"You will recognise, in this superb book, compassion from a fellow-sufferer that goes way beyond her practitioner experience. Alison's personal experience draws you in from the first page, and persuades you to follow her every painstaking step of the way, to a road of recovery."
Vicki Edgson, Nutritionist, Naturopath, Author and TV Presenter
A great deal of the degeneration and illness that we see around us is not the result of the inevitable and 'normal' process of ageing, but the consequence of exposure to an unprecedented level of toxins combined with a marked deterioration in the nutritional content of our diets.
Of all the toxins to which we are exposed, mercury is one of the most harmful and the one to which many of us have the greatest exposure. It is a multipotent toxin which causes damage on many different levels in biological systems.
Mankind - especially in the West - has now been exposed to many centuries of the 'therapeutic' use of mercury in medicine and dentistry, Significantly, this body burden accumulates over time and this unwelcome and invisible legacy is passed down the generations from mother to child.
Sources of mercury
The main sources of mercury to which we are exposed include:
Dental amalgam fillings which are a mixture of approximately 50% liquid mercury combined with other powdered metals. When these metals are mixed together in the moisture of the mouth they form a battery which causes the liquid mercury to vaporise as it discharges its current. This source has been assessed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be the biggest source of mercury for most people representing approximately 65-90% on average of most people's exposure. This has been a significant source of mercury exposure for approximately seven generations. In addition, the formula was changed in favour of high copper (non-gamma II) amalgam in the 1970s which has been shown to release 50X the mercury of the previous formulation, so that for the last 40 years this source has been massively amplified.
The vaccination programme The introduction of the vaccination programme including many vaccinations containing the mercury-based preservative, thimerasol, has ramped up from a few vaccinations in childhood given to those in their fifties and sixties to the many dozens of vaccines recommended or mandated over an entire lifetime now.
Fish Inorganic mercury pollution mainly from industry contaminates the waterways and is then converted to the more toxic organic mercury by plankton. This form then bioconcentrates up the food chain to appear in significant quantities in the larger carnivorous fish such as tuna and swordfish.
Occupational mercury exposure This has historically been an issue for people involved in the mining or refining of mercury, and hat makers (mercury was used to treat the pelts used for top hats, etc). It is still an issue for people working in particular industries and laboratories, healthcare workers (from accidental spills), and dentists and their chairside assistants from exposure to the mercury vapour emitted when removing and placing amalgam fillings.
The use of mercury in medicines Historically, this has been a significant source of exposure as physicians have used mercury-containing medicines for centuries as purgatives and disinfectants, and to treat syphilis, yellow fever, and teething. Some pharmaceuticals and other chemicals used in medical applications still contain mercury. And, Calomel, which was used for teething was only finally withdrawn from sale 60 years ago.
Energy saving light bulbs The energy saving (but not environmentally friendly) mercury containing light bulbs contain significant amounts of mercury if broken and this will inevitably end up in landfill and also poses a threat to householders.
Alchemical and chemical use For many centuries, alchemists were fond of trying to transform mercury into gold in a number of ways. Mercury is only one atomic weight heavier than gold and became the target of much experimentation.
Accidental exposure Mercury vapour is odourless, tasteless and invisible and so people may have no idea that they have been so exposed.
Intentional poisoning Mercury poisoning has proved a popular way of disposing of enemies for centuries because there is an asymptomatic period of 'silent latency' of at least several months and then the symptoms are mostly not recognised for what they are. This means that both the culprit and the crime have largely gone undetected until recently. Mercury poisoning is also hard to reverse once exposure has occurred.
Mercury-containing products This category includes a wide range of products ranging from floor waxes and latex paints to fabric conditioners, and contact lens solutions.
Atmospheric pollution Although volcanoes produce some atmospheric mercury naturally, coal-fired power stations now represent the biggest source of mercury in the atmosphere.
