Exposure to the metal mercury is no joke, even in minute amounts. It can cause serious health issues and worsen other health conditions you may have or are experiencing. Mercury toxicity or poisoning is a kind of metal poisoning brought about by exposure to mercury. Mercury can be found in soil, water, and air. It’s a naturally occurring element. It’s also a major public health concern and is considered a neurotoxin, a toxin which negatively affects your nervous system to various degrees. Furthermore, it’s also known to have a negative effect on your immune system, digestive system, kidneys, lungs, eyes, and skin.
How does mercury cause damage to your body?
All of us have small amounts of mercury in our body which builds up over time. The most common sources include contaminated fish and shellfish and dental amalgam fillings. Mercury causes a lot of damage to your body. The table below summarises the key negative effects.
Organ or System
What mercury does
What you may feel or see in your body
Kills neurons and nerve tissue by interfering with their mitochondria and membrane transport systems.
Change in behaviour, tremors, headaches, hearing loss, lack of coordination.
Weakens your heart muscle and causes cardiomyopathy.
Chest pain or angina.
Deposits in your lungs and leads to pulmonary fibrosis and bronchitis.
Cough and difficulty breathing.
Contributes to the development of leukaemia.
Fever, fatigue, frequent infections, easy bruising and bleeding.
Disturbs the production of digestive enzymes.
Indigestion, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea.
Increases your risk of developing renal cancer and chronic renal disease.
Changes in the colour and volume of your urine. Swelling of your feet and legs.
Associated with increased chances of developing autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, psoriasis, epilepsy, etc.
Most medical conditions are made worse when exposed to mercury. Some of these health conditions are worth mentioning:
Candidiasis. It’s an accepted fact that mercury or other toxic chemicals (like lead) can build up in your bone marrow and disrupt the production of immune cells that protect your body from a Candida overgrowth. Candida species are opportunistic and resistant to the effects of mercury, unlike your immune system. A Candida overgrowth usually happens in the gastrointestinal tract and female genital tract but can also cause problems systemically.
Leaky Gut Syndrome. Toxic metal ingestion can lead to inflammation in the lining of your small intestines. If this happens on a chronic basis, it can lead to leaky gut syndrome. The usual sources of mercury in these situations are dental amalgam fillings.
Autism. Health experts have acknowledged that some medical groups have pinpointed mercury as one of the possible causes of autism. Unfortunately, up to the time of this writing, a direct causal relationship hasn’t been established. But, it’s safe to say that almost 75% of the available research studies have stated that mercury is a risk factor in the development of autism. That means that the chances of developing autism are increased if you’re exposed to mercury. Autism is a complex medical condition and most likely has several causes that contribute to its development. Nonetheless, mercury exposure at any level is unsafe for your children in any form. Do take the necessary steps to protect them from exposure to mercury.
Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune condition that’s very difficult to diagnose. Its exact cause is unknown. It’s a disease which manifests with debilitating muscle pain, joint pain, and fatigue. Stress is one of its well-known triggers. Some medical experts argue that mercury toxicity can lead to fibromyalgia. But not everyone reacts to mercury in the same way, which makes it difficult for those who hypothesise this theory to prove this. Research studies are still being conducted to establish whether there is a connection.
Rheumatoid arthritis. One research study has suggested that mercury exposure through diet or inhalation can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Though the precise mechanism remains to be discovered. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which affects several of your joints and even troubles your lungs, heart, blood vessels, skin, and eyes. Knowing how mercury contributes to its development is vital to its prevention.
Mercury toxicity can worsen most existing medical conditions (and may even cause some of them). Knowing possible sources of exposure is crucial to its prevention. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you feel that you may have been exposed to mercury in any of its forms.