Testing For Mercury & Other Heavy Metals
The following strategy suggests ways to test for mercury and other heavy metals such as Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, Tin, Barium, and Nickel. Mercury tends to be the biggest problem, since there is a great deal of it in fish and dental amalgam -- both of which are ingested. If mercury is found, please click here for comments on how to detoxify. Please do at least Steps #1 through #5 below. If all are negative, it is likely you do not have a heavy metal issue. For details on CFS/FMS medical tests, please click here. For information on how to locate a CFS/FMS Doc, click here.
How many CFS cases are caused by heavy metals?
Dr. Ali, a famous CFS/FMS doctor found excess heavy metals in about 25% of his CFS cases. It is possible that more where affected by heavy metals since the tests that Ali ran would not have seen all cases, since the metal molecules can stick to the inside of cells and not show up in urine or blood. Liver and Colon biopsy testing for heavy metals would be one way to measure levels of metals stuck-in-cells, yet Docs are hesitant to do invasive tests after seeing no metal in urine. It is well understood that heavy metals can definitely cause fatigue by binding to the internal biochemistry and inactivating internal processes. A study to look at heavy metals in biopsies, and compare this with other heavy metal tests would be very helpful at assessing how many cfs patients are affected by metals, and how many cases are the hard to see stuck-in-cell variety. For more comments on this research concept, please click here.
Organic And Inorganic Mercury
There are two kinds of mercury. The simple one atom (Hg is the chemical symbol) mercury is called "Inorganic Mercury". The other type of mercury is called "Organic Mercury". The Organic mercury is more dangerous since it can easily penetrate cell walls, is easily absorbed in fatty tissues, and is easily absorbed into nerve and brain cells. For this reason, some feel Organic mercury is 100 times more dangerous than Inorganic mercury. The word "organic" refers to something that connects well to life.
The Organic Mercury is a mercury atom attached to a CH3 molecule (carbon + 2 hydrogen atoms). CH3 is called a "methyl group". The mercury from fish is Organic mercury and it's chemical symbol is CH3HgCH3. Another kind of Organic mercury is one that is produced in the body by mixing Thiolmethyl Transferase (an enzyme, abbreviated THT), H2S (gas fermented in gut), a methyl donor (someone who donates CH3) to get CH3SH; and then the CH3SH mixes with Inorganic Mercury (Hg) to get CH3SHgSH3C, which is a form of Inorganic mercury. The THT enzyme steps is actually needed to detoxify the poisonous H2S gas to get it out of the body. When the Hg picks up the CH3 to become Organic, it is said to have been "methylated". In this example, the H2S gut gas "methylated" the mercury. Mercury in the body is usually "methylated" in the colon, since that is where it picks up the chemistry to do it. And, since the H2S originates from bad gut bacteria or fungi, one could say that these indirectly methylate mercury -- just one more another reason to heal your gut. Also, it is possible that one can have inorganic mercury from amalgam in their body for many years without symptoms, and only get into trouble when their gut starts to produce H2S gas from bad bacteria or fungi, and subsequently starts to methylate the Hg into the CH3 Organic form of mercury.
Other Heavy Metals
Other heavy metals such as Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Tin, Barium, and Nickel are extremely dangerous if not more dangerous than mercury; subsequently it is recommended that one test for all heavy metals when they do the DMSA challenge and the Hair Analysis tests. One may think they don't have arsenic, for example, because that was in a movie based on a play and it is unlikely someone fed them a poison. It turns out that Arsenic can be found in cigarettes, brake fluids, auto exhaust, diesel fumes, and paint. In fact, many heavy metals can be found in paint.
1) Read About Mercury & Heavy Metals
Click here to read about how Mercury can cause CFS/FMS. For more information on mercury, please see the below references. The first few are available online, and the others are books. The http://www.algonet.se/~leif site is the best online site. If you want to read just one book, the ABC book by Hanson is probably the best. If you need your amalgams removed, the Detox book by Ziff is excellent. The Störtebecker book is helpful if you want to read about other mercury cases.
