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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Scleroderma, and Lupus: The Mercury Connection

The Mercury Connection
by Bernie Windham

01-30-2002 - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS) is characterized by fatigue, neurologic symptoms including headaches, brain fog, mood disorders, and motor dysfunction. Spect scans of those with CFS have found that the majority have over 5 times more areas of regional brain damage and reduced blood flow in the cerebral cortex area of the brain than controls.

The majority studied were also found to have increased Th2 inflammatory cytokine activity and a blunted DHEA response curve to I.V. ATCH indicative of hypothalamic/adrenal deficiency such as relative glucocorticoid deficiency. CFS and fibromyalgia patients have also been found to commonly have abnormal enzymatic processes that affect the sodium-potassium ATPase energy channels, which appears to be a major factor in the condition and for which mercury is a known cause.

This also has been found to result in inflammatory processes that cause muscle tissue damage and result in higher levels of urinary excretion of creatine, choline, and glycine in CFS, and higher levels of excretion of choline, taurine, citrate, and trimethyl amine oxide in FM.

Supplementation of creatine has been found to result in improved muscle mitochondrial function in such patients. A Swedish study found that in one county, 11.6% of women over 35 surveyed had symptoms of fibromyalgia, while 5.5% of men reported such symptoms.

The main factors determining whether chronic conditions are induced by metals appear to be exposure and genetic susceptibility, which determines an individual's immune sensitivity and ability to detoxify metals. Very low levels of exposure have been found to seriously affect relatively large groups of individuals who are immune sensitive to toxic metals, or have an inability to detoxify metals due to such as deficient sulfoxidation or metallothionein function, or other inhibited enzymatic processes related to detoxification or excretion of metals.

For those with chronic conditions, fatigue - regardless of the underlying disease, is primarily associated with hypersensitivity to inorganic and organic mercury, nickel, and gold.

Mercury (especially mercury vapor) rapidly crosses the blood brain barrier and is stored preferentially in the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and occipital cortex in direct proportion to the number and extent of amalgam surfaces. Thus, mercury has a greater effect on the functions of these areas. The range in one study was 2.4 to 28.7 ppb, and one study found on average that 77% of the mercury in the occipital cortex was inorganic.

A direct mechanism involving mercury's inhibition of cellular enzymatic processes by binding with the hydroxyl radical(SH) in amino acids, appears to be a major part of the connection to allergic/immune reactive conditions such as lupus and schleraderma, as well as CFS and FM that are also related to inflammatory cytokine processes and autoimmunity.

One study found that insertion of amalgam fillings or nickel dental materials causes a suppression of the number of T-lymphocytes, and impairs the T-4/T-8 ratio. Low T4/T8 ratio has been found to be a factor in lupus, anemia, MS, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, and glomerulonephritis. Mercury induced autoimmunity in animals and humans has been found to be associated with mercury's expression of major histocompatibility complex(MHC) class II genes. Both mercuric and methyl mercury chlorides caused dose dependent reduction in immune B-cell production. B-cell expression of IgE receptors were significantly reduced, with a rapid and sustained elevation in intracellular levels of calcium induced.

Mercury and other toxic metals also form inorganic compounds with OH, NH2, CL, in addition to the SH radical and thus inhibits many cellular enzyme processes, coenzymes, hormones, and blood cells. Mercury has been found to impair conversion of thyroid T4 hormone to the active T3 form as well as causing autoimmune thyroiditis common to such patients.

In general, immune activation from toxic metals such as mercury resulting in cytokine release and abnormalities of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal(HPA) axis, can cause changes in the brain, hypocortisolism, fatigue, and severe psychological symptoms, such as profound fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal and neurological problems as are seen in CFS, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune thyroiditis. Such hypersensitivity has been found most common in those with genetic predisposition to heavy metal sensitivity, such as found more frequently in patients with human lymphocyte antigens(HLA-DRA). A significant portion of the population appear to fall in this category.

Mercury exposure through dental fillings appears to be a major factor in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS) through its effects on ATP and the immune system(lymphocyte reactivity, neutraphil activity, effects on T-cells and B-cells), as well as its promotion of growth of candida albicans in the body, and the methylation of inorganic mercury by candida and intestinal bacteria, to the extremely toxic methyl mercury form, which like mercury vapor crosses the blood-brain barrier, and also damages and weakens the immune system.

Mercury vapor or inorganic mercury have been shown in animal studies to induce autoimmune reactions and disease through effects on immune system T-cells. Chronic immune activation is common in CFS, with an increase in activated CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells, and decreased NK (Natural Killer) cells. CFS patients usually improve, and immune reactivity is reduced, when amalgam fillings are replaced.

