How mercury affects our health.

How mercury affects our health.

Over the years we have burned a lot of coal. This releases mercury into the environment. It falls to the Earth and settles in water systems like the bottom of lakes and enters the oceans. It becomes concentrated in large, top of the feed chain fish such as tuna and king mackerel.


After plutonium mercury is the most toxic element in the World. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that silver amalgam fillings be no longer given to children and pregnant women. The World Health Organisation list mercury in their top ten ‘poisons of concern’. So why is it OK for the rest of us to be exposed through food and fillings?

The fillings are called silver because of their colour. They are in fact made up of 40-50% mercury. They release mercury into the body. This is made worse when they are casually drilled out.

Some patients have poor genes for detoxification so become sick more easily when exposed to the metal. It is a potent neurotoxin. It contributes to chronic fatigue syndrome, ADD, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. The immune system is either made under or over active. This results in increased risk for infection or autoimmune disease. Kidney function, mood, memory, sleep and co-ordination can also be affected.

The Mad Hatter.

The character the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland is a case in point. Hatters used to use mercury nitrate to make felt out of fur. The use of this metal often left them unhinged. This was well recognised in the 19th century. There is virtually no assessment of toxic metals when patients present with mental illness.

For some patient struggling to lose weight it can be a significant obesogenic factor. Mercury can be passed from mother to child through the womb and breast milk. The foetus is particularly vulnerable.

In Functional Medicine we do not consider any amount of mercury to be normal. This is despite mercury contamination becoming common due to pollution. There are other heavy metals that we commonly see notably lead. These can be addressed with a Functional Medicine approach and leave the patient feeling a lot better.

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