Townsend Letter The Examiner of Alternative Medicine
Alternative Medicine Conference Calendar
Check recent tables of contents


From the Townsend Letter
June 2007

Chronic Mercury Poisoning and Mercury Detoxification
by Tom McGuire, DDS

Search this site

Page 1, 2, 3


General Hussain S, et al. Mercuric chloride-induced reactive oxygen species and its effect on antioxidant enzymes in different regions of rat brain. J Environ Sci Health B. 1997 May; 32(3):395-409.

Mahboob M, et al. Lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzyme activity in different organs of mice exposed to low level of mercury. J Environ Sci Health B. 2001 Sep; 36(5):687-97. Web

Molin M, et al. Mercury, selenium, and glutathione peroxidase before and after amalgam removal in man. Acta Odontol Scand. 1990 Jun; 48(3):189-202.

Pizzichini M, et al. Influence of amalgam fillings on Hg levels and total antioxidant activity in plasma of healthy donors. Sci Total Environ. 2003 Jan 1; 301(1-3):43-50.

Zalups RK, et al. Relationships between alterations in glutathione metabolism and the disposition of inorganic mercury in rats: effects of biliary ligation and chemically induced modulation of glutathione status. Chem Biol Interact. 1999 Dec 15; 123(3):171-95.

Antioxidants: Specific
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Anuradha B, et al. Protective role of DL-alpha-lipoic acid against mercury-induced neural lipid peroxidation. Pharmacol Res. 1999 Jan; 39(1):67-80.

Busse E, et al. Influence of alpha-lipoic acid on intracellular glutathione in vitro and in vivo. Arzneimittelforschung. 1992 Jun; 42(6):829-31.

Gregus Z, Stein AF, Varga F, Klaassen CD. Effect of lipoic acid on biliary excretion of glutathione and metals. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1992 May; 114(1):88-96.

Hultberg B, et al. Lipoic acid increases glutathione production and enhances the effect of mercury in human cell lines. Toxicology. 2002 Jun 14; 175(1-3):103-10. Web

Patrick L. Mercury toxicity and antioxidants: Part 1: role of glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of mercury toxicity. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Dec; 7(6):456-71.

Ballatori N, et al. Biliary secretion of glutathione and of glutathione-metal complexes. Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1985 Oct; 5(5):816-31.

Ballatori N. Glutathione mercaptides as transport forms of metals. Adv Pharmacol. 1994; 27:271-98.

Bains JS, et al. Neurodegenerative disorders in humans: the role of glutathione in oxidative stress-mediated neuronal death. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1997 Dec; 25(3):335-58.

Bray TM, et al. Tissue glutathione, nutrition, and oxidative stress. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1993 Sep; 71(9):746-51.

Bulat P, et al. Activity of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in workers occupationally exposed to mercury. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1998 Sep; 71 Suppl: S37-9.

Girardi G, et al. Effect of different renal glutathione levels on renal mercury disposition and excretion in the rat. Toxicology. 1993; 81: 51-67.

Ballatori N, et al. N-acetylcysteine as an antidote in methylmercury poisoning. Environ Health Perspect. 1998 May; 106(5):267-71.

Girardi G, et al. Effect of different renal glutathione levels on renal mercury disposition and excretion in the rat. Toxicology. 1993 Jul 11; 81(1):57-67.

Drasch G, et al. Correlation of mercury and selenium in the human kidney. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1996 Dec;10(4) :251-4.

El-Demerdash FM. Effects of selenium and mercury on the enzymatic activities and lipid peroxidation in brain, liver, and blood of rats. J Environ Sci Health B. 2001 Jul; 36(4):489-99.

Lindh U, et al. Selenium protection against toxicity from cadmium and mercury studied at the cellular level. Cell Mol Biol. 1996 Feb; 42(1):39-48.

Psarras V, et al. Effect of selenium on mercury vapour released from dental amalgams: an in vitro study. Swed Dent J. 1994;18(1-2):15-23.

Yoneda S, et al. Detoxification of mercury by selenium by binding of equimolar Hg-Se complex to a specific plasma protein. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1997 Apr; 143(2):274-80.

Andersen A, et al. Neurological and neurophysiological study of chloralkali workers previously exposed to mercury vapour. Acta Neurol Scand. 1993 Dec; 88(6):427-33.

Aschner M, et al. Mercury neurotoxicity: mechanisms of blood-brain barrier transport. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1990 Summer; 14(2):169-76.

Daunderer M. Improvement of nerve and immunological damages after amalgam removal. Amer. J. Probiotic Dentistry and Medicine. Jan 1991. Available at: (July 2007: Link now an ad-only site.)

