It is likely if you are reading this that you have already decided that you want to use a certified biological dentist practiced in Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) to help with removal of your mercury dental amalgams due to recurrent decay or fracture found. Congratulations! Dr. Carmen Burke is a great choice as she is SMART certified, and also is an active member of the IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology) and the Holistic Dental Association (HDA). You can be assured that your removal process will be done in a manner that minimizes further exposure to mercury and mercury vapor.
HOWEVER, did you know that even under the safest of removal conditions that the process of removal itself may still cause inflammation and re-distribution of mercury already stored in mouth, nasal/sinus and organ tissues? This may lead to a worsening of symptoms, re-distribution, and even what is termed a “dump phase” where blood levels of mercury and other metals may rise precipitously after amalgam removal. These issues may be avoided with some preparation and planning before, during and after the removal process. Here are things you should think about doing:
Consider consulting a qualified mercury detoxification expert
Detoxification protocols can be very patient specific, and usually require tailoring of a regimen specific to that person. This single step may save you a LOT of time and “down” days.
Consider having a Quicksilver Scientific Mercury Tri-Test or Blood Metals Panel done
Mercury toxicity commonly causes dysregulation of bodily detoxification systems involved with detoxification of OTHER heavy metals and environmental pollutants causing them to rise as well. Arsenic, cadmium and lead are common, among others. The Quicksilver Scientific Blood Metals Panel may help to find issues with other heavy metals and disrupted minerals levels that may need to be addressed with detoxification therapy. Ask Dr. Burke or her staff for more information on testing. You can pick up a test kit at Dr. Burke’s office, and even have your blood drawn for the test in her office.
Avoid fish or seafood for several weeks prior to removal
Fish and seafood, REGARDLESS of whether it is wild caught or farmed, and REGARDLESS of species, all contain methylmercury. This puts an additional burden of mercury on the gut, liver, kidneys and lymph. Avoiding fish or seafood for a period prior to removal will help reduce blood levels and inhibition of drainage pathways.
Before amalgam removal pre-detoxification
Every person is different and may require different levels and lengths of preparation before removal. It is generally NOT a good idea to go directly to removal if you are very sick! It should also be noted that “pre-detox” drainage and minerals loading are excellent steps to do before a full detox protocol.
One of the biggest problems that mercury causes is that it reduces the ability of the liver, kidney, lymph and gut to get rid of, or “drain” mercury itself, but also other heavy metals and environmental toxins. This leads to congested organs, and as the levels of heavy metals and other toxins rises, and symptoms of toxicity get worse. For this reason, it is a good idea to help relieve the burden of toxins by using drainage formulations to reverse damage caused by mercury. Some examples of drainage formulations that are effective in improving drainage are: Soluna or Pekana Detox Kits, which have separate components for liver, kidney and lymph, Ayush Rentone for kidney support, and combinations of bitters and binders to “push” bile flow, and then “catch” those toxins so that they are released via the feces and not recirculated. Numerous scientific studies reveal that up to 95% of methylmercury is “re-circulated” in the body and not eliminated via the feces.
Minerals are an essential part of the detoxification processes in our bodies, and mercury exposure may “hijack” minerals leading to imbalanced and depleted minerals levels. For this reason, it is a good idea to consider using a multi-mineral formulation to build minerals levels to aid with detoxification processes. It should be noted that it is common that people with mercury toxicity to have issues with copper and iron overabundance, and therefore one should look for a supplement without either until it can be established whether they need iron or copper prior to supplementation. (This is typically done with analysis of levels via lab testing).
During the amalgam removal process
The SMART dental amalgam removal process will dramatically reduce the exposure of mercury particulate and mercury vapors, but it may not eliminate exposure 100%. Due to this consideration, it is a good idea to use binders to grab particulates and inflammatory products shunted to the gut. It is recommended to use Quicksilver IMD to bind metals directly prior to removal, and a combination of IMD and charcoal/clay binders directly after. To help reduce inflammation, high dose vitamin C (1000 to 2000mg) may be used directly after removal as well. Liposomal vitamin C is the most highly absorbed, but other C supplements may be used.
