Safe Effective Healthcare

Archive for November 2012

Mercury Fillings: A Time Bomb In Your Head
by Charles W. Moore

Sweden has banned mercury amalgam dental fillings, effective January, 1997, after determining that at least 250,000 Swedes have immune and other health disorders directly related to the mercury in their teeth. Denmark will ban amalgams beginning in January 1999.

In 1991, Germany’s Health Ministry recommended to the German Dental Association that no further amalgam fillings be placed in children, pregnant women, or people with kidney disease, and in 1993 this was extended to include all women of child-bearing age, pregnant or not. Austria is also phasing out mercury fillings.

By contrast, the American Dental Association (ADA) says replacing amalgam fillings from non-allergic patients for the purpose of removing toxic substances from the body is “improper and unethical.” The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) insists that there is no scientific evidence linking medical illness symptoms to mercury fillings, except relatively rare allergic sensitivity to mercury. (The number of persons with a specific and detectable sensitivity to mercury may not be so small. According to a Health Canada report, as many as 15 percent of people with amalgam fillings show signs of sensitivity to mercury. Some American researchers claim that at least 20 percent of people with amalgam fillings are “mercury toxic.”)

What gives? Are the Europeans and Scandinavians hysterical Cassandras, in a sweat about nothing, or are the North American dental associations concerned about things other than patient health? Are mercury amalgam tooth fillings dangerous or not?

Amalgam tooth fillings are an alloy of 50 percent mercury, 35 percent silver, 13 percent tin, 2 percent copper, and a bit of zinc. Mercury toxicity was known in the 19th century, but amalgam’s cheapness, ease of placement, and durability kept it popular. Dentists argue that mercury fillings last longer than resin composites, and are more gentle to tooth pulp. Composites also require more skill and time to place.


Mercury is a poison that penetrates all living cells of the human body. It is more toxic than lead, cadmium and arsenic. The smallest amount of mercury that won’t damage human cells is unknown.


Unfortunately, mercury is a poison that penetrates all living cells of the human body. It is more toxic than lead, cadmium and arsenic. The smallest amount of mercury that won’t damage human cells is unknown. Autopsy studies show a correlation between the number of mercury fillings and mercury levels in the brain and kidneys. Research also indicates that amalgams have an adverse effect on the immune system’s T-lymphocyte count.

Scrap dental amalgam is classified hazardous waste by the American Environmental Protection Agency, and by law must be stored in unbreakable, sealed containers, and handled without touching. Dr. Sandra Denton, M.D., who specializes in treating chronic mercury toxicity, asks: “What is it about the mouth that makes this same stuff non-toxic?” Referring to American Dental Association (ADA) claims that amalgams have been proved safe in studies, Dr. Denton challenges them to produce such studies. They have not. “On the other hand,” says Denton, “research documenting mercury toxicity is voluminous.” She has collected some 3,000 articles and several books on the topic.

A Danish study found that Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients had eight times higher levels of mercury in their cerebrospinal fluid than healthy controls. An article in theJournal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology states: “Slow retrograde seepage of mercury from root canal or Class V amalgam fillings…may lead to multiple sclerosis in middle age.” Dr. Hal Huggins of Colorado Springs, Colorado, a dentist who has MS himself, treats MS victims and people with other chronic health problems by removing mercury amalgam fillings as well as with detoxification and nutritional supplementation. He claims that 80 to 85 percent of his patients improve significantly.

Despite Huggin’s successes, the U.S. Multiple Sclerosis Society opposes mercury amalgam removal, stating that they have found no scientific correlation between amalgams and MS. Dr. Huggins counters that if his results are to be written off as “anecdotal” or “placebo effect”, then he has the largest collection of sustained recurring anecdotal placebo responses in the world.

Antibiotic resistant bacterial disease has become a significant and growing public health problem over the past decade. Studies show that genes protecting bacteria against mercury poisoning often bundle together with other genes that give bacteria antibiotic resistant qualities. If amalgam fillings stimulate and maintain populations of mercury-resistant bacteria, it’s no major stretch to suggest that they might also be an agent in developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Research by Dr. Anne O. Summers, et al., at the University of Georgia shows such a relationship in monkeys. Dr. Summers put mercury fillings into the molars of monkeys. Within five weeks bacteria in the animals’ intestines became resistant not only to mercury, but also to common antibiotics like penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline.

