|Amino Acid / Protein|| Cysteine / N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)
| ||The ability of NAC to enhance methylmercury excretion when given orally, its relatively low toxicity, and its wide availability in the clinical setting indicate that it may be an ideal therapeutic agent for use in methylmercury poisoning. [Environ Health Perspectives, 1998, 106(5): pp.267-71] Earlier concerns over NAC causing mercury to accumulate in the brain and kidneys, as can occur with L-cysteine, now appear to be unfounded. The initial concerns were opinions only, based on L-cysteine research, not NAC research. Still, some clinicians feel that symptom worsening occurs with the use of large doses of NAC (over 300mg per day), especially if they already have elevated levels of L-cysteine. If L-cysteine levels are elevated, cystiene containing products like protein powders should be avoided.|
| ||One of the body's normal mechanisms for dealing with heavy metals involves glutathione and normal levels of this protein should thus be ensured. The rate-limiting precursors are the amino acids cysteine (or N-acetyl-cysteine) and glutamine.|
Chlorella / Algae Products
| ||Using large doses of chlorella facilitates fecal mercury excretion. After the intestinal mercury burden is lowered by other means, mercury will more readily migrate into the intestine from other body tissues where chlorella will aid in its removal.|
In one study, when mice fed methylmercury were given chlorella, they excreted approximately twice the amount of mercury in their urine and feces as mice not treated with chlorella. The majority of mercury is removed through your stool.
Dental Metal Removal
| ||Dental amalgam removal is an important first step in reducing your ongoing exposure to mercury.|
Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance
High/Increased Fiber Diet
| ||Sodium alginate as well as other gel-forming fibers have been shown to inhibit heavy metal uptake in the gut.|
High/Increased Protein Diet
| ||See the link between Heavy Metal Toxicity and Increased / High Protein Diet. A low carbohydrate diet is recommended.|
Grain-free / Low Starch Diet
| ||See the link between Heavy Metal Toxicity and Increased / High Protein Diet.|
| ||Cilantro may help mobilize heavy metals from the brain and central nervous system.|
Increased Fish Consumption
| ||There is increasing concern over fish which are being found to contain significant levels of mercury. These potentially dangerous levels are coming from fish eating smaller fish - methyl mercury bio-accumulates over time. The large predator fish, such as swordfish/marlin, ahi (yellow fin tuna), king mackerel, shark (often sold as imitation crab), and tilefish have the highest accumulations because they are at the top of the food chain (well, almost!). Many people who consume significant amounts of these fish are showing very elevated levels of mercury in their hair. The FDA is currently recommending most other fish as safe for consumption at amounts of 1kg per week or less.|
Mercury enters the environment naturally and through industrial pollution. Cutting back on seafood is a way of cutting down on blood mercury levels, but the benefits of seafood, including omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, should be balanced against the mercury risk.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended reference dose, or level below which exposures are considered harmless, of mercury in the blood is 5.8 micrograms per liter. The average level of mercury in the women's blood in this particular study, was about one microgram per liter, well below the reference dose.
However, about 8% of the women had levels that above the reference dose. Further, women who ate at least three servings of fish during the 30 days prior to the study had mercury levels of close to two micrograms per liter - four times higher than those of women who did not eat fish.
Adult women had three times higher blood mercury levels than children, partly because adults tend to eat more fish than children, according to researchers.
Fish such as haddock, tilapia, salmon, cod, pollock and sole, as well as most shellfish tend to be relatively low in methylmercury, according to researchers. [JAMA April 2, 2003;289: pp.1667-1674]
Test Hair Analysis
| ||Hair analysis is a reasonable and inexpensive first step toward diagnosing heavy metal toxicity.|
Test for Heavy Metals
| ||Selenium is able to combine with metals such as cadmium and mercury to reduce their toxicity.|
| ||Molybdenum may be useful in the treatment of certain cardiovascular conditions, asthma, allergies and mercury toxicity.|
| ||Mobilization AND excretion are required for mercury detoxification. Consuming foods high in sulfur such as garlic, onions, beans, and eggs or supplemental sulfur in the form of MSM can help move mercury around but it is only bound loosely and caution is advised. There have been reported cases of reversible cataract development from individuals mobilizing mercury without excreting it. Consult a qualified doctor for a detoxification protocol appropriate for you.|
Alpha Lipoic Acid
| ||Sources of sulfur such as alpha lipoic acid, MSM and garlic are helpful for protection against heavy metals in general and specifically useful in mercury toxicity. Alpha lipoic acid should not be used alone, as it only mobilizes mercury with a weak bond. Without additional chelators present, such as DMPS or DMSA, the mercury may just redistribute elsewhere in the body instead of being removed.|| |
Acute: An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.