After the amalgam removal process
If laboratory testing or symptoms indicate high mercury levels, it is a good idea to begin a mercury detoxification regimen after removal. Analysis of laboratory testing indicates that many folks will continue to retain mercury for many years (over a decade) after amalgam removal. Exposure to mercury has been mitigated by amalgam removal, but the innate ability of the body to get rid of or detoxify mercury may have been damaged due to the high body burden of mercury.
There are many protocols for detoxification of mercury and heavy metals, but not all are equal or appropriate for certain patients. Chemical chelation using IV DMPS, DMSA,EDTA, and other chelation agents are very common. The use of chemical chelation is controversial as it can raise levels of metals in the blood to levels that “overrun” or exceed the ability of organs to drain mercury out via urine, feces, sweat, strip minerals vital to detoxification, and in many people cause an increase in symptoms and re-distribution of metals to organs and the brain. Chemical chelation does little or nothing to improve the body’s ability to detox on its own and does not address environmental pollutants. Chemical chelation protocols are rarely dosed for specific patients and often this “one size fits all” approach may be more harmful than helpful for some.
Another approach is to continue to use the drainage elements previously described and begin to use supplemental agents including binders, antioxidants (vitamin C, R-lipoic acid) and liposomal glutathione in escalating doses to up-regulate innate physiologic detoxification processes. The advantages of this type of protocol are that they are less likely to exceed organ drainage potential, and also help rid the body of environmental pollutants like pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, hormones, plastics (etc.) that we are exposed to everyday and cause symptoms similar to heavy metals exposure. The costs of either therapy are similar, and the advantages of using supplements versus chemical chelation include they can be done at home, versus multiple appointments to go to the doctor’s office and be hooked up to IV’s and can be tapered or tailored for the specific patient in order to minimize adverse effects.
In my opinion, the local company Quicksilver Scientific has the most thorough approaches and scientific research in mercury and heavy metals removal. They have kits and protocols that have helped thousands of people rid their bodies of mercury and other heavy metals successfully and are recognized worldwide as leaders in the detoxification and testing for heavy metals. Dr. Christopher Shade has a PhD in mercury chemistry and has spent his life in pursuit of knowledge in human physiologic detoxification strategies of mercury and heavy metals. It is beyond the scope of this article to detail the various strategies and methods involved, but you will find more information including lectures and videos describing the various aspects of detoxification and testing at www.quicksilverscientific.com.
Christopher Turf, R.Ph.
Christopher Turf works as a clinical consultant in conventional and natural medicine therapies in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, consulting with patients from around the world. Chris’s expertise includes chronic health conditions, heavy metals testing and detox, autoimmune disorders, nutrigenomics, hormone replacement therapies, GI inflammation and dysbiosis, blocked detox pathways, adrenal deficiencies, identifying drug interactions, drug/nutrient interactions and depletions, and product formulations.
A certified compounding pharmacist and herbalist with 25 years of experience, Chris grew up in the Rockies, where, from an early age, he began studying cultivation of garden plants and identification of wild edible and medicinal plants. He graduated with honors from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and received its Clinical Pharmacy Award in 1992. Chris continued his education in herbalism through Bastyr University’s Herbal Science program, and received advanced compounding training through PCCA, Gallipot and Medisca, the country’s leading pharmaceutical compounding professional programs.
From 2001 to 2011 Chris served as Head Pharmacist and Director of Pharmacy at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy. Pharmaca delivers conventional and compounded prescription services, along with a full compliment of herbal, homeopathic and functional food supplements with a professional staff of pharmacists, herbalists, naturopaths, homeopaths, estheticians and nutritionists. To date Pharmaca has grown to 30 stores in a 5 state area.
Following his tenure at Pharmaca and prior to establishing his own practice, Chris was Chief Clinician at Quicksilver Scientific, a laboratory that specializes in superior liposomal delivery systems, mercury testing and blood metal/nutrient testing. At Quicksilver, Chris’s intensive study of heavy metals chemistry and mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, coupled with Quicksilver’s state of the art testing and liposomal product formulation, made for an environment of discovery and enlightenment. It became even more clear that many of the maladies that seem to be unexplained by conventional medicine are related, and may be explained by altered detoxification ability, dietary habits, epigenetics and environmental exposure. Even more exciting to Chris, was his deepening understanding of how disease states can be altered with the proper application of lifestyle, dietary modification and targeted supplementation strategies. For more information see www.functionaltherapeutics.org