How Mercury Exposure Impacts Health

having dental work done

Mercury has been designated by the World Health Organization as one of the 10 most dangerous chemicals to public health. Mercury interferes with immune function, and can damage the nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems as well as vulnerable organs like the kidneys and brain. It also works like a hidden human enemy to damage the critical fatty acids, proteins, and enzymes that keep cells healthy. Mercury even damages DNA by producing free radicals. No known safe level of exposure to mercury exists.

Dentistry is responsible for the largest use of mercury in the United States. About 181-million Americans are walking around today with an astonishing 1.46-billion mercury-amalgam fillings in their teeth?a staggering total of 1,200 tons of mercury. Often referred to as a silver filling, dental amalgam is composed of about 50 percent liquid mercury, blended into a powdered alloy of silver, tin, copper, and zinc.

The mercury in dental amalgam can release in vapor form at higher rates during brushing, cleaning, and chewing. Mercury can be absorbed in the mouth or by tissues throughout the body. Because of the risk that mercury poses, many developed nations have eliminated or dramatically reduced the use of dental amalgam. Just last year, a coalition of 50 environmental, public-health, and children?s rights groups called for an end to dental-amalgam use in all American children, as well as a two-year phase-out for all Americans.

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Protecting the body during amalgam removal

What can you do if your mouth already contains one or more amalgam fillings? Some individuals ask their licensed health professionals to test their body burdens of mercury. A mercury tri-test, for instance, can assess levels in blood, hair, and urine to accurately determine the body?s mercury burden.

Even without testing, many individuals want their mercury amalgams drilled out and replaced with a toothfriendly resin, glass ionomer, or porcelain material. Drilling out an amalgam filling, however, generates an enormous amount of heat, causing a significant increase in the release of mercury, both as a vapor and as tiny particles that may be inadvertently swallowed. Even with the use of a rubber dental dam, water spray, and suction, some exposure is unavoidable. Therefore, the body needs support in detoxifying and eliminating the mercury and other metals released during drilling.

Support glutathione levels

The most important detoxification channel the body has is also the most potent. The glutathione super system can safely bind heavy metals and move them right out of the body. As the body?s master antioxidant, glutathione donates an electron to neutralize free radicals and attract heavy metals. As part of the super system, the body can recycle spent glutathione with the proper enzymes. Any toxic exposure requires additional support for glutathione levels to protect the body?particularly during amalgam removal.

The body assembles glutathione out of the amino acids glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. Two of the three are abundant in the body. Scarcity of cysteine often limits production. Oral formulations of glutathione are available, but most are broken down by stomach acids and digestive enzymes so that very little is absorbed. A liposomal glutathione formulation offers rapid and efficient uptake into the cells that need it. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) provides a supply of cysteine for endogenous production of glutathione. Begin taking NAC several days before amalgam removal and continue for several days afterward. In particular, alcohol depletes glutathione levels, so it is a good idea to avoid alcohol for a couple of days before and after removal of amalgams.

Other phytonutrients and specialized biomolecules can increase your powerful internal antioxidant defenses and help protect your primary organ of detoxification, the liver. They include botanicals such as milk thistle, with its special affinity for the liver, as well as B-complex vitamins, with their ability to support countless metabolic reactions in the body.

Bind metals for excretion

During the actual drilling procedure, an efficient detoxification system will escort metals into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Once there, specialized binders capture them for safe and permanent elimination. Common binders include clay, charcoal, and chlorella, but these may?not be potent enough to intercept and neutralize the extra burden of mercury released by drilling. Soluble fiber and cilantro also help bind mercury, but some specialized supplements are very potent. One such powerful metal scavenger is purified thiol-functionalized silica? which is the mineral silica enhanced by specialized metal-binding molecules. It is highly stable and stays in the gut without entering the bloodstream, yet binds mercury and sweeps it out of the body.

Bentonite clay can add further protection, with its high affinity for other metals in fillings. Vitamin C, one of the most broad-spectrum antioxidants, can also offer additional protection during amalgam removal. A complete solution The MerProtect Protocol uses many of these methods to provide comprehensive support for antioxidant defenses and detoxification and it was designed with amalgam removal in mind. The protocol lasts 1 week, with doses to be taken before, during, and subsequent to amalgam removal. Using this protocol can help prevent the occasional worsening of symptoms some people experience after drilling of amalgams. which is likely due to increased exposure after mercury has been released from the tooth. Getting amalgam removed is a good idea?only if you limit your exposure to mercury filings and vapor that can damage organs and tissues throughout the body. For more information about the MerProtect Protocol, visit quicksilverscientific.com.

Christopher Shade, PhD, founder and CEO of Quicksilver Scientific, is a recognized expert on mercury and liposomal delivery systems.

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