Another monkey study by Dr. Stuart B. Levy at Tufts University found that before having mercury fillings, an average of one percent of the monkeys’ oral, and nine percent of their intestinal Enterobacteriacae were antibiotic-resistant. After receiving mercury fillings, 13 percent of oral and up to 70 percent of intestinal bugs became antibiotic resistant. The ADA responds by reiterating its stand that mercury fillings are safe, and arguing that animal studies “cannot be viewed as affecting humans.”


It is well-established that elemental mercury vapour emits from amalgam tooth fillings during chewing, brushing, and eating hot and/or acidic foods.


It is well-established that elemental mercury vapour emits from amalgam tooth fillings during chewing, brushing, and eating hot and/or acidic foods. Most of this vapour is inhaled. allowing efficient absorption across the alveolar membrane in the lungs. Mercury easily crosses the blood/brain barrier – the brain and nervous system’s main natural defense against many toxic substances. It can bind strongly to sulfur-containing proteins in nerve tissue (which may explain the association with MS – a disease of the nerve sheaths), and deposits in virtually all body tissues and organs. In experiments on mercury fillings in sheep, Dr. Murray Vimy, a dentist at the University of Calgary, proved that mercury migrates from the teeth into nearly all body tissues, especially the brain, kidneys, and liver.

The average dentist handles two or three pounds of mercury annually. According to Consumer Reports, up to 10 percent of dental offices have mercury vapour levels exceeding 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air – the upper limit considered safe for eight-hour workplace exposures. Dr. Sandra Denton cites a study at the University of North Texas that found neuropsychological dysfunction in 90 percent of dentists tested. Female dental personnel have a higher spontaneous abortion rate, higher incidence of premature labour, and elevated perinatal mortality, which has been substantiated by the EPA to be characteristic of women chronically exposed to mercury vapour. Stillbirths are significantly correlated with maternal blood mercury levels. Methyl mercury, the organic form of mercury that forms after oral ingestion of mercury, is 100 times more toxic than elemental mercury. Methyl mercury easily crosses the placental barrier and builds up 30 percent  higher red blood cell levels in the unborn child than the mother.

The CDA counters that with billions of mercury amalgam fillings placed, there is no apparent epidemic of ill health effects. However, others argue that so many people have mercury fillings that no effective control group exists. Former Health Canada biologist Mark Richardson, who researched the scientific literature on mercury toxicity in preparing a risk assessment, notes that it is people wanting to maintain the status quo who conclude that there is no evidence that mercury toxicity is a health problem. He refers to the tobacco industry’s stalwart insistence that studies linking smoking to lung cancer are unscientific. Richardson’s report, under consideration by Health Canada, recommends limiting the number of mercury fillings per person.

Stubborn reluctance of dental associations to acknowledge the health risk of mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings may indeed have much in common with tobacco company tactics. If diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity are linked to mercury exposure from tooth fillings, significant potential exists for individual or class action lawsuits against dentists. Indeed, the German Dental Association has stated that if the government recommends further limitations on amalgam use, it will advise its members to stop using amalgams completely due to increasing risk of legal liability. The truth will eventually out, and if mercury fillings are indeed eventually proved harmful, a history of foot-dragging will not bolster the dental community’s case in court.

Dr. Murray Vimy is certain that every time you chew, brush, or grind your teeth you absorb mercury. However, he councils against panic and suggests that mercury fillings be replaced with non-mercury materials like resin composites, porcelain, or gold, as needed. There is some risk that mass replacements could expose the patient to more mercury than if old fillings were left alone.

