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MERCURY and DMSA
by James Roberts, MD, FACC
DMSA (Dimercaptosuccinic acid) is a water-soluble di-sulfhydryl group bearing compound that binds tightly to Mercury, and then removes it from the body, via the urine and feces. Mercury binds to single sulfhydryl groups on intracellular enzymes and DNA, poisoning them. Mercury is also the most potent free radical catalyst that we are aware of, and Mercury wastes Selenium, our most important nutritional mineral. DMSA, which contains two sulfhydryl groups, forms a double-strength bond with Mercury, and actually plucks Mercury off intracellular structures, depoisoning them. Mercury toxicity in humans begins with occupational, environmental, dental amalgam and contaminated fish Mercury exposure. Mother Nature did not foresee that we would be exposed to Mercury in the late 20th Century. Consequently we humans do not have an effective, innate mechanism to neutralize mercury or clear it from the body; all we can do with Mercury is to store it within our cells as metabolic garbage. When we are young and healthy we can usually tolerate a limited Mercury burden, but as our intracellular Mercury levels build up with ongoing exposure, and our immune system and antioxidant defense systems deteriorate with ageing, then the Mercury spills out of its intracellular garbage bin to destroy us. Mercury buildup has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cardiomyopathy, and an alphabet soup list of neurological disease states, beginning with Autism and ending with Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have Mercury Amalgam dental fillings, then as you are reading this essay you are increasing your Mercury burden. Amalgam fillings are constantly off gassing Mercury vapor, 80% of which is absorbed across the lungs and into the blood stream. From there this fat-soluble, uncharged Mercury vapor easily diffuses across our fat-soluble cell membranes and into the cells of our body (Mercury’s favorite targets are the brain, pituitary gland, and the kidneys), where it is promptly converted into non-fat soluble, ionic Mercury. This charged, ionic Mercury cannot diffuse back out of the cell, across the cell membrane, and back into the circulation. Thus Mercury that originates in amalgam fillings (and from other sources) becomes “locked in” within the cells of our body, and this “locked in” ionic Mercury then binds in a nearly irreversible manner to intracellular proteins, enzymes, and DNA, destroying them. Without some form of external help, our system cannot rid the body of intracellular Mercury (the half-life of Mercury in the nervous system, the period of time it takes for ½ of a Mercury burden to leave your brain cells, is estimated at 20 years). The 20 year rule would apply, or course, only if ongoing exposure is halted, but that’s not the case if you have Mercury amalgam fillings, or if you eat fish contaminated by Mercury, and here we have another problem.
When we burn coal to generate electricity, Mercury within the coal is vaporized out into the atmosphere, only to return to the ground water in the form of “acid rain”. This Mercury is not biodegradable; instead it will leach out into our waterways, and settle out on the bottom. Plankton will ingest the Mercury, and attach a methyl group to it, forming Methyl Mercury, which like amalgam Mercury is fat soluble, so it readily enters cells and binds to intracellular proteins. Small fish will eat the plankton, retaining the Mercury; the small fish will be consumed by larger fish, and in this process none of the Mercury is lost. The end result is that the large Ocean fish, the ones we see on the dinner table such as Tuna, Swordfish, and Shark (fast-food fish is often Shark) will be loaded with Mercury. The situation is even worse with fresh water fish. Go out and obtain a fishing license; the license bureau will tell you which rivers and streams in your area have been closed to fishing due to Mercury contamination – this is scary. It’s scary for us, but it’s even scarier for our kids and our unborn kids. 8% of American women of childbearing age have dangerously high levels of Mercury in their blood (which directly reflects Methyl Mercury intake from fish). To make matters worse, the Mercury vapor that you inhale from your amalgam fillings passes directly through the placenta. It is a sad fact that brain Mercury levels in infants, small children, and unborn children correlate directly with the number of amalgam fillings their Mother bears. Amalgam Mercury also readily crosses over to the infant in the Mother’s breast milk. While Mercury is toxic to all of us, it is especially damaging to the developing nervous system of our children. Vaccines, up until recently, contained Ethyl Mercury as a preservative; this Ethyl Mercury, just like Methyl Mercury form fish, easily passes across cell membranes and into the brain cells. I could go on and on here, but I think I’ve made my point. Mercury exposure is essentially impossible to avoid in our society, and even if you take steps now to reduce your level of exposure, what are you going to do about the Mercury that is already residing within the cells of your body, and what are you going to do about the ongoing exposure to Mercury that you simply cannot avoid? The key here is to fight back, to begin now on a program of Mercury detoxification. Here’s what you can do:
a) Take in antioxidant vitamin - Mercury produces free radical stress, so neutralize this free radical stress with antioxidants. We include Vitamin C in Rejuvetate Life, but taking in additional antioxidants makes sense.
b) Take in minerals – Mercury displaces nutritional metals from their binding sites on intracellular proteins, and Mercury directly wastes Selenium, our most important intracellular nutritional metal, so begin a broad spectrum mineral supplement (In middle-aged men, supplementation with 200 mcg/day of Selenium decreases Prostate cancer risk by 65% over 6 years; obviously Selenium is important and obviously something is wasting Selenium from our bodies).
c) Take in milk whey protein – Glutathione, a critical intracellular antioxidant, is lost as the body attempts to neutralize intracellular Mercury. All Mercury overloaded individuals will thus be Glutathione deficient. Glutathione is poorly absorbed orally, but its amino acid building blocks, which are found in high concentration in milk whey protein, are well absorbed. Milk whey protein is inexpensive and readily available in health food stores. Mix one scoop, around 30 grams, with fruit or yogurt or make up a smoothie – concoct yourself a delicious way to combat Mercury.
d) Add a Mercury binding agent to your personal health promoting program – we designed The Rejuvetate Life System to fill this important need – to get rid of Mercury (along with Cadmium, Lead, and other toxic metals) before it gets rid of you, or harms your yet-to-be-conceived children.
I hate Mercury – when I test my cardiology patients for Mercury I find it – when pediatricians test Autistic children for Mercury they find it – when epidemiologists look for a link between environmental toxins and neurological states such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease guess what they find – yes they find Mercury. Mercury has most certainly already found you, but you don’t have to let it limit your life. Learn more about Mercury and then begin to fight back – now you know how.