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Mercury Toxicity

 

Some of the most common topics that I get asked about are on “mercury toxicity,” “heavy metal detoxification” and “why fish oils are bad?” Here are several of the most recent questions that fall under these themes with my answers to them.

Q. “What should I look for when choosing a fish oil supplement?”

A. The body requires omega-3 essential fatty acids for a number of functions including, but certainly not limited to normal brain function, normal cell function and controlling inflammation.

Studies have shown that quality omega-3 essential fatty acids are as good, and in some cases better at controlling pain due to inflammation, and with no negative side effects that are often seen with prescription and over the counter medications. Everyone from birth to grave can benefit from omega-3s. Most people seek to get omega-3s from eating fish, but the concern I have with getting omega-3s from fish is the fact that our oceans are so polluted, that there is a risk that the oils can be contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals.

If you are going to take fish oil, I strongly advise that you make sure the supplement is certified mercury free. You can call the company if you are not sure, but if the company cannot give you the words, certified mercury free, I would consider not taking it.

Most good companies will use a cold distillation process to take out the mercury out of the fish oil. Mercury is toxic to everyone, but it’s especially bad for pregnant women and children.

Mercury is cumulative, that means it can build up in your body for many years and can lead to damage to the brain and nervous system. Now, that leads to the question, “Why should I take a supplement that once had mercury in it to begin with?”

Let me answer that question in a roundabout way. First, fish do not produce omega-3 fatty acids; they get them from eating smaller fish, which get them from eating smaller fish, which get them from eating algae. So, my view is to just cut out the “middle fish” and go directly to the source which is the algae, especially chlorella and spirulina. This is by far the best and safest source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Organic eggs can also be a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, but be careful if the egg is not organic and just says “high in omega-3s.” Often times, the chickens are fed rancid omega-3s, so the rancid, toxic omega-3s end up in the egg. There are a few different forms of omega-3 fatty acids. The ALA form can be found in plants such as dark greens, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and macadamia nuts. This form needs to be converted into the forms DHA and EPA, which are the form the human body requires. Your body can convert about 14% of the ALA into DHA and EPA, so if you eat a very good diet with lots of plant based ALA, you should be fine.

However, most everyone doesn’t eat the ideal diet, so it is good to supplement with an omega-3. I personally like to supplement my diet with an algae based supplement every day. I use Dr Joe’s Super Greens, which is available at www.DrJoeEsposito.com under the “products” link. It contains algae as well as several other nutrients. Udo’s oils, the ones that contain DHA and EPA, are also a good source. Krill oil is another good source of omega-3s, and is less likely to be contaminated than fish oil. Again, if you are going to take fish oil, or krill oil, be sure it is certified mercury free. You can expect to pay about $1 or less a day for a good quality omega 3 supplement. The cheap ones will cost you a lot more in the long run, including the risk of mercury toxicity and rancid oil consumption, which can make you sick. My grandfather taught me a long time ago, “Always buy the best, it is always cheaper!”

Q. If store-bought tuna contains mercury, why doesn’t sea salt?

A. Most of the mercury that’s found in our oceans comes from the burning of fossil fuels. As the smoke from the burning of fossil fuels goes into the atmosphere it floats over water and settles down in the water. The smoke contains mercury. Bacteria in the water ingest the mercury and convert it into methyl mercury. Now we are at the bottom of the food chain. Bigger organisms eat the bacteria and bigger organisms eat them and the mercury becomes more and more concentrated. By the time fish eat organisms higher up on the food chain the mercury is very concentrated in these organisms. The bigger the fish, the more food they have eaten over a lifetime and thus the higher concentration of the mercury. The mercury can concentrate itself in the fat of the fish. Tuna are rather fatty fish, so they have higher concentrations of mercury. In sea salt there probably is a trace of mercury, however, it’s not concentrated like it is in the fish and so it is substantially less toxic.