Alzheimer's Disease: A progressive disease of the middle-aged and elderly, characterized by loss of function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain, leading to loss of mental functions such as memory and learning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.
Angina: Angina pectoris. Severe, restricting chest pain with sensations of suffocation caused by temporary reduction of oxygen to the heart muscle through narrowed diseased coronary arteries.
Anorexia Nervosa: An eating disorder characterized by excess control - a morbid fear of obesity leads the sufferer to try and limit or reduce their weight by excessive dieting, exercising, vomiting, purging and use of diuretics. Sufferers are typically more than 15% below the average weight for their height/sex/age and typically have amenorrhea (if female) or low libido (if male). 1-2% of female teenagers are anorexic.
Cholesterol: A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Chronic: Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
Chronic Renal Failure: (CRF) Irreversible, progressive impaired kidney function. The early stage, when the kidneys no longer function properly but do not yet require dialysis, is known as Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRI). CRI can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms are not usually apparent until kidney disease has progressed significantly. Common symptoms include a frequent need to urinate and swelling, as well as possible anemia, fatigue, weakness, headaches and loss of appetite. As the disease progresses, other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bad breath and itchy skin may develop as toxic metabolites, normally filtered out of the blood by the kidneys, build up to harmful levels. Over time (up to 10 or 20 years), CRF generally progresses from CRI to End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD, also known as Kidney Failure). Patients with ESRD no longer have kidney function adequate to sustain life and require dialysis or kidney transplantation. Without proper treatment, ESRD is fatal.
Copper: An essential mineral that is a component of several important enzymes in the body and is essential to good health. Copper is found in all body tissues. Copper deficiency leads to a variety of abnormalities, including anemia, skeletal defects, degeneration of the nervous system, reproductive failure, pronounced cardiovascular lesions, elevated blood cholesterol, impaired immunity and defects in the pigmentation and structure of hair. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin. It is also involved with vitamin C in the formation of collagen and the proper functioning in central nervous system. More than a dozen enzymes have been found to contain copper. The best studied are superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome C oxidase, catalase, dopamine hydroxylase, uricase, tryptophan dioxygenase, lecithinase and other monoamine and diamine oxidases.
Ganglion: A group of nerve cell bodies clustered together in a uniform mass outside of but often close to the brain or spinal chord. Nerves run to or from the ganglia in passage to or from the brain to specific sites on the body.
Glucose: A sugar that is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as blood sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates in foods into glucose, which serves as the primary fuel for the muscles and the brain.
Hyperthyroidism: An abnormal condition of the thyroid gland resulting in excessive secretion of thyroid hormones characterized by an increased metabolism and weight loss.
Hypoglycemia: A condition characterized by an abnormally low blood glucose level. Severe hypoglycemia is rare and dangerous. It can be caused by medications such as insulin (diabetics are prone to hypoglycemia), severe physical exhaustion, and some illnesses.
Idiopathic: Arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause.
Lymph Nodes: Small, bean-shaped nodes at various points throughout the body that function to filter the lymph fluid and attempt to destroy the microorganisms and abnormal cells which collect there. The most common locations are the neck (both sides and front), armpit and groin, but also under the jaw and behind the ears. Swollen or painful lymph nodes generally result from localized or systemic infection, abscess formation, or malignancy. Other causes of enlarged lymph nodes are extremely rare. Physical examination for lymph nodes includes pressing on them to check for size, texture, warmth, tenderness and mobility. Most lymph nodes can not be felt until they become swollen, and then will only be tender when pressed or massaged. A lymph node that is painful even without touching indicates greater swelling. Lymph nodes can usually be distinguished from other growths because they generally feel small, smooth, round or oval-shaped and somewhat mobile when attempts are made to push them sideways. Because less fat covers the lymph nodes in children, they are easier to feel, even when they are not busy filtering germs or making antibodies. Children’s nodes enlarge faster, get bigger in response to an infection and stay swollen longer than an adult's.
Lymphocyte: A type of white blood cell found in lymph, blood, and other specialized tissue such as bone marrow and tonsils, constituting between 22 and 28 percent of all white blood cells in the blood of a normal adult human being. B- and T-lymphocytes are crucial components of the immune system. The B-lymphocytes are primarily responsible for antibody production. The T-lymphocytes are involved in the direct attack against living organisms. The helper T-lymphocyte, a subtype, is the main cell infected and destroyed by the AIDS virus.
Metabolism: The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.
Milligram: (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.