Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monthly Mercury Detox Group in Berkeley

Bay Area (CA; USA)
Chronic Mercury Poisoning
Self-Help Support Group

Do you have ongoing health issues? Chronic mercury poisoning is an under-diagnosed condition, described in the medical and toxicology literature but not yet recognized by most physicians or institutions.

  • Meetings: Thursdays 1-3 pm, once a month, check link above.
  • Where: Live Oak Park, Berkeley.  We'll meet in the picnic area above Walnut Street, near the Arts Center, but if some other group has nabbed this area, look for our "No Hg" sign elsewhere in the park.  Dress for some tree sap and dust.  This is a fragrance-free event.
  • Agenda: First, reports (please bring an idea, book, or report to share); then sharing (how are you doing?); then a free-form discussion. 
  • Facilitators: Stevenson Munro  (510) 250-7922;  Kristin Homme, MPH,
    kghmhe-supgrp@yahoo.com; (510) 525-1003; mercuryandmore.weebly.com

  • General contact: Leo Cashman, Executive Director, DAMS (Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions); (651) 644-4572

The support group usually meets the second Tuesday or Thursday of each month, at various locations, to share insights, exchange information, raise awareness, and plan outreach.  Whatever your issues in coping with this misunderstood condition, we're here to support you. 

Why doesn't my doctor know about chronic mercury poisoning? There is a delay between scientific discoveries and clinical practice.  Meanwhile, special interests tout mercury as safe based on flawed population studies that ignore genetic susceptibilities.  
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms vary and may include chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, immune dysfunction (e.g., chronic Lyme and Candida), autoimmunity, allergies, food intolerances, gut dysbiosis, hormone imbalances, infertility, insomnia, tinnitus, erethism, psychiatric disorders, and neurodegenerative problems including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and autism. *  Having multiple health problems suggests that mercury is the root cause. 

How could I have gotten exposed to mercury?
Major sources include dental amalgams, fish (many species), vaccines, prenatal exposures, and breast milk.  Minor sources include some processed foods and consumer products.  Other sources include occupational exposures, unsafe amalgam removal, and pollution from coal or hazardous waste combustion. 

How do I know whether I have mercury poisoning?
Most chronic mercury poisoning must be assessed indirectly, based on symptoms and minor lab anomalies.  Blood levels of mercury indicate only recent, not chronic, exposure.  Urine levels of mercury indicate excretion, not retention.  Retained mercury can only be measured on autopsy.  With low sensitivity and high specificity, a porphyrins test can identify severe chronic mercury poisoning, but since porphyrins are easily destroyed by heat or light, the risk of false negatives is high.  A hair test can reveal a general mineral transport disorder associated with mercury even when hair mercury appears low. 

What can I do about it?
Mercury poisoning is largely curable.  Some methods are more effective and more economical than others.  Unfortunately, some methods can be dangerous, causing redistribution of mercury to the brain. 

* Mercury affects each person differently because it blocks sulfhydryl -- a chemical group ubiquitous within enzymes and transport proteins that vary with the individual.  It also causes oxidative damage, similar to premature internal aging.  Since nutritional supplements may alleviate these problems temporarily, reliance on such may suggest mercury poisoning.
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