What everyone seems to ignore when the topic of mercury is discussed is the fact that according to the World Health Organization the major source of mercury for a human being is from dental “silver” fillings. You get more mercury from your mercury laden dental fillings then you do from your food or from the environment.
The mercury in a silver amalgam filling accounts for about 50% of a dental restoration. If you have these fillings, then you are inhaling toxic mercury vapor every day. Anything you do to stimulate the filling will cause large increases in the amount of vapor coming off the filling. If you chew, grind, brush, bleach your teeth, have them polished by a hygienist or have them touched with a drill you greatly increase the amount of mercury coming from the filling. It comes out in a vapor form which allows it to easily pass to all your tissues and organs, including those of reproduction.
Men, Mercury and Reproduction
Mercury has an affinity for sperm. Mercury and other heavy metals are found in male ejaculate and seminal fluid, with the heaviest amount in the sperm.
Besides the fact that mercury disrupts all living systems via many different pathways, there are two ways mercury in male reproductive fluids may be a problem with respect to infertility. 1) A women may be hypersensitive or allergic to mercury and thus have antibodies to mercury which will then react with the sperm and kill them. 2) Sperm with low motility are low in zinc and manganese; these are needed in the enzyme systems necessary for sperm motility. Mercury inhibits zinc and manganese. Thus there can be an indirect effect of mercury on sperm. Selenium is also involved in sperm motility as well as in normal development of sperm. Selenium has a very high affinity for mercury and is one of the body’s natural protectors against mercury. If the selenium is tied up with mercury it is not available for other important functions like healthy sperm.
Another side effect of mercury in humans is loss of libido. We can all appreciate how this can have an effect on fertility! Guess what was always used in contraceptive gels because it kills sperm? Right … mercury. Mercury also inhibits the synthesis of DNA in sperm forming cells. DNA is what carries our genetic information.
I had a patient who came to remove his mercury fillings specifically because of his low sperm count and motility. He was a chiropractor and had researched the issue. He and his wife had been trying to have a baby for a few years and finally went for testing. His wife was fine, but he was not. Six months after removal of the fillings and detoxification of metals from his body, his wife became pregnant. They now have three beautiful children.
So much for the men, what about the other half?
Women are not as simple as men (but all you women know that). There is a lot more going on and therefore a lot more areas mercury can have an impact. Remember mercury from fillings comes off in the vapor form. It has no electrical charge-it is elemental mercury. It goes to the blood and in one minute circulates to the whole body. Having no charge it easily passes to various tissues and organs and then becomes charged. It then binds to proteins and is thus called inorganic mercury. Mercury can destroy the biological function of any protein it binds to.
According to the Center for Disease Control one in twelve women of child-bearing age already have unsafe blood levels of mercury. This is scary because blood is not even a good indicator of mercury-it is when it leaves the blood and binds to proteins that it becomes a problem.
Remember a woman’s body is very complex. With all the rising and falling of various hormones,mercury accumulates in the hypothalamus and pituitary. Both of these hormone producing glands are responsible for the proper functioning of the female hormones. Fertility is based on the functional integration of the hypothalamus, pituitary, ovaries and uterus. The hypothalamus produces Gonatatrophin Releasing Hormone which tells the pituitary to release the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Studies on women who work around mercury show menstrual cycle disturbances, hypomenorrhea, or hypermenorrhea. I know from my own experience in practice, that many women have all sorts of problems with their periods. Very often they report tremendous improvement when the mercury is removed and chelated out of their bodies.
Also with mercury poisoning we know there is an increased rate of spontaneous abortion and neonatal mortality. We especially see this in female dentists and assistants.
Some studies suggest endometriosis is linked to abnormal immune function. Mercury weakens the immune system. One of the ways it does this is by depleting the adrenal glands of B-5 and ascorbic acid. This causes a decrease in adrenal hormones which then leads to decreased immune function. Add stress, which can also ultimately decrease adrenal function and you have a recipe for problems. I find it is helpful to supplement all mercury-toxic patients to support the adrenal glands. Also the pituitary is important in adrenal functioning. Mercury loves to accumulate here. Mercury interferes with an enzyme called cytochrome P450. This enzyme is important in the production of progesterone, a major female hormone. The list goes on and on.
A study was done in Hong Kong on 150 infertile couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization versus 20 fertile couples. The infertile couples had significantly higher blood mercury then the fertile group. Over 1/3 of infertile men had abnormally high mercury and about 1/4 of the infertile females had high mercury levels. They blamed it on sea food consumption. Considering they looked only at blood, fish may have been the culprit. Mercury in the blood often will reflect fish intake. However, fish is not usually a major source of one’s mercury. Too bad they did not run tests to check on the tissue burden of mercury. Nevertheless, this study reinforces the fact that mercury levels need to be investigated when dealing with infertility, both in the male and the female.
Suffice it to say, I believe that any couple having trouble conceiving should be checked for heavy metal toxicity.
As one new patient said, “When I decided to become pregnant I did all I could to be as healthy as possible. I made sure I ate healthy foods, abstained from all alcohol and stopped eating fish. I am really upset that nowhere did I read or did anyone tell me that “silver” fillings are a major source of mercury. Maybe that is why I had trouble getting pregnant and when I did I lost two babies in utero.”
The American Dental Association likes to say that mercury in a filling is no longer mercury and therefore is safe. This is absurd. Just remember mercury is mercury and mercury is toxic.
P.S. The patient who had two miscarriages had her fillings removed, chelated for the mercury and heavy metals and got pregnant on the first try when I gave the green light. All is going well with the pregnancy.
© 2005, Mark A. Breiner, DDS
The information presented is for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified dentist or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.