Generational Significantly, mercury is passed from mother to child both in the womb and in the breast milk. Between one-third and two-thirds of the mother's total accumulated mercury burden passes to her offspring in this way, so that the mother is effectively detoxifying into her offspring. These means that over the generations the total mercury burden has steadily increased and some individuals have started life with a significant body burden that has predisposed them to ill health and neurological problems from childhood onwards.
Each of these sources combine to create an individual's body burden of mercury. The body has great difficulty excreting the sort of quantities of mercury that it is typically exposed to through these sources and both the kidney and liver accumulate and are damaged by mercury. This means that the two main routes out of the body rapidly become ineffective.
The amount of mercury toxicity in the population at large goes largely underdiagnosed because it can take so many forms. In my opinion metal toxicity in general and mercury toxicity in particular are massively overlooked as sources of chronic, serious and degenerative illness.
Assessing the symptoms of mercury toxicity
The questionnaire below is taken from The Natural Recovery Plan bookby Alison Adams and solicits answers to some (but not all) of the recognised signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning. The results of the questionnaire can give a broad indication of the degree of mercury toxicity within the cells, since this frequently does not show up in blood, urine, hair or nail analysis as the mercury is bound to the cell organelles (where it can cause disruption but not be detectable) and to the nervous tissue of the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Answer every question below which applies to your gender by selecting the radio buttons to which the answer is 'yes'
Do you have CFS, fibromyalgia or an autoimmune disease?
Do you suffer with a profound fatigue that is not relieved by rest?
Do you constantly or frequently feel cold?
Do you frequently feel hot or cold when others are comfortable?
Do you have unexplained and markedly different 'good' and 'bad' days?
Do you get frequent headaches and/or migraines?
Do you suffer from persistent or chronic insomnia?
Are you frequently drowsy and/or feel the need to sleep during the day?
Have you gained or lost weight without significant changes in your diet?
Do you frequently feel tired, weak or shaky just a few hours after eating?
Do you struggle to focus or does your ability to focus change during the day?
Has your colour vision deteriorated?
Do you have poor night vision?
Do you sometimes have difficulty moving your eyes?
Is your balance poor and/or do you frequently feel dizzy?
Is you hearing poor?
Is it difficult to distinguish conversation over background noise?
Do you have difficulty making sense of what you hear?
Do you have tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
Do you have a poor sense of smell?
Was your puberty unusually early or late?
Do you have a history of infertility?
Is your libido poor or non-existent?
Do you need to urinate frequently or urgently?
Do you get up in the night to urinate more than once?
Do you persistently or frequently have a sore throat?
Do you have multiple chemical sensitivities?
Do you suffer with allergies?
Do you suffer with chronic, recurrent or frequent infections?
Do you have frequent or recurrent athlete's foot, 'jock' itch, thrush or cystitis?
Do you have difficulty making decisions?
Do you have trouble concentrating?
Has your intelligence diminished?
Do you have a poor memory?
Do you experience difficulty finding the right words?
Does it require a great effort to think clearly?
Do you have trouble multitasking?
Do you have trouble articulating words?
Do you have difficulty writing or doing tasks which require fine motor skills?
Are you clumsy and/or accident prone?
Do you have asthma or bronchitis?
Are you sensitive to tobacco smoke, petrol (gasoline) or paint fumes?
Do you get breathless easily?
Have you been told that you have particularly bad breath on occasions?
Does your heart occasionally race or hammer for no reason?
Do you have chest pains and/or angina?
Do you have either a slow/rapid heart rate or high/low blood pressure?
Do you have raised cholesterol levels?
Do you frequently feel faint?
Do you suffer with water retention (often affecting the legs)?
Do you have bleeding gums and/or tender or mobile teeth?
Do you occasionally get a metallic taste in your mouth?
Do you get mouth ulcers?
Do you have an inflamed or burning mouth?
Do you have any bald or white patches on your cheeks or tongue ('geographical' tongue)?
Do you suffer with diarrhoea and/or constipation?
