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Meniere's Disease, Chronic Mercury Poisoning, Amalgam Fillings
Mercury poisoning is connected to so many diseases, syndromes and illnesses and in my opinion, Meniere's is one of them. In this article I'll discuss why I feel chronic mercury poisoning must be considered as a possible cause of, or contributor to, Meniere’s symptoms. I’ll also explain why I believe any serious discussion about it must not only include the cause and treatment of Meniere's symptomst must also include the elimination of mercury exposure and how to support the body's efforts at removing the mercury that has accumulated.
I came to write this article because of Karin Henderson. She knew that one of my areas of interest and study is chronic mercury poisoning and asked me if I’d write something about the possible relationship between it and Meniere’s. Most of my knowledge about Meniere’s has been provided by Karin. She is a wonderful advocate for those dealing with Meniere’s and has an excellent website, www.menieres-disease.ca/index.htm, that deals exclusively with this subject. It is full of very helpful information for anyone interested in knowing more about Meniere’s and finding support groups.
When Karin introduced me to Meniere’s she told me that there are basically 4 symptoms directly associated with it.
- Dizziness, or periodic episodes of rotatory vertigo;
- Hearing loss that is Fluctuating, low-frequency, and progressive;
- Tinnitus; and
- Pressure in the ear, a sensation of "fullness".
She also informed me that there are many other, but less common symptoms of Meniere's. These include headaches, abdominal discomfort, nausea & vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, she said that people diagnosed with Meniere’s also talk about feeling extreme fatigue and exhaustion, the inability to concentrate, distraction, poor memory, confusion, disorientation, extreme sensitivity to noise, light sensitivity, and night blindness.
Over the years I’ve heard Meniere’s referred to as a disease, a syndrome, and a disorder, and the consensus seems to be that there is no known cause . . . or cure. It is my opinion that if a cause, or cure, isn’t known you can’t afford to eliminate anything that could possibly be a contributor to it. In short, you can’t afford to rule out any factor that even remotely could play a role in causing, contributing to, or exacerbating Meniere’s; especially chronic mercury poisoning.
I want to be clear that while identifying a possible contributor to it is a significant and positive step, other steps must be taken to remove the source of mercury exposure and support your body’s effort to remove the stored mercury. Unless those steps are taken you will never know if there is a relationship, or if improvements in symptoms are possible. It is also necessary to understand that mercury poisoning can be a factor in many other symptoms and diseases that are not directly related to Meniere’s.
Chronic mercury poisoning and mercury detoxification are big subjects and there won’t be space here to cover every aspect of it in detail. That is why I wrote my book, Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body. Although I won’t be able to cover everything in this article you will at least have a source that you can go to fill in the gaps.
The Relationship of Mercury Poisoning to Meniere's Disease
Sadly, very little research has been done regarding the direct relationship of Meniere's disease to mercury poisoning. I did find a few articles that associated dizziness and tinnitus to both Meniere's and chronic mercury poisoning. But just because a study hasn’t been done doesn't mean there isn't a connection; it only means no one has seen fit to do the studies necessary to find out. Or as Dr. Boyd Haley has said regarding mercury’s yet unproven connection to certain health conditions, “Absence of proof is not proof of absence.”
We do know a great deal about chronic mercury poisoning, certainly enough to connect some dots. We know is that mercury is an extraordinarily powerful neurotoxin and the majority of the symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning are primarily neurological. We know that mercury poisoning is also related to numerous movement and hearing problems, including, ataxia, dizziness, and tinnitus. We also know that symptoms such as chronic fatigue and exhaustion, the inability to concentrate, distraction, poor memory, confusion, and disorientation are also mercury related. We definitely know enough to look deeper into a possible relationship (You can find a list of the most common symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning by Clicking Here. If you are dealing with Meniere’s, or involved with its treatment, you may also see other related symptoms listed there.)
I’ve no doubt that there is also an indirect connection. After 30 years of studying the effects of mercury on the body, I’m convinced that long term, chronic mercury poisoning can directly or indirectly contribute to, or make worse every health issue we must deal with. The direct effects of mercury poisoning are well known but what isn’t is how devastating it is to the immune system. The fact that mercury is a neurotoxin should be sufficient to concern anyone with Meniere’s disease, but when you include the numerous health problems directly connected to an ineffective and damaged immune system; there is even more to be concerned about.
