Menacing Mercury

Mercury is among the most toxic elements known. It is also the most common heavy metal on the earth today.

by Dr. Larry Wilson — 

Mercury is among the most toxic elements known. It is also the most common heavy metal on the earth today. One could easily write a book about its sources and its many toxic effects. Here, let us introduce the subject, followed by a brief discussion of how to reduce mercury exposure and remove it from our bodies.

Sources of mercury

Medications — Mercury is found in many prescription and over-the-counter remedies, including vaccines. These may contain thimerosal, a mercury compound often used as a preservative that can seriously affect young children and newborns, who have less ability to remove mercury from their bodies.

Thiazide diuretics contain mercury and are used to lower high blood pressure. Other classes of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that may contain mercury include antiseptics, anti-fungal preparations, soaps, optical preparations such as contact lens solutions and others. Mercury is used because it is an excellent germ killer.

Dental materials — Studies demonstrate that each time one bites down on a mercury filling, some mercury vapor, the most dangerous form of mercury, escapes. While each release is very slight, the process occurs thousands of times each day. The vapors can quickly travel directly to the brain, an organ easily damaged by mercury.

The word “quack” originally referred to doctors and dentists who advocated mercury amalgams. It came from the word “quacksalver,” which is German for mercury. When amalgams were introduced over 100 years ago, most medical professionals, as well as the AMA and ADA, rejected them as too dangerous. However, those wanting cheap, quick fillings that did not become infected used them anyway. Mercury dentists and doctors were nicknamed “quacks” by more respectable physicians. Eventually, the amalgams were accepted by the AMA and ADA. Let’s hope these groups return to their original stance on mercury fillings.

Large fish and shellfish — In addition to drugs and amalgam fillings, the major sources of mercury exposure for most people are seafoods. In particular, large fish that eat smaller fish have concentrated mercury up to one million times in their body fat and other tissues. Tuna is the most common source. However, all fish are somewhat contaminated.

Shellfish, including clams, mussels, oysters, lobster and shrimp, tend to contain excessive mercury and may also contain other toxic metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and even radioactive waste. This makes them basically unfit for human consumption today.

Other sources — Many industries use mercury because it is inexpensive and has many excellent properties as a fungicide, is an excellent electrical conductor and more. These industries include electronics, gold mining and the manufacture of paper, chlorine, adhesives, fabric softeners and waxes.

Among the hundreds of other common sources of mercury are bleached flour, a few Chinese herbs, cleaners (including Ajax, Lysol, Comet, Derma Scrub, Dove Soap and Ivory Liquid), some bleaches, some cosmetics, dyes, paints, inks, embalming fluid, engraving supplies, exhaust fumes, fabric softeners, feeding tubes, felt, fertilizers and many more. For a complete list, see

As a result of this exposure, most children today are born with excessive mercury in their bodies. Vaccines add much more, with predictable results. Mercury easily passes through the placenta so that each generation today is more contaminated than the previous one. Congenital mercury can be reduced if women make an effort to reduce their mercury levels before becoming pregnant.


Liquid mercury

Hundreds of symptoms may result from chronic mercury toxicity. The organ most affected is often the brain, and children suffer the most from many mercury-related disorders. Mercury may be a factor in rising birth defect rates, autism and developmental delays, ADHD and other learning disorders, anxieties, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, panic attacks, neuroses and paresthesias. A medical colleague reports that every case of multiple sclerosis he has seen has involved mercury.

The “mad hatters” of the Alice in Wonderland story were real people who worked in the hat industry in the 19th century. Many became mentally ill due to their rubbing mercury on felt or hides to soften them.

Mercury-associated conditions include adrenal gland dysfunction, alopecia, anorexia, ataxia, blushing, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hearing loss, hyperactivity, immune system dysfunction, insomnia, kidney damage, limb pain, loss of self-control, memory loss, mood swings, nervousness, numbness and tingling, rashes, excessive salivation, schizophrenia, thyroid dysfunction, timidity, tremors, peripheral vision loss and muscle weakness.

Symptoms may be ill-defined because the exact location and the amount of mercury vary with each individual. Metal toxicity is unlike many infections that have well-defined symptom presentations.


Chronic mercury toxicity does not receive more attention because it is difficult to detect. Simple blood or urine tests are practically useless, because the body quickly removes mercury from the blood. It often settles deep in the tissues of the brain, kidneys and liver.

Urine or feces challenge tests — These are common methods for detecting chronic mercury. A high dose of DMPS, an unsafe chelating drug, is often administered. The urine is then collected for 24 hours and analyzed for mercury. The test is almost always “positive.” This may be because mercury is high in many sick people. However, the lab and doctor must be careful not to confuse “normal” mercury with mercury produced by a challenge test.

Another problem with this test is that it misses a lot of mercury. The drug does not penetrate the blood-brain barrier very well, so it can miss this key organ where mercury accumulates.

Hair tissue biopsy — Mercury does not accumulate in large quantities in the hair. In my experience, the hair mineral test provides indicators of “hidden mercury” that are relatively reliable. These include an elevated copper level, hidden copper toxicity, low zinc level or indicators for hidden zinc deficiency. Also, elevated levels of cadmium, arsenic or aluminum often indicate the presence of hidden mercury. It will only be revealed in the future in the hair or via other tests as it is eliminated from the body.

Using these assessment methods, most people have excess mercury today. This is no surprise. Mercury appears to be a factor in most chronic health problems, especially for those who were vaccinated, those who eat fish at least twice weekly or who have had dental amalgams.

Reducing exposure

To reduce mercury exposure, completely avoid tuna and all fish caught in coastal waters. Other fish known to be high in mercury include most sea bass, marlin, all sharks, halibut, pike, walleye pike, swordfish and largemouth bass. Also, it is best to avoid slightly less contaminated fish such as mahi mahi, cod, pollack, salmon from the Great Lakes, channel catfish (wild) and lake whitefish.

