Uncovering Mercury Toxicity

Understanding one’s heavy metal toxicity is just one of many risk factors discussed in a ReCode Brain Body evaluation. I talk to people every day who are surprised to learn that their fish consumption, personal care products, or aging silver fillings could be putting them at risk for chronic disease. Organic forms of mercury, and other toxic metals known to cross the blood brain barrier (and placenta), can contribute to neuronal cell death, auto-immune conditions, hormone disruption, nutrient depletion, and more.

Case in point, Julia age 32 contacted me, bothered by increasing fatigue, heart palpitations, constant headaches, and unexplained hair loss. A long history of gut issues, Julia had struggled with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for several years unable to get to the bottom of what seemed to trigger episodes of diarrhea or constipation. Having recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease (an autoimmune condition that impacts thyroid function), she had been unaware of how inflammatory foods could worsen her condition. Despite her best efforts on a gluten and dairy free diet though, her thyroid lab values and antibody levels were not improving. Julia had hopes of having another baby but was unsure if another pregnancy would be wise given her current state of health.

Metal toxicity can contribute to neuronal cell death, auto-immune conditions, hormone disruption, nutrient depletion, and more.

After a ReCode Nutrition interview and targeted functional lab testing, we were able to identify elevated mercury levels that Julia and her endocrinologist were previously unaware of. Curious as to how or where she was exposed to mercury we explored potential risks for exposure. As a child, Julia had many cavities. More recent dental fillings she had were of composite material, however 4 silver fillings from her early childhood remained. Julia chewed gum regularly as a "dieting strategy" and despite having a mouth guard to prevent grinding her teeth at night, she found it uncomfortable and avoided using it. Both of these seemingly unrelated habits (gum chewing and teeth grinding) were contributing to the amount of mercury leaching from the silver fillings in her mouth. Like many women, Julia had also unknowingly adopted a cosmetic cream into her daily routine to lighten darker pigmentation on her face and hands that contained mercury, deceptively listed in the ingredients as “mercuric.”

In looking at her nutrient status, she was low in both Vitamin D and Selenium. Selenium can become depleted because of its affinity to bind with Mercury, and because of its role in cellular energy production, deficiencies can leave a person feeling fatigued both physically and mentally. Increases in oxidative stress due to impaired energy production was also having an affect on her immune system and depleting her protective anti-oxidant levels. in addition, low levels of Vitamin D were contributing to her inflammation and sabotaging her efforts to follow an anti-inflammatory diet: especially important given her autoimmune thyroid condition. In looking at specific genes associated with detoxification (GSTM1, GSTT1, COMT, & SOD), it became apparent that Julia's natural detoxification pathways were somewhat compromised and would benefit from strategies to increase her body's glutathione levels by supplementing with Selenium, Vitamin C and E, milk thistle, and N-acetylcysteine.

Replenishing lost nutrients was just one aspect of Julia's care plan. Improving gut function was of primary concern. Not only so that she would increase absorption of nutrients from her diet, but also to resolve episodes of diarrhea and constipation. This was equally important given that mercury is primary excreted in the bowels. Her lifelong issues with IBS were no doubt, contributing to poor excretion of mercury and other toxins from the gut.

We discussed the need to consult with a biological dentist with regard to removal of the silver fillings and planned a targeted program before and after the procedure to support her body's detoxification process and anti-oxidant status that had been challenged by elevated toxic metals.

To find a biological dentist in your area, consult the International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine

Julia was grateful to have further investigated her symptoms to better understand why she wasn’t getting better despite having the diagnosis and making dietary changes. She felt relieved to take action to reduce her toxicity prior to getting pregnant and associated developmental risks for her baby. After a 28-day metabolic detox plan (using specific foods and supplements) not only did her energy levels improved, but her headaches were history and she rarely experienced the gut issues that had plagued her for years. With follow up testing we confirmed that her thyroid antibodies and hormone levels had improved. Following our sessions, Julia had a blueprint for better understanding how her genomic profile increased certain nutrient requirements and the importance of staying true to her anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.

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Heavy metal testing is just one of many functional assessments that is sometimes indicated in a ReCode Nutrition evaluation. For more information regarding Mercury toxicity, detoxification, improving auto-immune conditions, or integrative strategies for enhancing brain and body wellness I invite you to pop over to Look for dates and times when I will be hosting free Q&As at various Seattle and Eastside locations. Go to to sign up and join in on some persuasively healthy conversations!