Effects of Mercury Poisoning on the Fetus
It would be impossible to discuss the effects and source of, mercury poisoning on any health issue without first considering how early you can be exposed to it. I’m sure that learning this will shock most people who are not aware of just how early this exposure begins; and the surprising source of that exposure. It also opens a Pandora’s box when it comes to connecting mercury poisoning to any health issue.
The first time a fetus can be exposed to mercury is at the moment of conception; if the mother has mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury entering the mother from her amalgam fillings can be passed to the fetus via the placenta, with the exposure continuing daily until birth. As mercury also passes into breast milk the exposure to it will continue through the nursing period. The amount of mercury the fetus and nursing baby will be exposed to can vary greatly and depend on a number of factors, including;
- How many fillings the mother has;
- How long she has had them;
- How the fillings were stimulated;
- How often they were stimulated and for how long;
- Did she have any removed or placed during fetal development and nursing; and
- Was the baby nursed and for how long;
The exposure to mercury at such a critical time of development is bad enough but it’s made worse by the fact that the fetus hasn’t developed a protective immune system. One should never lose sight of the fact that mercury is very toxic to an adult and far, far more so for a developing fetus and baby. Mercury is also a mutagenic substance which means that it could disrupt DNA at a critical time of development and lead to numerous early health issues, such as learning and developmental disorders. I believe that mutations during this period could set the stage for neurological symptoms that may not develop until later in life. These could then be triggered later in life by excessive mercury exposure. (For more information about the relationship of mercury to developmental disorders please Click on Autism and Mercury Amalgam Fillings.)
Another factor related to mercury that must be considered here is the exposure to mercury from the preservative thimerosal, commonly used in vaccines. Vaccinations can start as early as the day of birth and this exposure to relatively large, acute, doses of mercury could also be a contributing factor to numerous neurological symptoms, both early and later in life.
That isn’t all. Additional exposure to mercury can begin again as early as 4-5 years old when amalgam fillings are first placed in teeth. This ongoing exposure to mercury will continue as long as the individual has amalgam fillings. Mercury poisoning will not affect everyone in the same way and my book, Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body, discusses how mercury does its damage and the many factors that determine how an individual will be affected.
Although I just touched on this aspect of chronic mercury poisoning and its ramifications, I think you get the message. Even though there is as yet no scientific studies that show a direct cause and effect, I challenge anyone to say with certainty that mercury exposure has absolutely no relationship to Meniere’s, including it being a possible cause of, or as a contributor to its symptoms.
You must also keep in mind that the factors involved are many. Thus, someone with Meniere’s symptoms could have been in the high risk mercury category; exposed to as a fetus and nursing baby, via vaccinations, and continuing on with its own amalgam fillings. And there could be many variations of that theme that could account for its variation in symptoms and severity. For example, even if a person didn’t have amalgam fillings, he or she could have still been exposed to significant amounts of mercury during fetal development, nursing and vaccinations. What also must be considered is when this exposure took place, how intense it was, and how long it lasted.
Mercury Amalgam Fillings: A Health Hazard
In my opinion, there is a close enough relationship between Meniere's and chronic mercury poisoning to explore it further. For example, anyone with mercury amalgam fillings is being chronically poisoned by mercury and there are tens of millions in the high risk category for more serious mercury poisoning. Given my knowledge of the subject, there is no doubt in my mind, that if I were afflicted with Meniere’s, I would do everything in my power to safely remove the source of my mercury exposure and do my very best to eliminate it from my body. I would also make every effort to repair the damage done to my body by mercury.
It should also be noted that as long as amalgam fillings are present, more and more mercury will accumulate over time. This is because mercury depletes the body of the essential antioxidants, such as glutathione, needed to chelate and remove stored mercury. Over time, as long as the fillings are present, the net result is more and more antioxidants being lost and more and more mercury accumulating. If the source isn’t removed, enough mercury will eventually accumulate to manifest a mercury related symptom, or symptoms, and other serious health problems.
Because of the many variables involved, some people will show signs and symptoms of mercury related problems earlier in life, others as they age. In fact, I believe that many of the so-called age related illnesses are related to chronic mercury poisoning. After all, a majority of the population has amalgam fillings, people are living longer, and that means more time to accumulate more mercury!