Echeverria D, et al. Neurobehavioral effects from exposure to dental amalgam Hg(o): new distinctions between recent exposure and Hg body burden. FASEB J. 1998 Aug;12(11):971-80.

Kishi R, et al. Subjective symptoms and neurobehavioral performances of ex-mercury miners at an average of 18 years after the cessation of chronic exposure to mercury vapor. Mercury Workers Study Group. Environ Res. 1993 Aug; 62(2):289-302.

Monnet-Tschudi F, et al. Comparison of the developmental effects of two mercury compounds on glial cells and neurons in aggregate cultures of rat telencephalon. Brain Res. 1996 Nov 25; 741(1-2):52-9.

Olanow CW, et al. Metals and free radicals in neurodegeneration. Curr Opin Neurol. 1994 Dec; 7(6):548-58.

Pamphlett R, Coote P. Entry of low doses of mercury vapor into the nervous system. Neurotoxicology. 1998 Feb; 19(1):39-47.

Pendergrass JC, et al. Mercury vapor inhalation inhibits binding of GTP to tubulin in rat brain: Similarity to a molecular lesion in Alzheimer-diseased brain. Neurotoxicology. 1997; 18(2):315-24.

Siblerud RL, et al. Psychometric evidence that mercury from silver dental fillings may be an etiological factor in depression, excessive anger, and anxiety. Psychol Rep. 1994 Feb; 74(1):67-80.

Cellular Damage
Contrino J, et al. Effects of mercury on human polymorphonuclear leukocyte function. Am J Pathol. 132:1, 110-118, July 1988.

Ellermann-Eriksen S, et al. Effect of mercuric chloride on macrophage-mediated resistance mechanisms against infection with herpes simplex virus type 2. Toxicology. 1994 Nov 11; 93(2-3):269-87.

Ercal N, et al. Toxic metals and oxidative stress part I: mechanisms involved in metal-induced oxidative damage. Curr Top Med Chem. 2001 Dec; 1(6):529-39.

Sallsten G, et al. Urinary excretion of mercury, copper and zinc in subjects exposed to mercury vapour. Biometals. 1997 Oct; 10(4):357-61.

Shenker BJ, et al. Mercury-induced apoptosis in human lymphocytes: caspase activation is linked to redox status. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2002 Jun; 4(3):379-89.

Wataha JC, et al. Ag, Cu, Hg, and Ni ions alter the metabolism of human monocytes during extended low-dose exposures. J Oral Rehabil. 2002 Feb; 29(2):133-9.


Aposhian HV, et al. Urinary mercury after administration of 2, 3-dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonic acid: correlation with dental amalgam score. FASEB J. 1992 Apr; 6(7):2472-6.

Buchet JP, et al. Influence of 2,3-dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonate and dimercaptosuccinic acid on the mobilization of mercury from tissues of rats pretreated with mercuric chloride, phenylmercury acetate or mercury vapors. Toxicology. 1989 Mar; 54(3):323-33.

Forman J, et al. A cluster of pediatric metallic mercury exposure cases treated with meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Jun; 108(6):575-7.

Fournier L, et al.2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic acid treatment of heavy metal poisoning in humans. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp. 1988 Nov-Dec; 3(6):499-504.

Hibberd AR, et al. Mercury from dental amalgam fillings: studies on oral chelating agents for assessing and reducing mercury burdens in humans. J Nutr Environ Med. 1998; 8:219-231.

Keith RL, et al. Utilization of renal slices to evaluate the efficacy of chelating agents for removing mercury from the kidney. Toxicology. 1997 Jan 15; 116(1-3):67-75.

Kostyniak PJ. Methylmercury removal in the dog during infusion of 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). J Toxicol Environ Health. 1983 Apr-Jun; 11(4-6):947-57.

Miller AL. Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), a non-toxic, water-soluble treatment for heavy metal toxicity. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Jun; 3(3):199-207.

Saarela R. DMPS side effects. A very extensive list of problems with DMPS. Available at: (July 2007: Link no loonger valid)

Sandborgh Englund G, et al. DMSA administration to patients with alleged mercury poisoning from dental amalgams: a placebo-controlled study. J Dent Res. 1994 Mar; 73(3):620-8.

[Thorne Research, Inc.] Meso-2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic Acid (DMSA). Alternative Medicine Review. 2000; 5 (3): 264-67.

Dentists and Dental Office
Bittner AC Jr, et al. Behavioral effects of low-level exposure to HgO among dental professionals: a cross-study evaluation of psychomotor effects. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1998 Jul-Aug; 20(4):429-39.

