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Re: mercury toxicity

Posted by larryhoover on July 13, 2011, at 20:35:32

In reply to Re: mercury toxicity, posted by sigismund on June 29, 2011, at 13:18:12

Oh, boy. Mercury is a complex issue, with little deep science that comforts me as "fact".

I'm not 100% behind every statement made in this article, but it's a pretty good summary of why mercury is a health issue:

I'm just trying to write less, when something is already out there that serves as a primer.

The main target of mercury in your body is the sulfhydryl group, the sulphur analog of an alcohol. Another name for the same chemical group is a thiol. And yet another name for it is a mercaptan. It's a mer(cury)-cap(ture)-an (group).

That's both the function of chelators like DMSA, and the problem in your body. Anything with a sulfhydryl group is going to get the attention of mercury.

DMSA has paired sulfhydryls, something analogous to chemical tweezers, which can grip mercury from two directions simultaneously. But I have a problem with the concept, and it's an either/or kind of problem.

If you have amalgam (mercury/silver) fillings, then taking DMSA is probably the stupidest thing you can do. You will mobilize mercury in your mouth, and where is it going to go? Deeper into your digestive tract, and in a fully mobilized form? Although I understand that heavy metals may lie behind the symptoms identified by the naturopath whose "diagnosis" started this thread, I cannot support chelation therapy unless the mercury exposures have been reduced to an absolute minimum. That would entail removal of all amalgam fillings (using special methods to minimize mercury ingestion), along with concurrent chelation (to minimize the consequences of the amalgam removal procedures), prior to initiating a whole body chelation regime.

Chelation chemicals such as DMSA or EDTA do not only bind heavy metals. They are going to draw essential minerals out of your body (especially zinc, selenium, copper, and iron). Chelation therapy is not to be thought of as an innocent "toxin removal" process. It carries very clear risks to health, all on its own.

Another concern is that most mercury exposure is elemental mercury. I see in this thread anecdotal commentary about exposure to liquid mercury, which is probably benign, (or nearly so). Elemental mercury is not ionized (it has a nominal charge of zero), so it is largely unreactive.

Now, I must acknowledge that gut bacteria can ionize mercury (creating methyl or ethyl mercury), which are both of concern, but the biggest concerns are really due to methyl mercury from fish (in my opinion). But even that is not of any significant concern if the fish-eater's diet contains sufficient selenium. And in particular, I'm referring to selenium in a chemical structure analagous to the sulfhydryl/thiol/mercaptan structure, i.e. -SeH. That structure is found in selenium yeast, primarily as seleno-methionine or seleno-cysteine. And these each have substantially higher affinity for mercury than do the analogous sulphur structures.

Those specific structures can be thought of as sacrificial to methyl-mercury. The selenium and mercury react to form such a stable (i.e. non-reactive/ non-toxic) chemical compound, that it doesn't matter one bit that you have that specific mercury atom in your body. It's been neutralized, and rendered inert.

I could write a further essay from this point onwards, but I'm not wanting to be overwhelming in what I understand to be the truth. Rather, I would welcome questions, in hopes that I might cover the subject progressively.


P.S. I'm travelling in Europe for seven weeks beginning shortly, so if I disappear, it is temporary.




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