Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Mercury Poisoning from Amalgam

I have resurrected this, an earlier blog, in light of recent press reports that the FDA now considers, at long last in my view, that mercury in amalgam could be detrimental to the good health of certain groups of people. Here is my story of the painful path that I followed and the simple discovery that restored me to good health. Why this blindingly obvious finding has not been recognised by the medical professionals defeats me. Mercury poisoning from amalgam is probably causing health problems to millions. I can only hope that my experiences may be read by many and in some small way help.

I felt the sneeze coming and braced myself for the inevitable pain that I knew would follow. Every joint in my body would be racked with agony. A cold sweat broke out as I tried to suppress the sneeze and prayed that I could will it away. This was the life that I had come to expect after being struck down with arthritis that had come upon me some four years before.

Before this physical transformation I had been a healthy, very fit, thirty-eight year old. I was, at the time, working in a shipyard in the Far East and enjoying life. The work was interesting although sometimes exhausting; clambering over ships, descending steel ladders into the deepest tanks and climbing to the highest points. The work took me to ships at anchor, sometimes at night, in order to carry out repair work. In rough seas, jumping from the company launch to the ship’s boarding ladder, I took it all in my stride and relished the life. My leisure time was equally physical. Being a member of a swimming club with a 50 meter pool, I would swim 30 lengths almost every day. I ran with the Hash House Harriers, running the length and breadth of Singapore.

What has this to do with arthritis you may ask. I merely wish to describe to you the level of fitness that I enjoyed. This compared with the same man who some 2 years later, with two walking sticks, required assistance when crossing the road, who wore specially made shoes to cushion the weight of the body and ease the pain when walking.

Looking back now it is difficult to recall the gradual change in my condition, one day pain free and the then the gradual descent into the world of pain. It had started with an ache in the right knee, nothing to be concerned about, probably a strain due to nothing in particular; something that everyone experiences from time to time. A couple of weeks later and the pain was more severe. Pain killers gave only momentary relief and by this time I was getting concerned. It was beginning to affect my mobility; my work was being made difficult. A little later the pain had spread to my lower back making it difficult to walk. I would awake in the mornings hoping that the pain would not return when I got out of bed, but it did and it wouldn’t go away.

The ability to carry out my work was threatened. My sense of balance was deteriorating and I no longer felt safe whilst working aboard ships. My confidence was ebbing.

Fortunately, I knew a doctor, who was a fellow House Hash Harrier. He examined me and administered a steroidal injection. He explained that this was a temporary treatment only and the symptoms were likely to return once the injections were discontinued. The relief was immediate and I was returned to my old self within a matter of hours. I convinced myself that the problem was solved. Alas, the time came when the doctor explained that it would be unwise to continue with the treatment and soon I was back in the throes of agony.

A few weeks later, my symptoms took a worrying turn. After leaving a restaurant and making my way to the car, I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of acute fatigue. The car was only 200 yards away but I was quite unable to walk the distance. I sat down under the hot Singaporean sun, my heart was racing and I timed my pulse at 160 beats per minute. I was convinced that my time had come. Somehow I made it to the car and drove to the doctor’s surgery. I was hooked up to a cardiograph and administered valium which quickly brought my pulse down to normal levels. An hour later I was admitted into hospital where I was informed that I had suffered a first degree heart block. The nerve between the first and second heart chambers had been affected which caused the heart to function inefficiently. Fortunately, after several days the heart resumed its normal pattern and I left hospital. I was referred to several specialists and numerous medical diagnoses were made including Rieters syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis and MS. I returned to the UK where I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis.

My life had been turned around. No longer could I continue with my work. I was now limping around with the aid of a walking stick and scared to cross the road. The prognosis was not good; more steroids.
The specialist discussed the possibility that I would be using a wheelchair before long. He did, however, hold out one glimmer of hope. ‘It has been known’ he said ‘that in later life the disease can burn itself out’. So that was it. Years of suffering ahead with the faint hope that sometime, in the distant future, it might burn itself out. I was developing a moonface, the classic symptom caused by the extended use of steroids which had once again been prescribed.

