve to motivate you to consider a mercury detoxification program. You can review an article I wrote on it by Clicking on Chronic Mercury Poisoning and Amalgam Fillings.
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 how wonderfully the body can respond once the source of the poison has been removed and the body is supported in its efforts at removing mercury. You can review these studies by Clicking on Symptoms & Improvements.
You must understand that the key to symptom improvement is directly related to removal of mercury from the body. As long as mercury is still there no related symptom or disease will improve. Removing the most prominent source of mercury, amalgam fillings, is a critical first step and means the body will be better able to remove stored mercury because it no longer as to deal with the mercury continually entering the body from these fillings.
The day you have all of your fillings removed your body will be the most depleted in the antioxidants necessary to increase the rate of removal. Thus, supporting your body’s efforts at removing mercury by initiating a mercury detoxification program will accelerate the removal process and hasten symptom improvement. This rate and extent of improvement is a very individual thing based on a number of factors I discuss in my book.
The Confusion about Mercury Detoxification
While there’s a consensus within the Mercury Safe 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 removing mercury from the body. I believe a large percentage of dentists and health professionals do not fully understand the effects of chronic mercury poisoning on overall health. I am certain that this lack of awareness has lead to chronic mercury poisoning being extraordinarily under diagnosed. In addition, some Mercury Safe dentists and health practitioners who believe in the need and value of mercury detoxification have differing recommendations regarding treating it. But most understand that their primary role is to safely remove amalgams and will refer a patient to a source of information about mercury detoxification and leave it up to the patient to pursue it.
I've found that some health practitioners will recommend extremely low dosages of supplements while 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. 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 mercury detox program. Without the ability to make an informed choice you will continue to be a victim of this health destroying poison.
Taking the 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.
A Natural Approach
My program approaches mercury detoxification in the safest and most natural way possible. This insures that 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 effectively 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 help you achieve an optimal state of health and then utilize it to keep you healthy.
While the 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, the present state of your overall 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. These factors will vary from person to person. Ultimately, it’s the sum of these factors that will determine how long you should participate in the program and the benefits you will receive from it.
The approach I take to mercury 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 ongoing 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 but 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.
Minimizing Undesirable Side-Effects
Another key 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. Or their immune system was too depleted to handle an aggressive approach.
I believe this accelerated approach should be avoided. The safe and gentle approach that I promote is even more important for those:
- Who are very mercury toxic;
- Whose immune system has been severely compromised; and
- Who may 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 into it; regardless of what I or anyone else tells you what should or shouldn’t happen. So it’s 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, or more serious health issues, that could be related to chronic mercury poisoning.
*There 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 undesirable 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 to 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.
The intestine, small and large, plays an important and complex role in overall health and especially 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 passes into it may not ‘get out’!
Under certain 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 factor that is included in 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. Remember, to be successful a mercury detox program must not only support the body’s efforts to safely remove mercury but to repair the damage done by it.
It should be noted that the neurological effects aren’t just physical, or motor, in nature. Chronic mercury poisoning can result in numerous emotional and psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, memory loss, and irritability . . . to name just a few.
Monitoring Your Mercury Detoxification Program
Monitoring your mercury detoxification program, both objectively and subjectively, can be very helpful in assessing the progress of your program, both for you and for your supporting health professional; if you are working with one. The body is a miracle in how it can repair itself and if given the support it needs and will let you know how it is doing. I consider monitoring to be an essential component of a mercury detoxification program and discuss it in detail in the book. I also include charts that help your record and monitor your improvements.
Supplement Schedule Charts - Increase Compliance
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. The first is not being motivated but also includes not understanding what and why you need to take, keeping track of which supplements needed, and when to take them. I’ve created special charts and forms that make keeping track of my program a simple process.
My book, 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 my 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 been provided.
When it comes to eliminating mercury from the body, the more you know about the detoxification process, the better off you’ll be. Thus, Mercury Detoxification will explain:
- Why removing mercury from your body is important to your overall health and how the detoxification process works.
- The role and importance of the immune system in mercury detoxification.
- The basics of vitamins and nutritional supplements needed to support your body’s efforts at removing mercury.
- The importance of supporting intestinal health during this process.
- The value and importance of providing your body with healing ‘brain’ food.
- How to tolerance test supplements to minimize potential side-effects.
- The role of pharmaceutical chelating agents in the detoxification process.
- Testing for mercury and how it can be used to effectively monitor your detoxification program.
- How to use my innovative Supplement Schedule Charts to help you keep track of your program and make it exceptionally easy to follow.
In a nutshell, Mercury Detoxification will provide you with the essential information you will need to understand and participate in a safe mercury detoxification program, 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 program. I wish you well.
Dr. Tom McGuire