I had read somewhere that the symptoms of mercury poisoning were very like the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. At the risk of being called a hypochondriac, I spent some time reading up on the effects of mercury poisoning and the risks from amalgam tooth fillings. Strangely, I could relate to many of the symptoms both in terms of my multiple sclerosis and my possible irritable bowel syndrome.
Most people probably never give a thought to those silver fillings in their mouth. I certainly didn't for many years and I have rather a lot of them. Amalgam contains mercury, a heavy metal which is very toxic. Some of the facts can be worrying, if not daunting. For example, one amalgam filling contains enough mercury to poison all the fish in a good sized lake. The human body can flush out mercury, but not terribly well. Mercury is one of the few substance which are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and once in the brain the body cannot remove it by itself. More on this later.
The medical authorities in this country insist that amalgam is safe as the mercury is locked away and cannot leech out. Others disagree.
Even the BDA (British Dental Association) can contradict themselves. I quote an extract from the BDA fact file of November 1996: "Like most bio-materials, dental amalgam is not inert. Amalgam fillings release mercury vapour especially when teeth are chewed on or brushed. Some of the vapour is exhaled but some reaches the rest of the body through inhalation. Some also dissolves in saliva and is swallowed. The amount of mercury which reaches the rest of the body is very small, though related to the number of teeth with amalgam fillings."
*** Sign the petition to ban mercury amalgam fillings, it needs a LOT more names ***
The use of mercury amalgams have been banned or are on a scheduled phase-out in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden. A proposition passed in California in 1994 requires that a warning in dental offices using mercury amalgam stating that "the people of the state of California have determined that the use of mercury in dental amalgam causes birth defects and other health problems."
Further contradiction came when I consulted my dentist with a view to having all my amalgam fillings removed. I was advised against this, as drilling the amalgam to remove the fillings could release the mercury into my system. Ever since, if I have needed an amalgam filling removed the dentist uses a rubber dam to minimise the risk of me ingesting the mercury
Mercury Poisoning is, allegedly, linked to:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Alzheimer's disease
- Crohn's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Amongst many others.
What can you do? Firstly, you probably want to think about having the amalgam fillings removed and replaced either by white fillings or porcelain ones. Can be expensive as the latter are probably only available privately. I was advised against the wholesale removal of my amalgams, rather I should look to replace them progressively as needed. OK! so that removes the source of the problem, what about removing the mercury which may already be in your system? Chelation is a process whereby a drug is administered. This drug binds to the mercury and allows the body to excrete both the drug and the mercury from the body. There are a number of these chelating drugs all of which, to some degree or other, have dangers and side-effects. Some of the drugs cause the mercury to be excreted via the liver, others excrete the mercury via the kidneys. Very careful dosing and monitoring is needed to avoid damage to the liver or kidneys. The best drug appears to be DMSA (Dimercaptosuccinic Acid) which is administered orally and flushes mercury via the kidneys. DMSA can cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to mercury contained in that organ.
Hopefully, this has, at least, given you some food for thought. Do not believe anything I have said here without consulting your GP and/or dental surgeon. There is a great deal of discussion, often controversial, about amalgam and the dangers from mercury poisoning. Make up your own mind.
Another article I came across recently seems to share my suspicions of the link between mercury amalgams and multiple sclerosis. See Amalgam and MS for the full picture.
A very interesting article was published today (11th Dec 2005) in the Chicago Tribune by Julie Deardorff. Apparently, as far back as 1845, the American Academy of Dental Surgeons asked it's members to sign a pledge not to use amalgam fillings. The article that was linked to has been removed, so I include a new link to Julie Deardorff's Health Club.