The degree of mercury toxicity will depend on a number of extenuating factors and in this, everyone is unique. These factors are described in Mercury Detoxification but simply, the earlier the exposure, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk. And remember, even if a related symptom hasn’t yet appeared, you are still being poisoned by mercury and your immune system is still being compromised. It wasn’t the last straw that broke the camel’s back, but an accumulation of all of them.
Allergies and Mercury Poisoning
There is yet another possibility to explore regarding mercury poisoning. Although no one knows the percentage, there are a significant number of people who have allergies or express sensitivity to mercury. This can be either directly or indirectly, as mercury can cause or contribute to autoimmune disorders. When mercury amalgam fillings are put in or removed, exposure to mercury vapor is exceptionally high. I believe that this exposure can trigger a reaction in individuals susceptible to mercury, including those whose immune system is severely compromised.
Although I am not qualified to comment on how someone with Meniere's would be affected by such an acute dose of mercury one receives during removal and placement of amalgam fillings, I personally would not want to take that unnecessary risk. I suggest you reflect back on your previous dental experiences when these fillings were placed, or removed and replaced by another amalgam. This will give you a clue as to your own reaction to such a high exposure.
The vulnerability of some people highlights the importance of using a mercury free dentist and a safe amalgam removal protocol as a way to minimize exposure to mercury during their removal. I think it goes without saying that if you have Meniere’s, having amalgam fillings put in your teeth wouldn’t be a very good idea if you want to minimize your exposure to mercury! (You can find the largest listing of mercury free/safe dentists by Clicking on, Find a Mercury Free Dentist.)
Selecting a mercury free dentist is extremely important for anyone with any idiopathic disease or condition whose symptoms are triggered by ‘unknown’ causes, such as Meniere’s. For example, I've a friend who has early symptoms of Meniere's and she told me that before she knew the importance of safe amalgam filling removal, some of those symptoms were triggered when she had her fillings removed. If mercury is a trigger for Meniere’s symptoms then it is logical to avoid or minimize any exposure to it.
To me it makes sense for anyone having this condition to find a mercury free dentist and discuss having only one amalgam filling removed at the first appointment (even with the safe removal protocol) and determine if you had any undesirable side effects from that visit. If none are evident you can proceed with removal at the pace that suits both you and your mercury free dentist. If any abnormal side effects are noticed, the removal should proceed slowly, with adequate time in between dental appointments. You should also be participating in my Mercury Detoxification Program as doing so is even more important if you are still be exposed to mercury.
Testing for Mercury: Fecal Metals Test
In addition, I recommend that anyone with Meniere's should find an alternative health professional who understands the effects of chronic mercury poisoning and is willing to explore the possibility that he or she may be mercury toxic. While a subjective review of the symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning can be helpful in determining a relationship, I'd strongly urge them to have an objective, science based fecal metals text done. This test indicates how much mercury the body is removing naturally and it can be referenced to the amount eliminated by those tested who didn’t have amalgam fillings. (I thoroughly discuss the most common test for mercury in my book.)
If the dentist or health professional fully understands this test, it can also be used to monitor a mercury detoxification program. (This test must be ordered by your health professional from Doctor's Data Laboratories. Their website has information about this test for the layperson and contact information can be found by linking to: www.doctorsdata.com.)
If the fecal metals test levels indicate a high body burden of mercury I would strongly encourage you to have your amalgam fillings removed, if you haven’t done so already, and participate in my mercury detoxification program. Remember, if just one atom of mercury is harming the body then the amounts that can be recorded in this test are having a far, far greater affect. For example, mercury levels are recorded in micrograms (mcg), a very, very, very small amount. In fact, just one microgram of mercury contains 300 trillion atoms of it. That’s 300,000,000,000,000 atoms of poisonous mercury! If the body’s burden of mercury is high I believe it will not only contribute to every health issue you have, including Meniere’s, but will dramatically reduce the immune systems ability to deal with these problems.
To date, no test for mercury is available that will tell you exactly where it came from, how much of it is in the body, where it is, or its specific affect on one's health. But if even one atom of mercury is harmful you shouldn't be in the same room with it, let alone have it being released into your body from your fillings. If you are still not convinced about that mercury released from amalgam fillings is having a harmful affect on your health you should take the time to read Chapter 2 in Mercury Detoxification.
