If you are like most New Yorkers, you love to eat sushi. I grew up with Yama and Haru being the staples of my eating out experience. It was not until my first years of practice that I learned about Mercury Toxicity, how foodies like myself are predisposed to it, and what it can do to our bodies. In this post, I will explain my approach to Mercury Detox.
Mercury is a heavy metal, and we all have a certain tiny amount of it in our blood. After all, a human body contains most elements of periodic table, except radioactive compounds, like uranium and radon. The problem is that excessive exposure to mercury can lead to it deposition in the tissues, wreaking havoc in our bodies’ functioning.
Most people with mercury poisoning feel fatigued and foggy, despite getting enough sleep. Some get unusual pains or weird skin sensations, sweating, rashes, or rapid heart beat. Yet others become anxious or depressed for no reason and describe themselves as “constantly on the edge”. If mercury toxicity goes unnoticed, permanent damage to memory and ability to focus can take place.
When I was little, growing up in Ukraine, we used mercury thermometers. Kids used to break them and chase this liquid metal with pennies – a habit that gives me shivers now that I understand just how early my exposure to mercury began… Mercury messes with selenium in our body, a trace mineral essential for fighting daily oxidative damage in our cells, especially brain cells. Most of us are naturally equipped with a built-in mechanism of gradual elimination of mercury from our system. However, if we consume too much of mercury, our body’s detox capacity gets overwhelmed, and accumulation of mercury begins.
If you think that Mercury Toxicity is someone else’s problem, stop and realize: it is also your problem. 630,000 American newborns/year are exposed to mercury toxicity in the womb. One-quarter of adult New-Yorkers, that is roughly 2 million people have elevated levels of mercury in their blood, according the NYS Department of Health.
What is a normal level of mercury? CDC used to have 5.8 micrograms/L or less as a normal blood level, but in the recent years, this cutoff has been raised to 10micrograms/L or less. Being a doctor concerned with the issues of longevity and environmental pollution, I routinely check for mercury poisoning. Diagnosing and treating elevated mercury often helps me to solve complex patient complaints and vague annoying symptoms people have been suffering from for decades.
Years of experience and thousands of happy patients later, I am sharing my tips on Mercury Detox with you in this post:
A) If you are a pregnant or a breastfeeding woman, please do not eat any raw fish or shell-fish, period, and keep your cooked fish consumption at no more than twice/week.
B) If you are none of the above, get your mercury levels checked by your doctor, and if you are higher than 5.8 micrograms/L :
1) Avoid eating sword fish, shark, king mackerel, and tuna. These are fish with the highest mercury content. The golden rule of thumb, however, is that the bigger the fish in size, the more mercury it has, by virtue of being higher in the food chain.
2) Cut back on your consumption of raw sushi, shellfish or oysters. I mean, cut back in a MAJOR WAY. For example, of you were eating sushi twice/week, do not eat it at all for several months, and then gradually re-introduce it once/month. You have to play with how often you eat sushi and what your blood test mercury results are. Everyone metabolizes things differently, and that is why there is no cookie-cutter approach as to how much is OK.
3) There is no way to remove mercury through cooking. Therefore, cleaning the skin, fat, and the guts, will help to get rid of PCBs (toxic organic chemicals), but not mercury! I know that some people may have told you that the cooking process somehow neutralizes mercury, but that is simply not true.
4) Get your dentist evaluate the fillings in your mouth. Many cheaper fillings, up until several years ago, were made from mercury amalgams, and could be leeching mercury into your blood. These fillings can be carefully replaced by your dentist. American Dental Association has a very unclear position on the mercury fillings issue, but it’s a no-brainer to me that if you have a source of toxicity within you – it must go.
5) Choose Omega-3 fatty acid supplements extremely carefully. Most of the fish oil supplements out there are laden with mercury themselves! A reliable, mercury-free fish oil, which undergoes 4 distillation processes is manufactured by Nordic Naturals.
Their Pro-Omega has 1,000mg of daily EPA and DHA which is a wonderful safe supplement to take.
6) Take an oral chelating supplement which can help bind the mercury out of your bloodstream. Calcium Disodium EDTA and DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid) are commonly used active ingredients in Mercury Detox protocols, but I find that they make a lot of people nauseous. I like to use Integrative Therapeutics Mercury Detox. This formula is very well-tolerated and has Selenium, N-Acetyl-Cysteine and reduced L-Glutathione as some of the key actve ingredients.
7) Have an Ionic Foot Water Detox 1-2 times/week.
This 30-minute procedure, which has been extremely effective for my patients with high mercury levels, uses negatively charged ions to bind the positively charged mercury (as well as copper and lead!) ions out of your system. You can read a magazine or listen to your IPOD, while mercury, along with other heavy metals, is being drawn out of your body. The results are visually impressive, and the blood tests confirm successful Mercury Detoxification.
8) Have a Far-Infra Red Sauna (FIRS) treatment once-a -week.
9) Have an Ondamed treatment by certified doctor. For more information on Ondamed click here.
I welcome your comments and personal experiences on this subject. Sharing what you know with others will help so many people to become aware of Heavy Metal Toxicity and the how-tos of Mercury Detox.
To your health!
Dr.Svetlana Kogan, M.D.