Charles Moore is a freelance writer living in rural Nova Scotia who specializes in health issues.

by Dr Paul Clayton

We were not designed to swallow vitamin pills; we were designed to consume food. But as the incidence of multiple micronutrient depletion continues to increase, the need for additional micronutrients is probably greater now than at any time in the last century. But are the USP vitamins and inorganic minerals used in so many supplements really the solution? Recent work shows that they may be considerably sub-optimal delivery systems for the micronutrients we need – and that Food State supplements offer considerable advantages.

Food State supplements present vitamins and minerals in a format as close as possible to the foods where those micronutrients naturally occur. Food State vitamin C, for example, is presented in a citrus extract, which also contains the flavonoids naturally present in citrus fruit. In Food State selenium, on the other hand, the mineral is presented in a variety of bound forms in a yeast substrate.

There are clear reasons for these choices of substrates, and equally clear advantages.

FOOD STATE VITAMINS 
USP Vitamin C, for example, is notoriously unstable, and degrades rapidly during heating – which is why the vitamin C content of foods falls during storage, and especially during cooking. Food State vitamin C, in marked contrast, is stable enough to survive cooking almost untouched, showing only 5% loss over a full pasteurisation cycle (Cytoplan Ltd internal report, available on request). This is because in Food State the vitamin C is stabilised by carrier or chaperone molecules, which protect it
from degradation – the same molecules which help maintain ascorbates in reduced form in the live fruit.

Critically, from the health point of view, Food State vitamin C is better absorbed than USP C. In comparative animal (1) and human trials (2), Food State C provides nearly double the plasma protection (AUC) of USP vitamin C. This enhancement is probably due to the improved stability of Food State C in the small bowel (3), and to the flavonoid- enhanced storage of Food State C in the liver (paper cited in Vinson 91)
Because of these improved uptake and storage characteristics, Food State C enters the bloodstream slightly later than USP vitamin C, but reaches higher levels and stays there longer (1, 2). Food State C also achieves higher levels in erythrocytes (red blood cells) (5), which is thought to confer other benefits (see below).

When citrus extract is combined with vitamin C, the naturally occurring flavonoids in citrus extract confer synergistic antioxidant activity, giving the combination an antioxidant capacity up to an order of magnitude greater than the equivalent amount of USP vitamin C (4). This synergistic action, together with the fact that Food State C achieves higher levels in erythrocytes than USP C (5), helps to explain why Food
State vitamin C is more bio-effective than USP vitamin C.

For example, the glucose metabolite sorbitol accumulates in tissues as glucose plasma levels increase (ie in diabetes), and is implicated in causing the long-term complications of diabetes such as retinopathy, cataracts, renal damage and atherosclerosis. Compared to USP Vitamin C, Food State C is more effective at lowering erythrocyte sorbitol levels in human subjects (5). In diabetic subjects, Food State C reduced erythrocyte sorbitol by 44.5% (5).

In related animal studies, Food State C was more effective than USP C at protecting rats from sugar-induced cataracts (6), reducing both their numbers and severity. In hypercholesterolaemic hamsters, Food State C was more effective than either USP C or flavonoids on their own at lowering LDL cholesterol levels, inhibiting cholesterol oxidation, and as a result strongly inhibiting atherosclerosis (7).

Finally, Food State was found to be highly effective at preventing AGE formation in human subjects, cutting it by 46.8% (8). AGE, or Advanced Gylaction End-products, are formed when high levels of glucose react with proteins, denaturing them and leading to loss of protein functions. AGE formation is increased in diabetes, and, as with increased sorbitol levels, is another important cause of diabetic complications.

FOOD STATE MINERALS 
Food State is equally suited to the enhanced delivery of trace metals. Delivery of copper (9), manganese (10) and zinc (11, 12) are all improved, but the data for selenium is a particularly good example.

Food State Selenium has better bioavailability than either Selenite or Selenium Chelate (13). At the same time it is considerably less toxic; its LD50 in rats is three to five times higher than that of inorganic selenium. (14).

In animal models, Food State Selenium is more effective at inhibiting LDL cholesterol oxidation than both inorganic Selenite and selenomethionine (15). This shows that Food State Selenium is more bio- effective than inorganic selenium, as the increased antioxidant protection is due to selenium which has been incorporated into glutathione
peroxidase, an important antioxidant enzyme which protects the body against the toxic effects of cholesterol oxidation.