I always recommend a mercury detoxification program be considered by anyone who has or has had mercury amalgam fillings or has any symptoms, or diseases, directly or indirectly related to chronic mercury poisoning. The subject of detoxification is a big one and there isn’t enough space here to explore and explain every aspect of the relationship between mercury amalgam fillings and chronic mercury poisoning in this article. But I will touch on it.
While there are no guarantees that safely removing mercury amalgam fillings and detoxifying mercury from the body will eliminate all of your symptoms, I can say that your body will be much better off and better able to deal with any existing health issue (including Meniere’s) . . . as long as it no longer has to deal with the extraordinarily harmful effects mercury. I would be remiss by not telling you that mercury is not the only toxin you have to deal with, nor is it the only cause or contributor to these problems. But it certainly is a major one and one that can be dealt with.
That realization alone should be enough to motivate anyone, with any disease, to have these fillings removed, regardless if they are now experiencing symptoms directly related to mercury poisoning or not. If you have these fillings but have not yet experienced related symptoms it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Remember, it is an accumulative poison and a certain amount of mercury must accumulate in the body before symptoms appear, but it’s only a matter of time if the source isn’t removed. Just because you haven’t expressed a symptom doesn’t mean you aren’t still being poisoned.
The fact is that no one will ever know the specific effects mercury has on any health condition until it is removed; not just from the teeth but from the body. It is also true that any improvement in health issues related to chronic mercury poisoning will be unlikely; as long as mercury is still present in the body. Of course, on the positive side, once the mercury has been reduced or eliminated the body will have a chance to repair the damage done to it.
Studies have shown that when amalgam fillings have been removed and the body is able to eliminate mercury a high percentage of mercury related symptoms improve. But don’t fall into the trap that so many do by thinking that once they have their fillings removed all of their symptoms will instantly disappear. It can take a long time for enough mercury to build up to create an observable symptom and removing mercury can be a slow, but rewarding process. The antioxidant levels need to be restored and removing it is a process so patience is also in order. Plus you will have to allow the body to repair the damage done by mercury and that too can take time.
In addition, some irreversible damage may have been done and it does take longer for the body to remove mercury stored in the brain. The results of some of these Improvement studies can be found by Clicking Here.
In Mercury Detoxification I will provide the information you will need to understand and initiate such a program. This book is truly the A to Z layperson’s guide to this subject and I wrote it in a language you can understand. The book deals with every aspect of mercury detoxification and I know it will be very helpful if you decide to go the detoxification route. It is also beneficial to begin mercury detoxification before and during amalgam filling removal, especially for those with Meniere’s and other mercury related symptoms or diseases.
I can’t promise you a rose garden but I do hope I’ve provided you with some substantial food for thought. I realize that all of your questions haven’t been answered in this short article, but Mercury Detoxification will provide you with a place to find them. I also do phone consultations and you can find more information about that by Clicking Here.
There may not be an easy solution to Meniere’s but I strongly believe that you must consider the fact that chronic mercury poisoning could be contributing to your problems. I can’t tell you the extent of its contribution or the improvements in symptoms that may result by dealing with the mercury issue. But one thing I am sure about, chronic mercury poisoning is harming your body and even if you weren’t dealing with Meniere’s everything I’ve said about mercury poisoning is still just as true. I applaud your efforts to find a resolution to your symptoms and I hope, in some small way, that I have contributed to that effort.
About Dr. Tom
Tom McGuire, DDS, is a leading authority on mercury detoxification, mercury amalgam fillings, chronic mercury poisoning and holistic dental wellness. Dr. McGuire is president of the Dental Wellness Institute, founder of the International Association of Mercury Free Dentists (IAMFD) and author of a number of books on holistic dental wellness, including: Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body, Tooth Fitness: Your Guide to Healthy Teeth, The Tooth Trip,
and The Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings . . . Hazardous to Your Health! (Available April, 2008). To learn more about him Click Here.
Visit his Websites at www.dentalwellness4u.com & www.mercuryfreenow.com. He is available for consultations regarding mercury detoxification, second opinions, and other oral health issues. For scheduling call toll free at 800-335-7755. Click Here to email Dr. Tom.
© 2007, Tom McGuire, DDS