Foundation #5 is all about limiting the absorption of toxins in the body. In my research in various journals, I came across a statement that sums up foundation five so beautifully that I have to add it in right here: Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt states that, “Most, if not all, chronic infectious diseases are not caused by a failure of the immune system, but are a conscious adaptation of the immune system to an otherwise lethal heavy metal environment.” This clarifies how we should strive to minimize toxins that burden our immune system and keep it from functioning properly. This week we are focusing on heavy metal toxicity, particularly mercury and how it accumulates in the body.
What is Mercury?
Mercury is a common chemical, used in multiple forms, including for medicinal and industrial use. Because of its widespread use, it pollutes the environment. Methyl mercury (MeHg) is the most common form found in our ecosystems. It is ranked third by the U.S. government agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, behind arsenic and lead. All three of these substances are continually dumped into our bodies of water and into the soil. They are spilled into the atmosphere and then consumed through our food, water, vapor, dental fillings, fossil fuel emissions, incandescent lights, batteries, commercial products, various medications, teething powders, analgesics, diaper treatments and vaccinations. As human industrial activity grows, the burden of mercury in the atmosphere is rising by 1.5 percent every year.
Primary Source of Mercury Toxicity in Humans
A primary source of dietary ingestion is consumption of contaminated fish, seafood, and wildlife that have bioaccumulated mercury. Children and fetuses are more susceptible to mercury toxicity. Since the fetal brain is more susceptible to toxicity, the FDA recommends pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as children, avoid fish with high mercury content. These fish include shark, king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, and tuna. Freshwater fish including pike, walleye, and muskellunge. Bass should be eaten in moderation.Mercury poisoning can result in death, mental retardation, dysarthria, blindness, neurological deficits, loss of hearing, developmental defects, and abnormal muscle tone. It bioaccumulates in the liver, renal cortex, and most commonly, the brain. The half-life of mercury in the brain can be 20 years. The body quickly removes mercury from the blood and distributes it to different tissues in the body. It is believed that the brain, spinal cord, and other nervous system components are where it is stored first, and tightly bound to. At the cellular level, it changes structure and damages DNA. It has been proven to disrupt the function of mitochondria. It also causes the release of free radicals.
Testing for Mercury Bioacuumulation
Mercury poisoning is associated with 250 symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. It causes all of these symptoms because of the numerous places in the body that mercury is stored. Mercury has been associated with accumulation of yeasts, bacteria, and molds in the body. When antibiotics are taken, these harboring agents can release dangerous levels of mercury into the body. A doctor can test you for mercury exposure, which typically includes a blood analysis and 24-hour urine analysis and urine challenge test with a “chelating agent,” hair analysis, and possibly a tissue biopsy, if ordered.
Be aware of the possibility of mercury poisoning, especially among pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children. Limit or eliminate consuming fish high in mercury concentrations. Heavy metal detoxification and chelation are ways to reduce heavy metals in the body. Make sure you are having regular bowel movements to eliminate heavy metals and other toxins in the body. Probiotics should be a regular part of your diet to improve gut health and help your body cleanse itself of toxins. This article is part of an ongoing series of articles based on the five foundations of health, written by Birmingham, Alabama, chiropractor Dr. John Palmer of Friends and Family Health Centers.