Heavy metal toxicity is a big problem for anyone, but certain heavy metals in the body, particularly mercury, pose extra problems for people with thyroid problems
Mercury is a known neurotoxin and can interfere with nearly every system in the body. Remember the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland? Hat makers in the 19th century were notoriously prone to “madness” because of their exposure to mercury in the process of their work.
Mercury can bind to the cells of the thyroid gland and interfere with their normal workings. It can also interfere with minerals necessary for the production of thyroid hormones and with the conversion of T3 hormone to T4.
It’s also thought to be involved with some autoimmune conditions, because there are two sides to mercury toxicity: the actual toxin in our bodies, and our bodies’ reaction to it.
In short: too much mercury can be the cause of a thyroid problem or exacerbate an existing condition.
Mercury exposure and testing
These days, most of our mercury exposure comes from two sources: old, amalgam fillings, which contain the heavy metal, and fish. A hair mineral analysis test is a simple test you can order to determine if your mercury levels may be high. But be aware that in our modern society, almost everyone will test positive for some mercury contamination—even babies.
If you do test high for mercury, limiting your exposure is your first course of action. You can easily limit the amount of fish, especially large, predator fish, you eat, but what about those shiny silver fillings? Can you just go to the dentist and have those removed?
Not so fast! I learned the hard way that there’s a right way and a wrong way to have those old fillings replaced.
When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, my doctor encouraged me to have my amalgam fillings removed. He had tested my mercury levels through a provoked mercury urine challenge using DMPS, which binds to mercury in the tissues. Through this test, we saw that my mercury levels were sky high, so the doctor recommended chelation.
Now, at the time, I was new to this health game and overwhelmed by all the research and information out there. My gut said not to do the chelation but my doctor continued to convince me it would be safe for me. I waited…and since my husband was also showing high levels of mercury and was comfortable doing the chelation, I let him go first. He seemed to take to chelation fine with one highly symptomatic episode. The doctor explained that away and continued to encourage me to do the chelation.
So after more research, getting second medical opinions and speaking with my husband, I went through IV chelation. WHAT A MISTAKE! What my doctor missed was that my liver was sluggish so my detox pathways weren’t open. The mercury was indeed being drawn out of the tissues, but because my body wasn’t detoxing properly, mercury was now floating around my bloodstream wreaking all sorts of havoc…and what’s worse, my antibody count skyrocketed!
Flash forward several months and my doctor said that I should at least get my fillings removed. He referred us to a biological dentist who unfortunately, charged an astronomical rate. When we came back and let him know we couldn’t afford that particular dentist, he said it would be all right to see our usual dentist. ANOTHER MISTAKE!
Our dentist didn’t do much to protect us from inhaling or ingesting little particles of mercury from our fillings. In fact, when I got back into the car after having my fillings swapped out, I saw silver particles all over my teeth. I honestly freaked out and started cleaning my gums and teeth immediately. The next several weeks, I felt awful, so I went back in and had my antibodies tested again and wouldn’t you know, they had gone even higher.
While I believe it is important to get amalgam fillings removed, let my story be a cautionary tale. Removal of fillings or mercury chelation must be done in a conscious, informed and safe way.
The right way to deal with mercury fillings
If I were to be able to do it over again, this is what I would do:
- Make sure detox pathways are clear before removing mercury, going through chelation, or doing any sort of detox. That means cleaning up your diet and eliminating any allergic or inflammatory foods.
- Detox the liver with a coffee enema and get the right supplemental support. Selenium is an important mineral that can help balance out mercury toxicity.
- Go to a biological dentist who preps the body before replacing mercury fillings and does a light, natural chelation after removal. (Even if you have to save up for it!)
- Use other detox methods, including saunas and massage, to help the body process out any remaining mercury.
If you are pregnant or if your detox pathways are sluggish, now is not the time to get those fillings removed! The risk of exposure to mercury is actually higher when you’re having the fillings taken out due to particulates and mercury gas that’s released as the dentist works. That’s why it’s so important to find a biological dentist who will take your whole body into consideration as part of his process—not just look at your teeth.
Have you had your amalgam fillings replaced? Has mercury been an issue for you in your diagnosis? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.