Mercury lymphocyte reactivity, effects on glutamate in the CNS (Central Nervous System), and mercury induced hypothyroidism, induce CFS-type symptoms including profound tiredness, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal and neurological problems, along with other CFS symptoms and fibromyalgia.

Mercury has been found to be a common cause of fibromyalgia. Glutamate is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and in the CNS acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter, which also causes inflow of calcium. Astrocytes, a type of cell in the brain and CNS with the task of keeping clean the area around nerve cells and facilitating neurotransmission, have a function of neutralizing excess glutamate by transforming it to glutamic acid. If astrocytes are not able to rapidly neutralize excess glutamate, then a buildup of glutamate and calcium occurs, causing swelling and neurotoxic effects. Mercury and other toxic metals inhibit astrocyte function in the brain and CNS, causing increased glutamate and calcium related neurotoxicity, which are responsible for many of the fibromyalgia symptoms. This is also a factor in conditions such as CFS, Parkinson's, and ALS.

Animal studies have confirmed that increased levels of glutamate (or aspartate, another amino acid excitatory neurotransmitter), cause increased sensitivity to pain , as well as higher body temperature - both found in CFS/fibromyalgia. Mercury and increased glutamate activate free radical forming processes like xanthine oxidase which produce oxygen radicals and oxidative neurological damage. Medical studies and doctors treating fibromyalgia have found that supplements which cause a decrease in glutamate, or protect against its effects, have a positive effect on fibromyalgia. Some that have been found to be effective include vitamin B6, methylcobalamin(B12), L-carnitine, choline, ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, vitamins C and E, nicotine, and omega 3 fatty acids (fish and flaxseed oil-GLA,EPA,DHA).

Other supplements that also have been found to help are magnesium and malic acid. Avoidance of excitotoxins like MSG and aspartame have been found to eliminate symptoms in some with fibromyalgia.

Clinical tests of patients with chronic neurological conditions, Lupus(SLE), and rheumatoid arthritis, have found that the patients generally have elevated plasma cysteine to sulphate ratios, with the average being 500%higher than controls, and in general being poor sulphur oxidizers. This means that these patients have insufficient sulfates available to carry out necessary bodily processes.

Mercury has been shown to diminish and block sulphur oxidation, and thus reducing glutathione levels, which is the part of this process involved in detoxifying and excretion of toxics like mercury. Glutathione is produced through the sulphur oxidation side of this process. Low levels of available glutathione have been shown to increase mercury retention and increase toxic effects, while high levels of free cysteine have been demonstrated to make toxicity due to inorganic mercury more severe. Mercury has also been found to play a part in inducing intolerance and neuronal problems through blockage of the P-450 liver enzymatic process.

Mercury from amalgam interferes with production of cytokines that activate macrophage and neutraphils, disabling early control of viruses and leading to enhanced infection. Animal studies have confirmed that mercury increases effects of the herpes simplex virus type 2 for example.

Mercury damages the immune system, and in those with chronic conditions, has been found to commonly facilitate infestation by pathogens such as viruses, harmful bacteria, mycoplasma, candida, and parasites. The majority of those tested who have CFS or fibromyalgia have been found to have infections of mycoplasma, Human Herpes Virus-6, Cytomegalovirus, or bacterial infections such as intracellular chlamydia.

Clinics treating these conditions commonly find such pathogens to be a factor in the condition. Mercury detoxification and treatment of these pathogens results in significant improvement in the majority of those treated.

It has been well documented by hundreds of medical studies including thousands of tested subjects, and by scientific panels, that "amalgam fillings" are the number one source of mercury in people, and that those with several amalgam fillings often have daily exposures exceeding the Government Health Standards for mercury.

Thus, among those most susceptible, significant neurological and immune effects related to amalgam fillings are common. Symptoms of those with CFS, fibromyalgia, or thyroid related conditions, usually improve significantly after proper amalgam replacement.

In thousands of cases undergoing amalgam replacement, the majority recovered or had significant improvement in symptoms for muscular/joint pain/fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, lupus, autoimmune thyroiditis, as well as many other conditions.

Of one group of 86 patients with CFS symptoms, 78% reported significant health improvements after replacement of amalgam fillings within a relatively short period, and the MELISA immune reactivity test found significant reduction in lymphocute reactivity compared to pre removal tests.

The improvement in symptoms and lymphocute reactivity imply that most of the Hg-induced lymphocute reactivity is allergenic in nature. Although patch tests for mercury allergy are often given for unresolved oral symptoms, this is not generally recommended as a high percentage of such problems are resolved irrespective of the outcome of a patch test.Exposure to organochlorine compounds such as DDT/DDE and hexachlorobenzene have also been found to be highly correlated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Back in the Sun -- No More Lupus!

