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The author relates his personal experience with mercury toxicity through dental amalgams and calls on pharmacists to watch out for the condition among their patients.
Symptoms of toxicity
I incurred infection easily. My joints ached. I didn't sleep well. A bruise lasted forever. I was retaining water, and my ankles were swollen. I developed a never-ending cough. CXR revealed a small lesion in my upper right lung. I was having balance problems. Tremors appeared in one hand, then both. By this time, my physician made the diagnosis of heavy metal mercury toxicity and verified it with urinalysis. He had suggested I take a urinary heavy metal test after he noticed all the "silver" in my teeth. Some people may have a "normal level" of 3 mcg Hg/gm of creatinine or less in urinary excretion, while I maintained a hefty toxic 21 mcg Hg/gm of creatinine!
The three amalgams in my mouth (two large molars and one small) had to come out. I called my dentist and he agreed to replace my fillings immediately. However, he believed my problem to be diet-induced and suggested a sharp reduction in my consumption of fish and shellfish. I told him that my wife and I have shared the same food for 25 years, but she is unaffected by mercury. I said I believed my silver mercury fillings were to blame. The following Monday, the dentist removed my small molar filling and replaced it with nontoxic materials. I was scheduled for removal of the remaining fillings eight days later. For me, it was too long a wait. I contacted another dentist who agreed to treat me the next day. Both molars were replaced the following morning.
Remedies for this condition
Previous to this, my physician had recommended an IV containing a heavy dose of vitamin C to serve as an antioxidant, which I received. That same day, I had my physician's prescription for DMSA (meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid) chelation filled at a local compounding pharmacy. DMSA acts as a binding agent to the mercury and draws it out of the tissues for excretion into the urine or feces.
But chelation is not without problems. My regimen was to be one capsule of DMSA containing 150 mg of active ingredient (based upon my body weight) taken three times daily with food for three days, then off 11 days. This was repeated for five cycles, which made me eligible for another urinary test for mercury. During the first day, I incurred only slight stomach problems, but some of my joints were uncomfortable. My liver and kidneys became the most uncomfortable parts of my body, with nonspecific pain and irritation to both areas. Congestion filled my lungs and throat, and my coughing continued. I had a classic back ache for three to five days per cycle. But each successive cycle became less of a problem. Within two weeks, I lost 5 lb., probably because my kidneys improved efficacy with an overall drop of mercury content and water loss. I was back to a very fitting 34-inch waist.
My CXR was followed up with a CAT scan. I was also injected with contrast dye for a better picture of my lung problem. It was taken after my first cycle of drug therapy, and my cough was not that noticeable at the time. CAT results showed the problem to be resolved. That was good news. The following month, my dermatologist performed MOHS skin cancer surgery on me, which showed the biopsy had removed the cancer. Slowly my immune system is coming back, and I am feeling better with each passing day. After five rounds of chelation treatment, I learned via my last urinalysis that I am now within the normal range.