Q. I have been taking fish oil (per my doctor) for a few years and have been listening to you on the dangers of mercury. You’ve gotten my attention. I hear you state over and over that spirulina and chlorella are a better choice. My doctor wants me to have the EPA level of 750 mg a day. I cannot find anything that will tell me the EPA level in spirulina and or chlorella. Would you give me a ball park idea of how much to take to get close to that dose?

A. Not only does fish oil run the risk of containing mercury, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are in the triglyceride form which is not the ideal for humans. A better form of omega-3 fatty acids would be phospholipid form. We can find phospholipid form of the omega-3 fatty acids in Krill oil. Krill eat the chlorella and spirulina to build up their stores of omega-3s. So by eating lower on the food chain, chlorella and spirulina, you’re getting a much more usable form of the omega-3s than you would with fish without the risk of mercury toxicity. What I do is take Dr. Joe’s Super Greens every day which contains chlorella and spirulina and my omega-3 levels are fine. I take two scoops of the Super Greens every day. I also consume plant based omega-3 fatty acids in the form of green leafy vegetables, macadamia nuts and occasionally flaxseed and chia seeds. These contain omega-3 in the ALA form. They need to be converted into the DHA and EPA omega-3 forms which we utilize as humans. So the combination of the Super Greens and the plant based omega-3s are all that I need. I would suggest you try this and monitor your EPA levels. If that’s still not enough, then I can suggest more concentrated algae sources of omega-3.

Q. After years of suffering with chronic sinusitis and not getting results with traditional antibiotics, I tried using colloidal silver to treat my sinuses. I used it in saline sinus rinses and took it orally under the tongue and then by swallowing. I would only rinse my sinuses with it when I got a sinus infection. But I ingested about two to four tablespoons a day for about four months. About eight months after starting colloidal silver, I started suffering with vertigo. I had experienced a head and cervical injury about two weeks before the vertigo started. After a LOT of tests, X-rays, CTs, MRIs, hearing tests and balance tests, my doctors and physical therapists all thought the vertigo was due to a either the injury to my cervical spine or a virus that had come and gone in my inner ear. They thought it would stop within months to a year. I still feel off-kilter, and I have always wondered if the colloidal silver has been the culprit. Here are my questions regarding colloidal silver:

  • Is this a safe or dangerous product?
  • Could there be a connection between the colloidal silver and my vertigo?
  • Could the colloidal silver be affecting my brain function and causing cloudy thinking?
  • Is there a way to help cleanse my body of any silver that might still be lingering in my system?

I am interested in taking some more steps toward better nutrition, and I am wondering what you most recommend for maximum brain function.

A. Silver is a metal and metals have a tendency to concentrate in the brain of some people. The back part of your brain with the cerebellum controls balance. So I am not saying it is definitely correlated to your vertigo, however there is a chance that it is. It can also be affecting brain function and cause cloudy brain. If there is a buildup of heavy metals in the brain, there are certain things I would recommend that might help chelate the metals out of your system. I would need to take a look at your diet to see specifically what I would suggest. I would also want to test your cerebellum to see if it is involved, then show you ways we can reboot the cerebellum.

Regarding nutrition, I like to customize a nutrition plan each one of my patients because everyone has different nutritional needs. If I had to pick one specific supplement I would say that Dr. Joe’s Essential Source is my number one choice, but I would also take Dr. Joe Super Greens. I take these two nutritional supplements every single day.

If you have a specific health or pain related issue and you would like to set up a no charge, private consultation with me to evaluate your skeletal system to see if you do have pinched nerves that might be adversely affecting your health, please feel free to contact my office at770-427-7387. At that time,we can also evaluate the function of the nerves that control your organs to see if they are being pinched, we can do a screening on your digestive system to see how it is doing, and we can discuss diet as well. If we determine that this is something that I think we can work with, I’ll let you know, if not, perhaps I can give you some other recommendations. I prefer to get to the cause of health issues and not just treat the symptoms.

 

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