Have you heard that February is American Heart Month? Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. During the month of February, you will hear a lot about basic prevention tips and patient testimonials. However, one of the most ignored links to heart disease is heavy metal exposures, specifically mercury. Mercury toxicity is highly correlated with high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (1). Conventional medicine usually will only test for metals if there is an acute poisoning.
What is Mercury and Where Does It Come From?
You probably first heard of mercury in chemistry class when memorizing the periodic table. There are three types of mercury: elemental, inorganic and methylmercury (organic). Dental amalgams are the silver filling and the most common source of inorganic mercury toxicity. The methylmercury form is found in sea life, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, coal plants, etc. Our body can convert methylmercury to inorganic mercury and store it in our body (1). Mercury is lipophilic meaning it likes to concentrate in fatty tissues. Mercury can affect your organs especially your brain and heart. The average 154-pound person has a told body burden of 13mg of mercury (2).
- Dental Amalgams
- Freshwater Fish
- Mercury-Containing Vaccines -Thimerosal
- Natural Occurring
- Coal Plants
Eating Seafood Increases Risk of Heart Disease
Numerous studies have linked mercury with heart disease. A study in Finland linked cardiovascular disease and cardiac death with consumption of seafood containing mercury. The study accounted for many variables and analyzed hair mercury levels in men. The study found that men who consumed daily fish greater than or equal to 30g was associated with a 2.1 fold increase of having an acute heart attack and 2.4 fold increase in death related to heart disease when compared to those that ate less fish (2).
The American Heart Association published an article this month still promoting people to eat fish to keep the heart healthy. They recommended eating fish for eating better, cholesterol control, and for weight loss (3). I believe that eating fish on a regular basis could potentially cause a lot of harm within the body. Each time we are exposed to heavy metals, they have the ability to lodge and store in our body. Mercury increases our oxidative stress within the body. Glutathione is depleted with toxin exposures. Glutathione is the number one antioxidant within the body that is required to combat oxidative stress. Heavy metals and toxins damage our mitochondria which is our cells power house for generating energy. This can lead to premature cell death. Mercury has been shown to increase lipid peroxidation (1).
Highest Level of Mercury in Fish!
- Albacore Tuna
- Tile Fish
- King Mackerel
- The larger the fish the more mercury
What is your total body burden of mercury?
We feel that it is important to your overall health to know your total body burden of heavy metals for prevention. At Rivercreek Wellness we have the ability to test for heavy metals. We use laboratories that specialize in testing like Doctors Data and/or Genova Diagnostics. It involves two collections of urine, one before chelator and one post chelator. We prefer to prescribe an oral chelator for testing.
Removing possible sources is the first step. We usually recommend individualized chelation protocols for our patients. Reducing heavy metals takes time and does not usually occur with one treatment or round of chelation.
Disclaimer: This is article is not intended to diagnose or treat your medical condition. If you have any medical concerns please seek care from your physician.
1. Houston MC (2014) The Role of Mercury in Cardiovascular Disease. J Cardiovasc Dis Diagn 2: 170. doi:10.4172/2329-9517.1000170
2. Salonen JT, Seppänen K, Nyyssönen K, Korpela H, Kauhanen J, et al. (1995) Intake of mercury from sh, lipid peroxidation, and the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary, cardiovascular, and any death in eastern Finnish men. Circulation 91: 645-655.
3. American Heart Association News. (2018) 7 proven ways to keep your heart healthy. news.heart.org.