Results of Removal of Amalgam Fillings

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For the week following amalgam removal, body mercury levels increase significantly, depending on protective measures taken, but within two weeks, levels fall significantly. Chronic conditions can worsen temporarily but usually improve if adequate precautions are taken to reduce exposure during removal.

Removal of amalgam fillings result in a significant reduction in body burden and waste product load of mercury. Total reduction in mercury levels in blood and urine is often over 80% within a few months. On average, those with 29 amalgam surfaces excreted over three times more mercury in urine after DMPS challenge than those with 3 amalgam surfaces. Those with 45 amalgam surfaces excreted more than six times as much mercury.

For the case studies of amalgam replacement referenced here, some clinics primarily replaced amalgam fillings using patient protective and supportive measures comparable to Dr. Huggins’ “total dental revision” in which all metals (not just mercury) are replaced with biocompatible alternatives, root canalled teeth are extracted, and cavitations are cleaned. Thousands of documented cases show significant improvement of serious and chronic health problems after removal. These include

  • Periodontal (gum) diseases;
  • Oral lichen planus and leukoplakia;
  • Oral keratosis;
  • Immune system and autoimmune problems;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities;
  • Allergies;
  • Asthma;
  • Chronic headaches/migraines;
  • ADD/ADHD;
  • Tachycardia and heart problems;
  • Blood conditions;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Gastrointestinal problems;
  • Lupus/SLE;
  • Dizziness/vertigo;
  • Arthritis;
  • Neuropathy/paresthesia;
  • MS;
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease/ALS;
  • Alzheimer’s;
  • Parkinson’s;
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome/CFS;
  • Memory disorders;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Infertility;
  • Endometriosis;
  • Autism spectrum disorders;
  • Schizophrenia;
  • Depression;
  • Insomnia;
  • Anger;
  • Anxiety and mental confusion;
  • Susceptibility to infections;
  • Antibiotic resistant infection;
  • Cancer/leukemia;
  • Alopecia/hair loss;
  • Sinus problems;
  • Tinnitus/ringing ears;
  • Hearing loss;
  • Chronic eye conditions;
  • Vision disturbances;
  • Eczema and psoriasis;
  • Other skin conditions;
  • Hypothroid and autoimmune thyroiditis;
  • Urinary/prostate problems;
  • Candida;
  • PMS;
  • Diabetes; and
  • HIV/AIDS.

Chronic health effects are the result of cumulative and synergistic effects of all toxic substances and pathogens one is exposed to. All told, more than 60,000 cases of cured or significant improvements have been documented. These are not isolated cases. One clinic, for instance, reported full recovery or significant improvement:

  • In over 90% of cases of metallic taste, tender teeth, bad breath, and mouth sores.
  • In over 80% of cases of depression, irrational fear, headaches/migraines, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, bleeding gums, throat irritation, nasal congestion or discharge, muscle tremor, and leg cramps.
  • In over 70% of cases of bloating or intestinal cramps, skin reactions, sciatic pain, chest pain, poor memory, urinary disorders, fatigue, poor concentration/ADD, and watery eyes.
  • In over 60% of cases of allergies, constipation, muscle fatigue, cold hands/feet, and heart problems.

A Jerome meter was used to measure mercury vapor level in patients’ mouths, and the average was 54.6 micrograms mercury per cubic meter of air. This is far above the government health guidelines for mercury. Some of the above cases used chemical or natural chelation to reduce accumulated mercury body burden after amalgam replacement. Some clinics using DMPS for chelation reported post-replacement improvement in over 80% with chronic health problems. Other clinics reported similar success. The reported recovery rate among those using dentists with special equipment and training in proper and safe amalgam removal was much higher than among those receiving standard treatment: 97% vs. 37-88%.

The Huggins TDR protocol includes testing for levels of galvanic current in teeth that have been restored with metals, removing those with the greatest negative current first. Simply, the most charged teeth release the most metal into the body due to the electrolyte action of saliva. Removing the most charged materials first has been found to improve recovery rate for chronic conditions, such as epilepsy and autoimmune disorders.

