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Mercury
Mercury Information
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MERCURY

Number 80 on the "periodic table" of elements


Mercury or "quicksilver," is a shiny liquid metal that is a widespread environmental contaminant. The levels of mercury in our bodies today are much higher because of its greater use in recent times. Mercury is employed daily by medical and dental practices in thermometers, drugs and amalgam for fillings. It is also present in fungicides and pesticides and in some cosmetics. Mercury from industrial waste has contaminated our fresh- and salt-waters and to the plants and fish therein.

An average body contains about 10-15 mg. of mercury. This comes daily from our food, air, and water. Mercury is not well absorbed through the intestinal tract, only about 5-10 percent. Inhaled mercury fumes go into the blood, since it is soluble and passes through the lungs. Some mercury is retained in body tissues, mainly in the kidneys. The kidneys store about 50 percent of the body mercury. The blood, bones, liver, spleen, brain, and fat tissue also hold mercury. This potentially toxic metal does get into the brain and nerve tissue, so central nervous system symptoms may develop. Mercury can also get into a growing fetus and into breast milk. Mercury is eliminated daily through the urine and feces. Urine levels would show whether the body is actively working to eliminate it.


Mercury has the following effects (simplified) on the body:
  • disruption of the nervous system:
  • damage to brain functions - degradation of learning abilities, personality changes, tremors, vision changes, deafness, muscle incoordination and memory loss ;
  • DNA and chromosonal damage - chromosonal damage is known to cause mongolism;
  • allergic reactions resulting in skin rashes, tiredness and headaches;
  • disrupting reproductive functions such as sperm damage, birth defects and miscarriages

Toxicity Limits
The average overall daily intake is between 30-50 mcg. Acceptable levels are between 0.02 - 0.03 ppm depending on what was analysed. Readings above 0.05 ppm should be cause for concern. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal and concentration levels should ideally be 0

Accuracy of the test
Reputable establishments such as schools and universities are using the mercury kit in their establishments. This attest to the accuracy and acceptability of the kit. Listing of such establishments and articles where the kit was used follows:
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, CA USA - used in various experiments to develop science cirriculum for state schools;
  • Kent State University, OH USA - PhD. student used mercury kit in PhD thesis project - read his statement:
    "Yes, I used them in my analyses of urine and fecal samples of wild primates. It took several weeks of tweaking my experiment in a lab here in the U.S. but I finally figured a relatively reliable method (since Hg measurement in feces was a small problem). In the end the kits worked great, granted sometimes the fecal measurements did not always show up. This is largely in part due to specific digestive mechanisms of some species of primates. A couple of samples turned green, which I think indicate the presence of digestive enzymes."

    View his paper

Sources
Mercury is widely used in industry, agriculture, and health care. Common uses of mercury include:
  • Fungicides and pesticides - a large source, used worldwide to treat grains and seeds. Methyl mercury is the most common form here;
  • Cosmetics - mercury is added to decrease bacterial growth;
  • Dental fillings - mercury, in the past, is widely used as silver-mercury amalgam. Dentists no longer do as they feel that it leads to a variety of problems. The American Dental Association still claims that there is no proven mercury toxicity due to dental amalgams;
  • Medicines - organic mercurial diuretics have been the most common, though these are less used these days. Mercury-containing cathartics, anthelminetics, and teething powders were also employed in the past. Broken thermometers can increase mercury exposure, and mecurochrome also contains mercury;
  • Coal burning - this releases mercury into the atmosphere;
  • Fish- fish may contain varying amounts of mercury. Ocean bacteria, algae, and small fish do have some. Mercury concentrations usually increase with the size of the fish. An excessive intake of fish foods may lead to increased body levels of mercury;
  • Other sources of mercury are mirrors, latex paints, fabric softeners, felt, floor waxes and polishes, sewage sludge, laxatives containing calomel, cinnabar jewelry, tatoo dyes, and many others. Most of these are not specifically mercury toxic, as they do not give off high amounts of volatile mercury. Fungicides are the most widely used and probably the most potentially toxic.

Mercury Toxicity
Mercury has no known essential functions to the body. Mercury probably affects the protein structure that in turn may interfere with functions relating to protein production. Mercury has a strong affinity for sulfhydryl, amine, phosphoryl, and carboxyl groups. It affects a wide range of enzyme systems which can cause injury to cell membranes. However, none of mercury's specific body interactions are clearly defined, though the main problems seem to result from its attack on the nervous system. Mercury may also interfere with some functions of selenium, and can be an immunosuppressant.


Mercury Toxicity Symptoms
There are many processes and symptoms of mercury toxicity. Poisoning can come from four categories of mercury:
  • metallic or elemental mercury - this is relatively mild. Inorganic mercury, such as mercury chlorides primarily affect the kidneys. Organo-mercurials, such as mercury salts in diuretics or fungicides convert to inorganic mercury and short chain alkyl mercury compounds, of which methyl mercury is the most toxic, more so than ethyl or diethyl mercury.
  • Acute symptoms are caused mainly by mercuric chloride or methyl mercury exposure. Chronic, lower level exposure may lead to specific acute symptoms or to subtle renal and nervous system problems. Inhaled mercury has a different effect from ingested mercury, for which most symptoms are related to the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. Inhaling high levels of metallic mercury (in an industrial setting or a dentist's office) can cause acute symptoms, such as fever, chills, coughing, and chest pain. With low, long-term exposure, more subtle symptoms such as fatigue, headache, insomnia, nervousness, impaired judgment and coordination, emotional liability, and loss of sex drive, may be experienced. Ingested mercury may cause stomatitis and gastrointestinal inflammation, with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea, progressing to neurological problems. These symptoms, which are often confused with psychogenic causes, are referred to as "micromercurialism."
  • Mild or early symptoms of mercury intoxication include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, anorexia, loss of sex drive, headache, and forgetfulness or poor memory. This may lead to other nervous system symptoms, such as dizziness, tremors, incoordination, and depression. It then progress to numbness and tingling, most commonly of the hands, feet, or lips; and to further weakness, worse memory and coordination, reduced hearing and speech, paralysis, and psychosis. Mercury toxicity may be a factor in multiple sclerosis. Other problems of severe mercury intoxication are kidney and brain damage, as well as birth defects in pregnant women. The subtle and nervous system symptoms from low-level chronic exposure may be more common than we realize.

Mercury Diseases and Effects
Diseases and Effects caused by Mercury toxicity may be summarised (simplified) as follows:
  • disruption of the nervous system:
  • damage to brain functions - degradation of learning abilities, personality changes, tremors, vision changes, deafness, muscle incoordination and memory loss ;
  • DNA and chromosonal damage - chromosonal damage is known to cause mongolism;
  • allergic reactions resulting in skin rashes, tiredness and headaches;
  • disrupting reproductive functions such as sperm damage, birth defects and miscarriages



Check out the mercury in your body with our easy to use, home-based, HMT Mercury Test kit


Sample of a HMT Mercury Test kit with color strip for results analysis

Osumex HM-Chelat is most effective in eliminating heavy metals contamination in the body





The above information is provided for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace competent health care advice received from a knowledgeable healthcare professional. You are urged to seek healthcare advice for the treatment of any illness or disease.
Health Canada and the FDA (USA) have not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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