The body, in order to protect its joints from inflammation, lays down calcium. This build up eventually causes the the joints to freeze up; all flexibility gone. This was happening to me. Every movement caused severe pain until the point was reached where I didn’t know what part of my body was hurting the most. A spur of calcium, shown by Xray, was growing from my right heel bone and caused excruciating pain when I applied weight on it. It looked as if a nail had been driven into my foot. The rheumatologist suggested a pair of cushioned shoes and arranged for the hospital to have a pair made. In the meantime he suggested a cortisone injection into the heel would ease the pain. That injection was the most painful ever. It is not to be recommended. A week later, the arch of the right foot collapsed. Thank you doctor, for not explaining to me that this type of injection can cause muscles to turn to fat and for connective tissues to weaken.

My career was over, my health had gone and I lived on a daily dose of pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs. There had to be an answer. Clearly the doctor’s didn’t have one.

I decided to find my own cure, after all I reckoned, the body is one big chemical factory, finely tuned to provide a delicate balance between good and bad health. Something dramatic had happened to me, something that had caused that balance to shift.

First off I tried acupuncture but decided after several sessions that it was not working. In addition it was costing me a small fortune. Next to a homeopathist who proceeded to inject minute diluted doses of all known food stuffs into my skin and by measuring the resultant wheal was able to tell me that I was allergic to everything bar turkey and cocoa beans. After enlightening me to this fact he demanded a large fortune.

I tried various diet regimes with no results and again I sank into deep depression. There seemed to be no hope and I resigned myself to the inevitable.

Some months later a close relative of mine appeared. He brought with him a cutting from the Readers Digest. It described the case of an American girl who whilst working in South America was struck down with severe arthritis. She deteriorated to such an extent that she was forced to use a wheelchair, but worse still, she was losing her sight. Returning to the USA, she consulted various medical specialists who were at a loss as to her condition. Then a friend suggested that she should have a cutting of her hair analyzed. The results were staggering. High levels of mercury were found; mercury poisoning was suspected. How could this be? Where and how could she have been exposed to the dangerous material?
The stuff that dentists use to fill dental cavities. A material that contains mercury that can leach out of a dental filling and when ingested, can poison the central nervous system, amongst other things.

Here in the UK, it is used extensively. The alloy has the advantage of being cheap to produce and has metallurgical properties that makes it suitable for the purpose. Made from silver-tin-copper and mercury it is able to resist both chemical and mechanical onslaughts within the mouth.
The downside is that under certain conditions, the amalgam can breakdown and release mercury, poison the system and literally destroy ones health.

What could these conditions be?

Anyone who has an amalgam filling will, at one time or another, have experienced the sharp pain that occurs, when a piece of aluminium foil comes into contact with the filling. The pain is caused by an electric current. A battery effect has been set up within the mouth. A battery consists of two dissimilar metals immersed in an electrolyte. In this case the two dissimilar metals are the amalgam and aluminium and the electrolyte is the saliva in the mouth.

Having been a marine engineer I was familiar with the effects of battery action on the underwater fittings of ships. Dissimilar metals immersed in seawater generate an electric current. When this occurs, the anode, perhaps the ships propeller, will corrode away. A sacrificial anode is fitted to the ships hull so as to prevent this happening.

What then if I had two dissimilar metals in my mouth causing the amalgam to break down, releasing mercury into my body? Thinking back to the onset of my symptoms, I had undergone some dental work. A bridge had been fitted and parts of it were constructed with a metallic material. I had a friend, an electronic engineer, check if there was any detectable current flowing between the bridge and the amalgam. I was not, by this time, surprised to find that there was. Prior to the bridge being fitted and another metal being introduced into the mouth, the amalgam was stable with no adverse affects. Could this be the answer? I prayed that it was.