My Story by Debbie Seliga
Living Nutrition Magazine vol. 5

I feel like a walking miracle! Not a day goes by without my taking time to to appreciate my self-healing body. I just completed my first healthy year after living for 19 years with lupus, a chronic condition which my doctors told me was medically incurable.

When I was 33 I began having health problems that seriously affected my life: fatigue, exhaustion, migraine headaches, rashes, skin lesions, sun sensitivity, hair loss, joint pain, and more. Previous to this I led an active lifestyle with my husband and two young sons, enjoying aerobics, running, swimming and skiing.

Doctors were amazed when they learned of all my symptoms -- they said I looked like the picture of health. Examinations and tests proved unsuccessful in determining the cause of the problem. Two years later I saw a dermatologist (my 5th doctor) who diagnosed skin lesions on my scalp as a mild case of psoriasis. When a clump of hair the size of a silver dollar fell from the back of my head, I insisted on a biopsy. The results came back positive for "Discoid Lupus." The doctor prescribed Prednisone and Placqanel, and explained that there is no cure nor any know cause for this condition.

After four months I decided to discontinue the medication because of the long-term effects. Staying out of the sun helped me the most, but that was not always possible. Thus, I applied sunscreen strength 50 daily, wore long sleeves, slacks and a hat outside. I sought to learn about lupus by joining the Lupus Foundation and reading on my own. Most people with lupus whom I met shared a common hopelessness about the "disease" and agony over the drug treatments.

My search for information lead me to a chiropractor trained in nutrition and the Bioenergetic Synchronization Technique. He encouraged me to give up red meat plus the "four whites": salt, sugar, flour and dairy. He also introduced me to juicing and the principles of proper food combining. I made these changes and immediately my energy improved, headaches disappeared and other symptoms were lessened. This gave me new determination to find the missing pieces of the puzzle.

The more my body unclogged and cleansed, the better I felt. This motivated me to eat a vegetarian diet and then a vegan diet. I found that if I wavered from eating only the good foods my existing symptoms would become worse and past symptoms would return. While I felt much better, the sun still exacerbated my symptoms and the lupus still dictated my activities.

The summer of 1995 was the worst of my life. It was hot, humid and sunny and my symptoms suddenly became more severe than ever. I saw my rheumatologist for a complete work-up. She listened and examined me carefully, but all she could offer was prescription drugs. I went home scared and discouraged. The reality of the situation forced me to evaluate everything I was doing and why I felt so miserable. I decided my system still needed more cleansing, not toxic drugs.

That week I decided to exercise more frequently. I began by
walking every morning for for a half hour or more in the woods. During these walks I gained deeper insight into my health, and it became apparent that exercise helped my body process and remove toxins.

Later in 1995 my son Todd introduced me to the book, "Mucusless Diet Healing System" by Professor Arnold Ehret. It discusses the value of eating raw fruits and vegetables for conquering any illness. During the two weeks of following Ehret's transitional diet I gained more energy and became symptom-free except for the sun sensitivity. The less cooked food and more raw food I ate the better I felt and more energy I had to resume an active life. I no longer had any doubts that I would be able to conquer the lupus. I was much better, even though the sun sensitivity remained.

During my long ordeal I always drew strength from my loving family's support. Todd's keen interests in completely overcoming his own health challenge (severe tendonitis) and fine tuning his raw food eating led him to find David Klein over the internet, and in the spring of 1997 Todd visited David in California. Todd's experience with David's valuable health mentoring led me to speak with David and then Roe Gallo. They offered welcome words of encouragement and new insight into the lupus. They explained that lupus symptoms are nothing more than indications of the body's level of toxemia. I realized that I needed to eat 100% raw all of the time to allow my body to heal. This understanding gave me new emotional strength. It was time to end this journey with lupus.

I stopped polluting my body with sunscreen and began exposing my bare feet to the sun for five minutes each day, with encouraging results. In mid June 1997 I was feeling well and confident enough to try wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Walking outside, the sun rays hit my legs and gave me the most electrifying sensation of my life! The energy from the sun radiated throughout my body. From that feeling I knew I had conquered the lupus!

Today I continue to eat 100% raw fruits and vegetables and work at balancing and simplifying my life. Learning of "the 100% raw food solution" not only helped give me my life back, it has also given me a natural mind-body-spirit connection that is beyond description. At age 51 I am healthier and more energetic than at any other time in my life!

I swim, bicycle, hike, kayak and rollerblade with my family -- in the sun!

I now live each new day more easily and joyfully.

by Debbie Seliga

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