With their TDR protocol, the Huggins Clinic has successfully treated more than a thousand patients with chronic autoimmune conditions such as MS, lupus, ALS, ADD/ADHD, and diabetes. About 85% have experienced significant improvement in MS. Compare this with results from a large German study of MS patients that found that the level of success was reached only by those who had problem teeth extracted. Only 16% of those who just had their amalgams replaced without benefit of TDR experienced recovery.

Other cases have similarly found that recovery from serious autoimmune diseases, dementia, or cancer may require more aggressive mercury removal techniques than simple filling replacement. This seems to be due to migration of mercury into the roots and soft tissues—mercury that is not addressed by simple replacement. Several medical studies have shown that this metal has direct routes to the brain and central nervous system.

Among those with chronic immune system problems with related immune antibodies, the types
showing the highest level of antibody reductions after amalgam removal include glomerular basement membrane, thyroglobulin and microsomal thyroid antigens.TDR and metals detox measures have been found to increase T-cells and immune function in AIDS patients.

Swedish researchers have developed a sophisticated test for immune/autoimmune reactions that has proven successful in diagnosing and treating environmentally caused diseases related to mercury and other immunotoxics. Interviews of a large population of Swedish patients who had amalgams removed due to health problems found that virtually all reported significant health improvements—and that these improvements were “permanent.” The duration of the study was 17 years. An even larger study found similar results. For instance, of those with allergies, 89% had significant improvement after amalgam removal.

Testing for Mercury

Clinical studies have found that patch testing is not a good predictor of success of amalgam removal, as many who have tested negative still recovered from chronic conditions after replacement of fillings. Feces is the major path through which mercury is excreted, correlating higher with total body burden than urine or blood, which tell more about recent exposures. Many researchers thus consider feces to be the most reliable indicator of daily exposure level to mercury and other toxins. The average mercury level in the feces of those with amalgam fillings is as much as 1 ppm and about 10 times that of similar groups without such fillings. When multiple fillings are present, values can rise to 10+ ppm and 170 times the exposure, with daily fecal mercury excretion levels ranging from 20 to 200 ug. The saliva test is another good measure for daily mercury exposure.

As mentioned, there is only a weak correlation between blood or urine mercury levels and body burden or level in an organ. Mercury vapor passes rapidly through the blood; its half-life in blood is just 10 seconds. Rather, it accumulates in other parts of the body, such as the brain, kidneys, liver, and hormonal glands.

Urine tests are similarly unreliable for gauging body burden after long term exposure. This is because the kidneys have a wealth of hydroxyl (SH) groups which mercury binds, causing the metal to accumulate and inhibiting excretion. Over time, as damage occurs, they excrete mercury even less efficiently.

Some researchers suggest hair offers a better indicator of mercury body burden than blood or urine, but hair testing is still not totally reliable. It may be a better indicator for organic mercury than inorganic. In the early stages of mercury exposure, before major systemic damage has occurred, researchers and doctors usually see high values for hemoglobin, hemocrit, alkaline phosphatase and lactic dehydroganese. Hair has been found to correlate significantly with both fish consumption and occupational exposure. It can be a good medium for monitoring internal mercury exposure; however, external occupational exposure can also affect hair levels.

One researcher suggests that hair mercury levels greater than 5 ppm are indicative of mercury intoxication. Hair samples from a Madrid population ranged from 1.3 to 92.5 ppm. This study found a significant positive correlation between maternal hair mercury and mercury level in nursing infants. Another found that hair mercury levels did not have a significant correlation with urine mercury or a significant correlation with the number of fillings.

A new test approved by the FDA for diagnosing damage from toxic metals is the fractionated porphyrin test, which measures the amount of damage and identifies the likely source. Mercury blocks enzymes needed to convert some types of porphyrins to hemoglobin and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The pattern of porphyrin levels gives an indication of likely toxic exposure, with high precoproporphyrin—and often coproporphyrin—almost always pointing to mercury toxicity.