I was now convinced that I had found the cause of my years of suffering. All I needed now was to find a dentist who would replace my amalgam fillings with white composites. Amazingly this was not easy. Many of them saw no reason for the exercise and openly dismissed the idea that my theory was sound. Strange that they took this view as further research revealed to me that the information had been in the public domain for years.
Here are some extracts from various papers on the subject:-

#Occasionally, a gold inlay is placed in contact with an adjacent proximal amalgam restoration, or an amalgam filling is placed in an opposing tooth, or perhaps a gold clap touches an amalgam restoration. All such procedures are almost sure to cause a corrosion of the amalgam, since an electrocouple with considerable electromotive force is produced between the gold alloy and the amalgam(approximately 500 millivolts). Mercury is sometimes found in the gold alloy, which is therefore weakened. Such a condition is always a hazard to the health of the patient. When couples of this nature are studied under laboratory conditions, the amalgam corrodes, regardless of a polished surface or a protective tarnish film.( The science of Dental materials, E.W. Skinner, 3:e ed. 1948, W.B. Saunders Co, Phil. & Lond.)

# …older man, who besides many amalgam fillings, had a crown in his mouth, something dentistry considers not allowable because of the possible galvanic processes, but dentists often ignore in practice.11,2 ug Hg in 780 cm3 urine ( 14,4 ug/l ). He had had stomatitis for several years and also other symptons indicating mercury poisoning. ( Stock A & Cucuel F der Quecksilberhalt der menschlichen Ausscheidungen und des menschlichen Blutes. Zeitschr angew. Chemie 47, 1934, 641-7 )

# Amalgam and gold close together is, because of the then occuring electrolytic degradation process in the mouth, especially dangerous and should be avoided.
(Stock A. Die. Gefahrlichkeit des Quecksilberdampfes und der Amalgame, Zeitschr angew. Chemie 39, 1926, 984-989 )

# One should especially avoid placing amalgam plombs in the vicinity of metals ( genuine gold fillings, gold bridges and bridges and plates of false gold ). In such cases electrolytic currents will occur, which also degrade the deeper parts of the amalgam fillings and can cause the evaporation of larger amounts of mercury. ( F. Gradewitz, ( dentist ) Zeitschr angew. Chemie 39,1926 788-9 )

# The erratic variation of current that we found when we plotted the Evans diagrams of gold alloy coupled with an amalgam alloy also can be explained as a succession of deterioration and reconstruction of the corrosion film. Our conclusion is that a clinical amalgam restoration in contact with a gold crown, could corrode continuously at a high rate. (study of the electro chemical behavior of gold dental alloys. Brugirard J, Bargain R, Dupuy JC, Mazille H & Monnier G Study of the electrochemical behaviour of gold dental alloys J.Dent. Res 52, 1973,828-836 )

So there we have it, the source of mercury poisoning uncovered. How many sufferers are there whose lives have been ruined by the ignorance of dentists and doctors? Was it not a rheumatologist who told me that the symptoms may disappear in later life, as arthritis had been known to ‘burn itself out’? Later years!! Is that not the time of life when it is very likely that we humans are likely to lose our teeth? That lifelong pain and ill health would end when either our teeth were extracted or dropped out. It still staggers me today, that none of the specialists, doctors and dentists, that I consulted, even considered the possibility that my dental fillings might have been the cause of my disability. Thank the Lord for allowing the Readers Digest to fall into my hands when it did; for now I would have been in a wheelchair.

I did find an enlightened dentist who was happy to carry out the work on my teeth. He was able to replace my amalgam fillings in three sessions within one week. A few days later I woke up to find that the pain in my joints had disappeared. Over the next month or so, the calcification in my backbone and feet reversed to normal, all inflammation ceased and I was my old self again.

Fifteen years have since passed and I feel great. One incident some five years back proved beyond doubt that the fillings and bridge had been the cause of my condition. I had occasion to visit the dentist suffering a toothache which required a filling. Assuming the dentist had read my notes; I sat back in the chair and let him get on with it.

Guess what? He put back an amalgam filling. The very next day, my right knee was inflamed and painful. I arranged for the offending tooth and filling to be extracted three days later and within the week my knee was back to normal.

For sure, in my case, mercury poisoning was the cause of those years of pain.

I hope, this, my personal story helps someone out there.