Fish that are considered somewhat safer include farmed trout and catfish, summer flounder, European sardines, wild Pacific salmon, croaker, haddock and fish sticks. Beware of farmed fish, though, as the quality varies tremendously.

I cannot recommend eating even small fish more than once or twice weekly. Anyone who is ill should eat even less, although they are an excellent source of nutrients such as omega-3 oils. The nutrients fish offer can be obtained, however, from fish oil preparations that have been cleansed of mercury and other toxic substances. Avoid all shellfish, even though they are tempting.

Also avoid vaccines, including flu shots, in spite of the cultural admonition to get them.

Tap water is likely contaminated with mercury and many other chemicals. The only drinking waters I recommend are distilled water, spring waters and filtered water. Carbon filters, however, will not remove much mercury. Carbon block filters are only slightly better.

Dental amalgams should be replaced by a dentist who can do the job without vaporizing too much mercury in your mouth. This is costly, so it can be done in stages. All the above are simple steps you can take to limit mercury exposure.

Reducing your mercury level

A discussion of how to rid the body of mercury could fill a book. The method of nutritional balancing science I use is available at It is not specific for mercury, because in most instances, mercury is just one of a dozen toxic metals and hundreds of toxic chemicals that plague us. The basics of mercury detoxification include:

1. Get lots of rest and sleep. This is critical. Detoxification always takes energy.

2. Eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. These nutritional factors help the body remove mercury through the liver, bowel and kidneys, in particular.

3. Limit intake of fruit or other sweet items, including fruit juices and honey. Sweets, especially for children, tend to unbalance the body chemistry severely, which hampers detoxification. Unfortunately, many children eat so many sweets that it can halt mercury elimination.

4. Increase adaptive energy. This greatly enhances the body’s ability to excrete all toxic substances. Nutritional balancing science increases energy production by balancing electrolyte levels as they present on a properly performed hair mineral analysis.

5. Activate the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is an excellent eliminative route for mercury. The best way I have found to enhance skin elimination is the daily use of an infrared light sauna for several years. After this, one should only use a sauna daily several times a week, as one can overdo any therapy.

Saunas deserve special mention, because they are not part of routine medical care. However, they are highly effective, very safe if used properly, extremely cost-effective and a comfortable therapy for most people. We do not recommend them for children under 4 or 5, however, because children can dehydrate faster than adults. For details, read Sauna Therapy by this author or work with a professional trained in sauna use.

6. Balance the autonomic nervous system. Most people overuse their sympathetic or fight-or-flight nervous system. This powerfully inhibits the activity of the eliminative organs such as the liver, kidneys, bowel and skin. Many simple methods can reduce sympathetic activity, primarily saunas, meditation, relaxation, biofeedback, prayer, massage and some types of bodywork.

7. Strengthen the eliminative organs. An excellent diet, extra nutrients, herbs, reflexology and other natural methods can help restore the activity of the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and intestines. Once again, the sauna excels in this area by dramatically improving circulation and decongesting the liver and kidneys.

8. Add antagonists and chelators to your supplements. I also use mercury antagonist supplements, such as zinc, chromium, manganese and selenium, in which our diets are often deficient. Chelating agents are also helpful, including vitamin C, selenium, zinc, molybdenum and sulfur-bearing amino acids such as L-taurine and L-cysteine. Cilantro and chlorella are useful, when used judiciously. For instance, I am careful not to unbalance the electrolytes on a hair mineral test with foods or supplementary nutrients. Overuse of supplements occurs often, which adds stress to the body instead of reducing it.

Many physicians use chelating drugs such as the sodium salt of 2,3-dimercapto-1-propane sulfonic acid (DMPS) and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). DMPS, a widely used chelating drug that is not approved by the FDA, is considered experimental. These help some people, but I do not recommend them, as they also remove beneficial minerals and dislodge mercury from relatively benign storage sites, such as fatty tissues.

Sometimes the body cannot quickly eliminate mercury and will redeposit it in vital organs such as the brain or liver. Excellent nutrition and plenty of rest can minimize the problem, although these solutions are often overlooked. I recommend intravenous or other chelating drug regimens only in severe cases of multiple sclerosis or after nutritional balancing has been tried and failed. Usually, the drugs are unneeded and carry some risk.

Mercury is with us. Everyone needs to be aware of it and take at least basic preventive steps to reduce it in their bodies, and in those of the next generation as well. By combining the eight simple practices mentioned above, we can easily release mercury from our bodies in a safe and controlled manner.


Casdorph, H.R. and Walker, M., Toxic Metal Syndrome, Avery Publishing, New York, NY, 1995.

Dental Truth, published by DAMS International, St. Paul, Minn., (800) 311-6265.

Droesti, I.E. and Smith, R., Neurobiology of the Trace Elements, Vol II, Neurotoxicology and Neuropharmacology, Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 1983.

Huggins, H., It’s All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Fillings and Your Health, Avery Publishing, New York, NY, 1993.

Pfeiffer, C., Mental and Elemental Nutrients, Keats Publishing, Ct., 1972.

Schroeder, H.A., The Trace Elements and Man, Devin-Adair Company, Old Greenwich, Conn., 1973.

Wilson, L. and Eck, P., Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease, Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd., Phoenix, Ariz., 1989.

Wilson, L. Sauna Therapy, LD Wilson Consultants, Phoenix, Ariz., 2006. — A long list of mercury sources. Topics/mercury.html — This site claims to be an anti-quackery Web site and presents a positive view of dental amalgams very well. — A site about problems with DMPS and DMSA. — The International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine.


Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for more than 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 6, December 2007/January 2008.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Web Analytics