Naturopath Visit Re: Mercury

When I met with the midwife recently, she referred me to Dr Bigelow, ND. Dr B works within a community of natural healthcare providers that includes my previous ND, Dr Lu. Small world. My hopes was that Dr B would give me a clear picture of whether or not I needed to worry about the mercury in my amalgam fillings.

I met with Dr B today, and I am very happy with what went on. The clinic is at a school, so a resident and another student saw me first. I was very impressed with the resident as she was very thorough and competent. Questions were asked regarding what symptoms I have that could be related to mercury. I felt validated when I mentioned things like digestive problems, fatigue and cold feet, and she mentioned those were significant. Both students were very impressed that I’ve been on the GAPS diet for six months (I even saw a copy of Gut and Psychology Syndrome in the gift shop there). Very validating to have people confirm that I’m not a hypochondriac. Not that I think I am, but sometimes I think other people might think I am!

When Dr B came in, the resident filled her in, and it was nice to hear my symptoms being taking seriously and well as my dietary changes. Dr B immediately asked me if I was open to having my fillings removed. I said yes, and she suggested I have it done ASAP if I wanted to get pregnant soon. She said it’s best to wait at least three months after removal before getting pregnant. It wasn’t clear to me whether the removal process caused extra mercury to be released into the body (I know that dentists are supposed to use a protocol that minimizes this–if you ever want to have amalgams removed, by the way, make sure the dentist is using something like the IAOMT protocol) or if time was needed to clear free floating mercury from the system. She said if I was willing to wait a year to get pregnant, then she would want to remove the fillings slowly and do chelation over a year period. Unfortunately, I’ve already waited much longer than I wanted to get pregnant, and I am so ready to have another baby.

So the plan is for me to schedule a consultation with a dentist (I was given a list of dentists, and the one I had already picked out is on the list), and get the amalgam removal going as soon as possible. Dr B recommended porcelain fillings. (Composites have a substance similar to BPA but it’s not BPA so of course dentists will tell you they don’t contain BPA, but it’s still an endocrine disruptor. Just so you know).

I am to return to the ND clinic to have blood labs done. I’ve already had a renal function set and CBC done last month through my nephrologist (kidney doctor), but she also wants a CMP, lipids, FFT, vitamin D, and Ferritin done. She mentioned testing for thyroid issues but I don’t think any of those tests for that. None of these tests are for mercury, though she mentioned doing a mercury challenge test at some point. Some are for kidney function and others are probably to rule out other potential causes of my symptoms as well as making sure certain vitamin/mineral levels are where they need to be before I go into baby-making mode.

I was advised to avoid all mercury-containing fish. I mostly do this anyway, but she gave me Monterey Bay Aquarium as a source for information on what fish to avoid.

You may notice that Dr B was more interested in getting my mercury exposure as close to zero as possible before I conceive than she was in actually testing for mercury toxicity. This tells me she believes mercury in any amount is potentially harmful, especially to a developing fetus. She told me she regretted waiting to have her fillings out until after she had her kids. She doesn’t like that she gave them all that mercury exposure.

Speaking of which. Mercury not only can reach a fetus in the womb, but it is also transmitted through breastmilk. And mercury vapors can be released from the mouth and breathed by anyone around you. It’s awful to think how much mercury exposure my little boy has had in his four years (plus 9 months in the womb). This study suggests that a mother having 6 or more amalgam fillings when pregnant increases the risk of her child having severe autism over mild autism by 3.2-fold. It doesn’t tell us how much having amalgams would increase the likelihood of the child developing autism, but I am guessing they would have some impact. I have 8 9 fillings (two are really small). Boys now have a 1 in 54 chance of developing autism. How much greater chance would that be for a boy I give birth to, after exposing him to mercury in the womb?

Knowing what I know about mercury and amalgams, it feels irresponsible to keep them in my mouth and then get pregnant. As expensive as it may be to get a bunch of porcelain fillings placed, it’s got to be cheaper than having a kid with autism. Not to mention that having a healthy kid is priceless anyway.

[Update: I read the study abstract incorrectly. I have re-written part of the second to last paragraph to correct for that. Apologies if I scared anyone–good reminder to check the references!]

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