Mercury Information On the Internet
Bo Walhjalt's Mercury Site
List of Many Mercury Resources
List of Many Medical Resources
List of Mercury Books
ABC's of Mercury Poisoning from Dental Amalgam Fillings
Handbook for victims of mercury poisoning by Mats Hanson, Ph.D.
Dental Mercury Detox by Sam Ziff, Michael F. Ziff, D.S. and Mats Hanson, Ph.D.
Chronic Fatigue - Poisoned By The Mercury In Your Mouth?
by Annika and John McClintock and Christer Malmström DDS
Defense Against Mystery Syndromes - Revealing the Mystery of ''Silver'' Fillings by Mary Davis with Shari Pacer, Annette Baudhuin, Murlene Brake
Mercury Poisoning from Dental Amalgam - A Hazard to Human Brain
by Patrick Störtebecker, M.D., Ph.D.
2) Do a Porphyrin Test
The best way to see mercury that was absorbed into the cells in the past is a Porphyrin Analysis test. This involves sending a urine sample to a lab. If Coproporphyria III is high, this indicates mercury had been there. For an example of such a test, please click here. For more information on these kinds of tests, please contact Mayo Medical Labs, TEL 800-533-1710. For Professor James Wood's evidence that Porphyrin Analysis can detect past mercury exposures, please click here REFERENCE #5. To get this test, you will need to work with a Doc that has an account with a lab that does this test (e.g. Mayo Medical Labs) and who is willing to run this test. Your local Doc may not be willing to do this unless you print out the Professor James Woods study and place it in front of your Doc and tell him you'll pay for it (most Doc's know nothing about all this). If your Doc does not work with you, it is recommended that you work through an Internet Doc that specializes in CFS/FMS. For a list of these, click here. Signs of high Copro II in severe cases would be: reddish colored urine, and pain one inch to the right of the belly button (ileocal value). The Porphyrin test will see both inorganic (Amalgam) and organic (Fish) mercury that is inside the liver cells. It will also show the levels of several enzymes used to manufacture blood. These enzymes can be disabled from things like Lead, Arsenic, Alcohol, Cadmium, Nickel, H2S (hydrogen sulfide), and other poisonous chemicals.
3) Do Dr.'s Data Inc Stool Test For Heavy Metals
This approximately $100 test requires an Rx from your Doc, and is purchased from Dr.'s Data Inc. They send you a test kit, you take a stool sample, send the sample to the test lab, and then they send a report to your doctor. It measures the micrograms (ug) of heavy metals per kilogram (kg) of stool and shows how much metal you are exposed to on a daily basis. This test is helpful at seeing metals that are not seen in urine. An example of a metal that does not pass through liver and kidney is organic mercury.
4) Do a DMSA Challenge Test
This involves taking a drug called DMSA that binds to heavy metals that are then urinated out the body, collected, and metal levels are measured. This test involves taking 300mg to 1000mg of DMSA and collecting urine before and after the drug. Since the DMSA can damage the liver and/or kidneys if one has a great deal of metal in their body, it is recommended that one first take 50mg and wait 1 week and if it is well tolerated (i.e. not much pain), then take 250mg and wait a 1 week and if that is well tolerated, and then go to the 1000mg that is required for the test. The DMSA can pull mercury out of the tissues and cause acute porphyria (enzymes used to make blood become inhibited) for a couple of days, and this can lead to pain of the ileocal value (one inch to right of belly button). The main danger with DMSA is it can cause a large chunk of heavy metal to hit the liver leading to liver impairments and possible damage. DMSA is a powerful drug and must be used with caution if one is heavily loaded with heavy metals. If you do the 50mg - 250mg - 1000mg safety protocol, you should be ok. This protocol is strongly recommended for those that are very ill.
The DMSA challenge test can easily see the mercury from amalgam (inorganic mercury), yet not fish (inorganic Hg). MetaMetrix Labs (www.metametrix.com) offers a DMSA challenge test. Also, Dr.'s Data Inc and http://www.gsdl.com/ offer tests that measure metals in urine, and these can be used with DMSA.