Ngim CH, et al. Chronic neurobehavioural effects of elemental mercury in dentists. Br J Ind Med. 1992 Nov; 49 (11):782-90.

Ritchie KA, et al. Health and neuropsychological functioning of dentists exposed to mercury. Occup Environ Med. 2002 May; 59(5):287-93.

Diseases and Conditions
Boyd Haley. Amalgams and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Available at:

Cornett CR, et al. Imbalances of trace elements related to oxidative damage in Alzheimer's disease brain. Neurotoxicology. 1998 Jun; 19(3):339-45.

Hock C, et al. Increased blood mercury levels in patients with Alzheimer's disease. J Neural Transm. 1998; 105(1):59-68.

Olivieri G, et al. Mercury induces cell cytotoxicity and oxidative stress and increases beta-amyloid secretion and tau phosphorylation in SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cells. J Neurochem. 2000 Jan; 74(1):231-6.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Carpenter DO. Effects of metals on the nervous system of humans and animals. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2001; 14(3):209-18.

Karatas GK, et al. Mercury poisoning: an unusual cause of polyarthritis. Clin Rheumatol. 2002 Feb; 21(1):73-5.

Bernard S, et al. The role of mercury in the pathogenesis of autism. Ol Psychiatry. 2002;7 Suppl 2:S42-3.

Brain autoantibodies to evaluate toxicity of mercury and other toxic chemicals in autism and PDD, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. The Great Plains Laboratory. Available at: Accessed April 9, 2007.

Drasch G, et al. Mercury in human colostrum and early breast milk. Its dependence on dental amalgam and other factors. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1998 Mar:12(1):23-7.

Kordi-Mood, et al. Urinary mercury excretion following amalgam fillings in children. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2001;39(7):701-05.

Maternal-fetal distribution of mercury (203Hg) released from dental amalgam fillings. Am J Physiol. 1990 Apr:258 (4 Pt 2):R939-45.

Mercury in vaccines and an increase in autism. Thimerosal information resource. Monatrsschr Zahmed. 1994;104(11):1336-1340. Available at: (July 2007: Link no longer valid)

Morgan DL, et al. Disposition of inhaled mercury vapor in pregnant rats: maternal toxicity and effects on developmental outcome. Toxicol Sci. 2002 Apr;66(2):261-73.

Schettler T. Toxic threats to neurologic development of children. Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Dec;109 Suppl 6:813-6.

Schultre A, et al. Mercury concentration in the urine of children with and without amalgam fillings. Schweiz.

Vahter M, et al. Longitudinal study of methylmercury and inorganic mercury in blood and urine of pregnant and lactating women, as well as in umbilical cord blood. Environ Res. 2000:84(2):186-194.

Vimy MJ, et al. Mercury from maternal "silver" tooth fillings in sheep and human breast milk. A source of neonatal exposure. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1997 Feb:56(2):143-52.

Zamm AV. Candida albicans therapy. Is there ever an end to it? Dental mercury removal: an effective adjunct. J. Orthomol. Med. 1, 1986, 261-266.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Stejskal VD, et al. Metal-specific lymphocytes: biomarkers of sensitivity in man. Neuroendocrinol Lett. 1999; 20(5):289-298.

Sterzl I, et al. Reactions to metals in patients with chronic fatigue and autoimmune endocrinopathy. Vnitr Lek. 1999 Sep; 45(9):527-31.

Siblerud RL, et al. Evidence that mercury from dental amalgam may cause hearing loss in multiple sclerosis patients. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 1997; 12: 240-44.

Salonen JT, et al. Intake of mercury from fish, lipid peroxidation, and the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary, cardiovascular, and any death in eastern Finnish men. Circulation. 1995 Feb 1; 91(3):645-55.

Siblerud RL. The relationship between mercury from dental amalgam and the cardiovascular system. Sci Total Environ. 1990 Dec 1; 99(1-2):23-35.

Ellermann-Eriksen S, et al. Effect of mercuric chloride on macrophage-mediated resistance mechanisms against infection with herpes simplex virus type 2. Toxicology. 1994 Nov 11; 93(2-3):269-87.

Dieguez-Acuna FJ, et al. Mercuric ion attenuates nuclear factor-kappaB activation and DNA binding in normal rat kidney epithelial cells: implications for mercury-induced nephrotoxicity. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2001 Jun 15; 173(3):176-87.

Nylander M, et al. Mercury concentrations in the human brain and kidneys in relation to exposure from dental amalgam fillings. Swed Dent J. 1987; 11(5):179-87.