Similarly enhanced human bio-efficacy is demonstrated by Food State Chromium, which is more effective in reducing blood glucose levels than inorganic chromium (16): and Food State Calcium, which is more effective than calcium gluconate at lowering diastolic BP in normotensive subjects (17).

The enhanced bioavailability and bioefficacy of Food State products are related to their presentation. In the foods in which micronutrients are found, those micronutrients are not present as simple USP molecules; rather, they are partitioned, and bound to carrier or chaperone molecules which protect them, and deliver them to the sites where they
will be stored or used. The chaperone molecules have a dual role, because they also shield the tissues from the potentially destructive effects of certain micronutrients such as copper or zinc, until these can be safely delivered to their storage sites. (Rouhi).

The chaperone molecules in yeast are believed to be similar to those in humans; and this helps to explain why Food State micronutrients are better absorbed, better tolerated and more bioeffective than their USP equivalents.

Dr Paul Clayton

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Vinson JA 83 : Comparative Bioavailability of Synthetic and Natural
Vitamin C in Guinea Pigs: Nutrition Reports International 27:875-880

2. Vinson JA, Bose P 88: Bioavailability of Synthetic Ascorbic Acid and
a Citrus Extract: Am J Clin Nut 48:601-604

3. Somogyi JC 45: An Investigation of Substances which Inhibit Vitamin
C Degradation: Z Vitaminforsch 16:134

4. Vinson JA 97: Synnergism of True Food C ™ and Citrus Extract.
Unpublished report, available from NO on request.

5. Vinson JA, Staretz ME, Bose P, Kassm HM, Basalyga BS 89: In Vitro
and In Vivo Reduction of Erythrocyte Sorbitol by Ascorbic Acid:
Diabetes 38:1036-1041

6. Vinson JA, POssanza CJ, Drack AV 86: The Effect of Ascorbic Acid
on Galactose-Induced Cataracts: Nutrition Reports International 33:665-
669

7. Vinson JA, Hu S-J, Jung S, Stanski AM 98: A Citrus Extract plus
Ascorbic Avid Decreases Lipds, Lipid Peroxides, Lipoprotein Oxidative
Susceptibility and Atherosclerosis in Hyoercholesterolaeimic Hamsters: J
Agric Food Chem 46:1453-1459

8. Vinson JA, Howard TB 96: Inhibition of Protein Glycation and
Advanced Glycation End-Products by Ascorbic Acid and Other Vitamins
and Nutrients. Nutritional Biochemistry 7:659-663

9. Vinson JA 81: Bioavailability of Copper. Unpublished data,
available on request.

10. Vinson JA 80: Bioavailability of Manganese. Unpublished data,
available on request.

11. Vinson JA 80: Bioavailability of Zinc. Unpublished data, available
on request.

12. Vinson JA 91: Bioavailability of Zinc. Unpublished data, available
on request.

13. Vinson JA, Bose P 81: Comparison of Bioavailability of Trace
Elements in Inorganic Salts, Amino Acid Chelates and Yeast. Proc
Mineral
Eelements 615-621

14. Vinson JA, Bose P 87: Comparison of the Toxicity of Inorganic and
Natural Selenium. In: Selenium in Biology & Medicine. Eds Combs GF,
Levander OA, Spallholz JE, Oldfield JE. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New
York
53:513-515

15. Vinson JA, Stella JM, Flanagan TJ 98: Selenium Yeast is an
Effective in vitro and in vivo Antioxidant and Hypolipemic Agent in
Normal Hamsters: Nutrition Research 18:735-742

16. Vinson JA, Hsiao K-H 85: Comparative Effects of various Forms of
Chromium on Serum Glucose: An Assay for Biologically Active
Chromium:
Nutrition Reports International 32:1-7

17. Vinson JA, Mazur T, Bose P 87: Comparison of Different Forms of
Calcium on Blood Pressure of Normotensive Young Males: Nutrition
Reports International 36:497-505