5) Check for Heavy Metals In Hair
A hair test shows metals that are excreted out of your hair follicle. This is good at seeing organic mercury (e.g. from fish or amalgam mercury plus CH3) since the organic CH3 brand of mercury enter the hair follicle nicely. For an example of such a test, please click here. For more information on these kinds of tests, click here. The Great Smokies Lab (they are in the Great Smokies mountains) sells a $60 hair tests to the general public without the need of a Doc -- for details, click here (this is a good deal). Dr's Data is another company that does hair tests yet requires an Rx. Keep in mind that you will only see excess mercury here if you had received your mercury within the last several months or so. If you see some mercury here (for example, you see >2ug/ml, when normal is <0.9ug/ml), then one might suspect that mercury is an issue. If you see <0.9ug/ml, then the probability that mercury is an issue is less, yet is still a possibility due to an exposure >6mths ago or an exposure from amalgam inorganic mercury without the presence of B12. Testing a hair sample when you first came down with your fatigue would be best. If you don't test your hair, yet recently contracted your fatigue, it is suggested that you capture a bunch of hair into a zip lock bag next time you get your hair cut, and label the bag with your name and date. Another similar test is to look for mercury in the nails. Hair testing is very easy. It involves cutting a little hair off the head and sending it to a lab.
Take a Break and Look At Your Data
If the above tests are negative, you probably do not have a heavy metal issue and should not continue . If you get a positive on all 3, you probably have a mercury issue. If Copro III is positive yet the stool and DMSA are negative, this would suggest that you have mercury, yet mostly Organic mercury (e.g. fish). Do you eat a lot of salt water fish, such as tuna and salmon? Careful.
Other Things that Indicates A Mercury Problem
Below is a list of things that indicate mercury is affecting one's internal biochemistry. Each of these is not conclusive, yet only indicative.
a) Liver Phase I Impairment
Mercury in the tissues often causes the liver to not detoxify the blood properly. One can see this in a Liver Detox Test (i.e. send a urine sample to a lab) where it shows the Phase I Caffeine Clearance as high if the effect from the mercury is not too severe and the liver is trying to rid the mercury from the body or low if the liver has become impaired due to the mercury (more severe situation).
b) Compromised Immunity System
Mercury compromises the immunity system, therefore, if immunity tests show this, it increases the likelihood that you have a mercury problem. To look for a compromised immunity system, one can:
i) Mercury causes the Neutrophils count to be low (number of Neutrophils cells in blood). This is included in a common CBC differential test.
ii) In a severe mercury case, lymphocyte function is suppressed; and in non-severe mercury cases, lymphocyte function is upregulated. This can be tested by www.immunoscience.com via their lymphocyte function test with 5 mitogen stimulants.
iii) Mercury causes T-Cell Autoreactivity (called "CD26" or "TA1") to increase. This can be tested by www.immunoscience.com.
iv) Mercury causes Neutrophils Function to be impaired. For details on how to test this, please see REFERENCE #1. This is a fairly obscure test and involves testing a blood sample several hours after taking it (i.e. you need to draw blood near the testing lab). Neutrophils is a part of the immunity system that fights fungi, and is inactivated with mercury as noted in REFERENCE #2. This test is only done by a few university labs, and is therefore very difficult to do.
v) Mercury impairs the body's ability to fight fungi, therefore, if one sees fungi, this increases the likelihood that you have a mercury problem. Checking for antibodies to fungi (e.g. 10 IgG and 10 IgE measured in blood), looking for fungi in a CDSA (i.e. stool sample), or trying an antifungal treatment for 45days are affective methods for looking for fungi. For details on battling fungi, click here.
c) High Lactic Acid or High Purytic Acid
In severe mercury cases, Lactic Acid and Purytic Acid are high, as seen in the Organic Acids Analysis. For an example Organic Acids test, click here.
Detoxify Mercury if Found
For information on how to detoxify mercury if it is found, please click here.
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