Soleo L, et al. Influence of amalgam fillings on urinary mercury excretion. G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 1998: 20(2):75-78.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Siblerud RL. A comparison of mental health of multiple sclerosis patients with silver/mercury dental fillings and those with fillings removed. Psychol Rep. 1992 Jun; 70(3 Pt 2):1139-51.

Siblerud RL, et al. Evidence that mercury from silver dental fillings may be an etiological factor in multiple sclerosis. Sci Total Environ. 1994 Mar 15; 142 (3):191-205.

Parkinson's Disease
Nicole A, et al. Direct evidence for glutathione as mediator of apoptosis in neuronal cells. Biomed Pharmacother. 1998; 52(9):349-55.

Drouet M, et al. Mercury – is it a respiratory tract allergen. Allerg Immunol (Paris). 1990 Mar; 22(3):81, 84-8.

Ellingsen DG, et al. Effects of low mercury vapour exposure on the thyroid function in chloralkali workers. J Appl Toxicol. 2000 Nov-Dec; 20(6):483-9.

Cavalleri A, et al. Reversible color vision loss in occupational exposure to metallic mercury. Environ Res. 1998 May; 77(2):173 -7.

Factors Affecting Release of Mercury from Amalgam Fillings
Chewing and Grinding
Barregard L, et al. People with high mercury uptake from their own dental amalgam filling. Occup Environ Med. 1995 Feb; 52(2):124-8.

Gebel T, et al. Influence of chewing gum consumption and dental contact of amalgam fillings to different metal restorations on urine mercury content. Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed. 1996 Nov; 199(1):69-75.

Vimy MJ, et al. Intra-oral air mercury released from dental amalgam. J Dent Res. 1985 Aug; 64(8):1069-71.

Hot Drinks
Bjorkman L, et al. Factors influencing mercury evaporation rate from dental amalgam fillings. Scand J Dent Res. 1992 Dec; 100(6):354-60.

Placing and Removing Amalgam Fillings
Haikel Y, et al. Exposure to mercury vapor during setting, removing, and polishing amalgam restorations. J Biomed Mater Res. 1990 Nov; 24(11):1551-8.

Malmström C, et al. Silver amalgam – an unstable material. Tidsskr. f. Tandlaeger (Danish Dental Journal). October 1989. Bio-Probe Newsletter. January 1993:5. Available at:

Tooth Grinding
Abraham JE, et al. The effect of dental amalgam restorations on blood mercury levels. J Dent Res. 1984 Jan; 63(1):71-3. 6582086 PubMed.

Isacsson G, et al. Impact of nocturnal bruxism on mercury uptake from dental amalgams. Eur J Oral Sci. 1997 Jun; 105 (3):251-7.

Fecal Metals
Bjorkman L, et al. Mercury in saliva and feces after removal of amalgam fillings. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1997 May; 144(1):156-62.

Engqvist A, et al. Speciation of mercury excreted in feces from individuals with amalgam fillings. Arch Environ Health. 1998; 53(3):205-213.

Malmström C, et al. Fecal Mercury. ISTERH Third International Conference and NTES Fourth Nordic Conference on Disease. Stockholm (Huddinge), May 25-29, 1992.

US Food and Drug Administration. Mercury in fish: cause for concern? FDA Consumer. September 1994. Revised May 1995.

Fetus, Nursing Baby, and Child
Crump KS, et al. Influence of prenatal mercury exposure upon scholastic and psychological test performance: benchmark analysis of a New Zealand cohort. Risk Anal. 1998 Dec; 18(6):701-13. 9972579 PubMed.

Drasch G, et al. Mercury burden of human fetal and infant tissues. Eur J Pediatr. 1994 Aug; 153(8):607-10. 7957411 PubMed.

Drasch G, et al. Mercury in human colostrum and early breast milk. Its dependence on dental amalgam and other factors. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1998 Mar; 12(1):23-7. 9638609 PubMed.

Drexler H, Schaller KH. The mercury concentration in breast milk resulting from amalgam fillings and dietary habits. Environ Res. 1998 May;77(2):124-9. 9600805 PubMed.

Goldman LR, Shannon MW. American Academy of Pediatrics: Committee on Environmental Health. Technical report: mercury in the environment: implications for pediatricians. Pediatrics. 2001 Jul; 108(1):197-205. 11433078 PubMed.

Grandjean P, et al. Cognitive deficit in 7-year-old children with prenatal exposure to methylmercury. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1997 Nov-Dec; 19(6):417-28. 9392777 PubMed.