Provocation or challenge tests after use of chemical chelators such as DMPS or DMSA also measure mercury body burden effectively. However, high levels of DMPS can be dangerous to some people, especially those with amalgam fillings or allergic to sulfur drugs or sulfites. Many studies using chemical chelators have found post-chelation levels to be poorly correlated with pre-chelation blood or urine levels, but one found a significant correlation when using DMPS.

Challenge tests using DMPS or DMSA appear to have a better correlation with body burden and toxicity symptoms such as concentration, memory and motor deficits, with many studies finding a significant correlation between post-chelation mercury level and the number of amalgam surfaces. On average, those with 29 amalgam surfaces excreted over three times more mercury in urine after DMPS challenge than those with 3 surfaces; those with 45 surfaces excrete over six times as much mercury.

Several doctors use 16 ug/L as the upper limit for mercury after a DMPS challenge and consider anyone with higher levels to have excess body burden, though one study found significant effects at lower levels. Some researchers believe that DMSA has fewer adverse side effects than DMPS and thus prefer to use it for chelation. Some studies have also found DMSA to be more effective at removing mercury from the brain. A common DMSA protocol—developed to avoid redistribution effects—is 50 mg orally every 4 hours for 3 days, followed by 11 off-days. Another chelator, EDTA, forms toxic compounds with mercury and can damage brain function. Generally used to clear clogged arteries, EDTA may need to be restricted in those with high mercury levels.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been found to be effective at increasing cellular glutathione levels and chelating mercury. Experienced doctors have also found additional zinc to be useful when chelating mercury, as well as counteracting the oxidative damage this metal can do. Zinc induces metallothionein, which protects against oxidative damage and increases protective enzyme activities and glutathione, which in turn tend to inhibit lipid peroxidation and suppress mercury toxicity. Zinc is also a mercury and copper antagonist and can be used to lower copper levels and protect against mercury damage.

Lipoic acid (LA) has been found to dramatically increase excretion of inorganic mercury—over 12 fold—but also to cause decreased excretion of organic mercury and copper. LA seems to have a protective effect regarding lead or inorganic mercury toxicity through its antioxidant properties but should not be used with high copper. It also has been found to have protective effects against cerebral ischemic-reperfusion, excitotoxic amino acid (glutamate) brain injury, mitochondrial dysfunction and diabetic neuropathy. LA and NAC have also been shown to increase glutathione levels and protect against superoxide radical/ peroxynitrite damage, so thus have an additional neuroprotective effect. Other antioxidants such as carnosine, coenzyme Q10, vitamins C and E, gingko biloba, gycnogenol and selenium have also been found protective against degenerative neurological conditions.

Tests Suggested by Drs. Huggins & Levy for Evaluation & Treatment of Mercury Toxicity

  • Hair element test
  • Low hair mercury level does NOT indicate low body burden.
  • Out of normal range indicates likely metals toxicity.
  • Blood work: CBC with differential and platelet count
  • Blood serum profile
  • Urinary mercury (Average level with average exposure to mercury via amalgams is 3-4 ppm. Levels lower than this often mean the person is a poor excretor of mercury, accumulating mercury in the body and likely mercury toxic.)
  • Fractionated porphyrins
  • Galvanic currents on each tooth
  • Patient questionnaires on exposure and symptom history
  • Specific gravity of urine as a gauge of pituitary function (A value above 1.022 is normal. A value below 1.008 is consistent with depression and suicidal tendencies.)

Test Results That Can Indicate Mercury/Metals Toxicity

Note: During initial exposure to mercury, the body marshals immune system and other measures to try to deal with the challenge, so many test indicators will be high. After prolonged exposure, measures to combat the challenge decrease, so some test values will show decline. Chronic conditions are common during this phase.

cts

Other potential markers:

  • DNA damage or cancer
  • Immune reactivity to mercury, nickel, alumninum, et al.
  • High hemoglobin, hemocrit, alkaline phosphatase and lactic dehydrogenese (LDA) during initial phases of exposure; low or marginal hemoglobin, hemocrit and oxyhemoglobin during long term chronic fatigue phase.

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