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Mercury Toxicity: Symptoms You Need To Recognize

“I feel tired all the time.” “I have frequent headaches.” “I’m down and I just don’t feel like doing anything.” Do any of these statements apply to you? If so, you may need to look no further for the cause of your complaints than in your mouth! Why? An often overlooked, but extremely important source of toxic material is mercury amalgam fillings…mercury toxicity!

While the link between amalgam fillings in the teeth and depression is quite controversial, there are enough associations to demand a closer look. The truth is that amalgam fillings are the chief source of mercury exposure & toxicity in the U.S. population. Approximately 78% of American adults have dental fillings.[1] What’s more, numerous clinical studies have confirmed that mercury toxicity is a major contributor to numerous health conditions.

Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal that occurs naturally in the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), exposure to this toxic metal is known to cause anxiety and depression among other health problems. Individuals can be exposed to mercury primarily from two or three sources: Eating fish that contain methylmercury in their tissues, from the release of elemental mercury from the dental amalgam used in fillings, &/or from makeup.[2] The World Health Organization has established that the greatest source of toxicity for most people is mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings rather than food or makeup sources. But they can all contribute to overall mercury toxicity.
The average dental amalgam contains about 50% (1 gram) of mercury. From the amalgam, mercury can be leaked into the body as a vapor, be swallowed in a liquid form or converted into a mercuric salt that is either swallowed or directly absorbed into the oral mucosa.

There are numerous studies which have shown that amalgam fillings play a major role in development of depression symptoms.[3] In fact, the most common effects of mercury toxicity are neurological problems. Symptoms include memory loss, moodiness, depression, anger and sudden bursts of rage, suicidal thoughts, and obsessions/compulsions.[4]

Furthermore, a large U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found that individuals with more amalgam fillings have significantly higher levels of chronic health conditions including MS, epilepsy, migraines, mental disorders, diseases of the nervous system, disorders of the thyroid gland, cancer, and infectious diseases.[5]

Do you have a significant number of amalgam fillings in your teeth right now? If so, and if you are concerned that you may in fact have mercury toxicity, you should first recognize if you have a combination of any these symptoms:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Mental confusion
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Hair loss
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Memory loss or “brain fog”
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Depression symptoms
  • Anorexia
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Intestinal problems
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Numbness, tingling and weakness of hands and feet
  • Tremors
  • Psychoses

Steps to Get Rid of Mercury Poisoning:

  • Mention your concerns to me (or any integrative medical provider) so I can take a full medical and dental history to determine if we need to consider chelation therapy (administering chelating agents that remove heavy metals from the body).
  • Talk to your dentist about replacing mercury fillings with resin or composite fillings.  An added benefit to white composite fillings is they match the color of your teeth.  Make sure your dentist is thoroughly familiar with the proper removal of mercury/amalgam fillings.  Also make sure your dentist is thoroughly familiar with composite bonding before having the white fillings performed.  If composite fillings are not performed properly, they are vulnerable to leakage and new decay. If you need a holistic or biologic dentist, I highly recommend Dr. Stephen Kovar at My Dentist (
  • Ask me about a test called the provocative urine toxic metal test – a simple and inexpensive test to determine how much mercury (& other heavy metals) is in your body. This test uses a heavy metal chelator called DMSA (2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid), which binds to mercury & other metals in the body and allows them to be excreted in the urine.

  • If you are taking fish oil, make sure it has been tested for mercury.  Know that larger fish have higher amounts of methylmercury in their tissues; therefore, if you have been taking a supplement such as shark cartilage for more than one month, you should switch to another supplement for your health needs.  Also, you should limit your consumption of large fish to no more than once per week:  Swordfish, shark, and tuna. Seafood choices that are low in mercury include salmon, catfish, shrimp, crab and halibut.

Heavy metals, especially mercury, are a serious health issue that need to be addressed in order for your body to be able to function and perform optimally. If you feel you have issues with mercury or any other heavy metal, please contact our office so we can recommend the proper testing and treatment!

Article written by Jami Cooley, RN, CNWC
[2] Center for Disease Control.
[3] F.Berglund, Case reports spanning 150 years on the adverse effects of dental amalgam, Bio-Probe, Inc., Orlando, Fl, 1995; ISBN 0-9410011-14-3(245 cured); & Tuthill JY, “Mercurial neurosis resulting from amalgam fillings”, The Brooklyn Medical Journal, December 1898, v.12, n.12, p725-742; & R.L.Siblerud et al, “Psychometric evidence that mercury from dental fillings may be a factor in depression, anger, and anxiety”, Psychol Rep, v74,n1,1994; & Amer. J. Of Psychotherapy, 1989; 58: 575-87; Poisoning and Toxicology compendium, Leikin & Palouchek, Lexi-Comp, 1998,p705; & M. Daunderer, Handbuch der Amalgamvergiftung, Ecomed Verlag, Landsberg 1998, ISBN 3-609-71750-5 (in German); & “Improvement of Nerve and Immunological Damages after Amalgam Removal”, Amer. J. Of Probiotic Dentistry and Medicine, Jan 1991; & Toxicologische erfahrungen am menchen; Quecksilber in der umwelf-hearing zum amalgam problem”, Niedersachsiscles Umweltministerium, 1991; & “Amalgam”, Ecomed-Verlag, Landsberg, 1995; & “Amalgamtest”, Forum Prakt.Allgen.Arzt, 1990, 29(8): 213-4; & “Besserung von Nerven- und Immunschaden nach Amalgamsanierung”, Dtsch. Aschr. F. Biologische Zahnmedzin, 1990, 6(4):152-7.
[4] Echeverria D et al, Neurobehavioral effects from exposure to dental amalgam vapor(Hg0): new distinctions between recent exposure and Hg body burden. Swedish Council for Coordinating and Research, 1999.
[5] Laks, Dan R. Assessment of chronic mercury exposure within the U.S. population, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2006. Biometals. August 2009