Do you frequently have abdominal discomfort or pain?
Have you lost your appetite?
Do you tend to be very thirsty?
Do you have food intolerances (especially to dairy and gluten)?
Do you have extremely dry, itchy skin, eczema or psoriasis?
Do you either sweat profusely/get night sweats or are unable to sweat at all?
Does your sweat have an unusual cloying smell sometimes?
Do you bruise easily?
Do you frequently have cold hands and feet?
Do you have peeling skin on your hands, feet or ankles?
Do you have a puffy face or inflamed or flaky skin around your eyes?
Do you have a build-up of dry skin on your hands and/or feet?
Do you occasionally get a pricking, fizzing, stabbing or crawling sensation in your skin?
Do you have red colouration of your skin which may worsen when wet?
Do you have weak nails that tear or flake easily?
Have you currently or historically lost any underarm, pubic, leg or head hair?
Is the quality of your hair poor and/or has the quality of your hair deteriorated?
Would you describe yourself as anxious or depressed?
Would you describe yourself as shy or withdrawn and easily embarrassed?
Are you easily angered, irritated or upset?
Does life seem and endless, joyless struggle?
Do you lack motivation and feel apathetic?
Are you easily overwhelmed or discouraged?
Do you seem to have upset others without understanding why?
Do you handle stress poorly?
Do you experience unexplained mood swings or have dark or suicidal moods?
Do you suffer with TMJ (jaw joint) dysfunction?
Do you have constant or frequent joint pain(s) and/or arthritis?
Do you have constant or frequent muscle pains?
Do you have any muscle tremors?
Do you have poor exercise tolerance?
Do you frequently get cramp in your legs?
Do your muscles tire easily?
Do you suffer with any tics or twitches - especially of facial muscles?
Do you have restless legs at night?
Is it particularly difficult to stand up?
Do you have a history of heavy, missed or irregular periods?
Do you have a history of miscarriages and/or still births?
Do you have severe period pains and/or PMT?
Does your vagina and/or vulva occasionally or persistently feel raw or sore?
Does your menstrual bleed have a brown colouration?
Do you have uterine fibroids?
Do you occasionally or persistently suffer with urinary (stress) incontinence?
Do you occasionally or persistently suffer with impotence?
Do you occasionally or persistently suffer with premature ejaculation?
Do you occasionally or persistently experience difficulty urinating?
Mercury questionnaire results
To assess your score, having answered all the questions that apply to your gender see the following:
Likely Degree of Mercury Toxicity
Some mercury toxicity
Mild mercury toxicity
Moderate mercury toxicity
Severe mercury toxicity
For more information about the causes of mercury toxicity and a comprehensive approach to detoxifying mercury and the other toxic metals which underscore much chronic, serious and degenerative illness, please refer to The Natural Recovery Plan book
If you know of someone who you think might be suffering with mercury toxicity even though their symptoms might have been given one or more 'disease labels', especially if their disease is regarded as 'mysterious' or 'autoimmune', please send them the link to this page and have them fill in the questionnaire for themselves.
Or for all media use the Search facility at the top of the page
Mercury toxicity questionnaire: Article summary
This questionnaire is taken from The Natural Recovery Plan book and poses a comprehensive list of questions covering many common manifestations of mercury toxicity. The outcome gives an indication of the likelihood of mercury toxicity being a health issue since this assesses the degree to which cellular function has been affected by the presence of intracellular mercury rather than measuring the amount of mercury in samples of tissue (blood, urine, hair, etc) which has been shown to be unreliable.
Click the icon for the blog version of this article
Click the icon if you would like to republish this article
To receive a FREE report and the newsletter fill in your email details in the box on the top left.
The Natural Recovery Plan Newsletter March 2012 Issue 27. Copyright Alison Adams 2012. All rights reserved Dr Alison Adams Dentist, Naturopath, Author and Online Health Coach www.thenaturalrecoveryplan.com