Jauniaux E, et al. Distribution and transfer pathways of antioxidant molecules inside the first trimester human gestational sac. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;89(3):1452-8. 15001647 PubMed.

Kuhnert PM, et al. Comparison of mercury levels in maternal blood, fetal cord blood, and placental tissues. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1981 Jan 15; 139(2):209-13. 7457537 PubMed.

Mendola P, et al. Environmental factors associated with a spectrum of neurodevelopmental deficits. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2002; 8(3):188-97. 12216063 PubMed.

Morgan DL, et al. Disposition of inhaled mercury vapor in pregnant rats: maternal toxicity and effects on developmental outcome. Toxicol Sci. 2002 Apr;66(2):261-73. 11896293 PubMed.

Ong CN, et al. Concentrations of heavy metals in maternal and umbilical cord blood. Biometals. 1993 Spring; 6(1):61-6. 8471826 PubMed.

Oskarsson A, et al. Total and inorganic mercury in breast milk in relation to fish consumption and amalgam in lactating women. Arch Environ Health. 1996 May-Jun;51(3):234-41. 8687245 PubMed.

Söderström S, et al. The effect of mercury vapour on cholinergic neurons in the fetal brain: studies on the expression of nerve growth factor and its low- and high-affinity receptors. Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1995 Mar 16;85(1):96-108. 7781173 PubMed.

Takahashi Y, et al. Placental transfer of mercury in pregnant rats which received dental amalgam restorations. Toxicology. 2003 Mar 14; 185(1-2):23-33. 12505442 PubMed.

Urbach J, et al. Effect of inorganic mercury on in vitro placental nutrient transfer and oxygen consumption. Reprod Toxicol. 1992; 6(1):69-75. 1562801 PubMed.

Yang J, et al. Maternal-fetal transfer of metallic mercury via the placenta and milk. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 1997 Mar-Apr; 27(2):135-41. 9098513 PubMed.

Yoshida M. Tohoku J. Placental to fetal transfer of mercury and fetotoxicity. Exp Med. 2002 Feb; 196(2):79-88. 12498319 PubMed.

Fish and Food
Apostoli P, et al. Evaluation of the dose of mercury in exposed and control subjects. Med Lav. 2002 May-Jun; 93(3):159-75.

Close AH, et al. Activated human T lymphocytes exhibit reduced susceptibility to methylmercury chloride-induced apoptosis. Toxicol Sci. 1999 May;49(1):68-77.

Hussain S, et al. Accumulation of mercury and its effect on antioxidant enzymes in brain, liver, and kidneys of mice. J Environ Sci Health B. 1999 Jul;34(4):645-60.

Free Radicals
Ercal N, et al. Toxic metals and oxidative stress part I: mechanisms involved in metal-induced oxidative damage. Curr Top Med Chem. 2001 Dec; 1(6):529-39.

Galvanic and Corrosion Effects
Moberg LE. Long term corrosion studies of amalgams and casting alloys in contact. Acta Odontal Scand. 1985; 43:163-177.

Nogi N. Electric current around dental metals as a factor producing allergic metal ions in the oral cavity. Nippon Hifuka Gakkai Zasshi. 1989; 99(12):1243-1254.

Owens BM, et al. Localized galvanic shock after insertion of amalgam restoration. Compenium. 1993; 14(10):1302, 1304, 1306-1307.

Toumelin-Chemla F, et al. Unusual in vivo extensive corrosion of a low-silver amalgam restoration involving galvanic coupling: a case report. Quintessence Int. 2003 Apr; 34(4):287-94.

Ariza ME, et al. Mutagenesis of AS52 cells by low concentrations of lead (II) and mercury (II). Environ Mol Mutagen. 1996; 27(1):30-3.

Hair Analysis
Harada M, et al. The present mercury contents of scalp hair and clinical symptoms in inhabitants of the Minamata area. Environ Res. 1998 May; 77(2):160-4.

Page 1, 2, 3


Consult your doctor before using any of the treatments found within this site.

Subscriptions are available for Townsend Letter, the Examiner of Alternative Medicine magazine, which is published 10 times each year.

Search our pre-2001 archives for further information. Older issues of the printed magazine are also indexed for your convenience.
1983-2001 indices ; recent indices

Once you find the magazines you'd like to order, please use our convenient form, e-mail, or call 360.385.6021 (PST).


Order back issues
Advertise with TLDP!
Visit our pre-2001 archives
© 1983-2007 Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
All rights reserved.
Web site by Sandy Hershelman Designs
July 7, 2007