The Dangers of Amalgam Fillings

The Dangers of Amalgam Fillings

In my practice, I always perform oral exams on my patients. More often than not, I see those pesky “silver” fillings called Amalgam.  Its chemical composition consists of 50% silver alloy and 50% liquid mercury and has been the dental industry’s main filling material since the early 19thcentury. As you know, mercury is a toxic substance and is a health concern in many aspects of our lives, and amalgam is no exception.

Mercury, in all of its forms, is one of the most toxic substances known. It damages nerve cells, kidney tissue and blocks many important biochemical reactions in our bodies. In other words, it is a true poison. To our disadvantage, amalgam fillings constantly release or “smoke” mercury vapor even without any provocation. Chewing, drinking hot liquids, or eating acidic foods will further exacerbate it.  This video from the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) shows an example of this. The tooth containing amalgam is rubbed to mimic the conditions in your mouth when you chew food or drink a hot beverage.

The World Health Organization has concluded that the largest source of mercury exposure for people is amalgam fillings (excluding occupational exposure). Mercury vapor is absorbed by the body in many ways. It passes through the cheek lining, and is absorbed by the lungs. It can also be taken up by the smell nerves in the nose, which conduct it directly to the brain. Mercury from fillings is converted by oral bacteria into organic methyl-mercury and crosses the blood-brain barrier.

No specific diseases have been directly linked to mercury from fillings. However, chronic exposure to low levels of mercury has been shown to produce dysfunction in the nervous system, kidneys, heart, liver, endocrine glands (thyroid), digestive tract, and immune system in humans. The history of massive methyl-mercury exposure and poisoning in both Minamata Bay, Japan and rural Iraq caused severe neurological and neuromuscular damage (ranging in severity from chronic illness to death) and severe birth defects.

When mercury from fillings gets into the large intestine it damages beneficial bacteria and promotes overgrowth of pathological yeast. I often see patients with amalgam fillings and chronic candidiasis.  As with many metals, mercury is allergenic. Five percent of the population show a true allergy to it and up to 85% of the population show some type of antibody reactivity.

While there are scientific arguments both for and against amalgam fillings, it is not possible to surely predict who may largely benefit from having existing amalgams removed or replaced. This is just a presentation of available information, and the decision should ultimately be a personal one made in conjunction with a knowledgeable healthcare professional. I strongly support my patients’ oral health and encourage them to see biological dentists to discuss the option of amalgam fillings removal as an important step towards reduced toxins exposure.

When my patients decide to remove amalgam fillings, I always advise them to see a biological dentist. The reason for that is simple: regular dentists, though well trained and skilled to handle toxic material of amalgam outside of your mouth, unfortunately are not always equipped to protect you and everyone around from vapor of drilled amalgam fillings. Imagine, as the dentist starts to drill the old amalgam filling the small particles and vapor starts flying all over your mouth. You and everyone else risk inhaling it. The small particles falling into your mouth are quickly absorbed into your blood through the cheek lining. The vapor that the dental assistant can quickly capture with the suction instrument now comes out from another end and spreads all over the room, exposing staff and other clients of the regular dental office to the vapor. This study shows air and furniture surfaces contamination with mercury vapor in the regular dentists’ offices.

Everyone strives for better health. If you are ready for a comprehensive evaluation and exam by a certified functional medicine practitioner, click here and find a practitioner near you.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to identify the root cause and relief your unsettled symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325). If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.

Is Your Home Making You Sick?

Is Your Home Making You Sick?

3 Tips for Staying Healthy at Home

By Charlotte Meier

While you may not like to consider the possibility that your home could make you and your family sick, there is a very good chance that it is, especially if your family members have eye, nose, and throat irritation, congestion, or a rash that dissipates an hour or two after leaving home. While older homes typically have more materials that cause illness, newer homes also may be responsible for making you sick. Below, we share a few tips for helping you and your family stay healthy at home.

1. Get a home inspection

One of the first steps you should take to ensure that you reside in a healthy home is to schedule a home inspection with a certified inspector. Professional home inspectors examine both the exterior and interior of the home and check the electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems, the home’s structure, and the paint and other finish elements. Inspectors also look for evidence of pests and rodents. If the inspector finds a major issue, he will suggest inspections by specialists who can give a more detailed report on the problems.

The home inspection will guide you toward repairs that you can make to solve any problems the inspector uncovers. For example, the inspector may have discovered that there is lead-based paint in your home. If the paint is in good condition and the surface of the paint hasn’t been broken, your family’s health is not in serious danger. But, if the lead paint is deteriorating, flaking, or leaving lead dust, your family is at increased risk of lead poisoning.

If you do have lead paint, immediately clean up paint chips, clean your child’s play areas, and dust on a regular basis. Do not wear shoes in your home, and contact a certified lead abatement contractor immediately, because painting over lead paint does not eliminate the problem. These certified contractors will either remove the paint, seal it, or enclose it safely. If you need assistance in finding a certified lead professional, contact the National Lead

Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.

2. Test for radon

As many as 20,000 people die each year from lung cancer caused by radon; in fact, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to determine the radon levels in your home, and you can purchase a radon test kit online or at a home improvement store. Be sure to follow the instructions in the kit carefully and to test in the lowest lived-in level of your home. Keep in mind that for the test to be most effective, you need to maintain closed-house conditions for 12 hours before the test and during the duration of the test.

If you discover that your home has radon levels over 4 pCi/L, the EPA’s recommended action level for radon exposure, you should take steps to reduce it to acceptable levels as soon as possible. DIY repairs to reduce radon levels include sealing gas entry points, using natural ventilation, burning a candle, and turning on ceiling fans. For higher levels of radon, use a fan with a positive ion generator.

3. Avoid carpeting and engineered wood products

If you are building or remodeling, or if you are looking for materials to remove from your home to improve your family’s health, avoid carpeting and engineered wood products. Carpeting may be soft, but most wall-to-wall carpeting manufactured outside of the U.S. is synthetic; it’s materials put toxins that have been linked to cancer, nerve damage, respiratory issues, and immune system damage into your home.

Engineered wood products are manufactured with glue, and the adhesives and bonding agents emit pollutants such as formaldehyde into the air inside your home. Many cabinets, furniture, wall paneling, and kitchen counters are constructed with these wood products, so it is much better for your family’s health if you purchase natural, solid wood products that contain significantly fewer, if any, chemicals.

It is possible that your home is making you and your family sick. If you have even the slightest inkling that your home is not as healthy as you’d like, you should follow the tips we have suggested here. You may just find that your family stays healthy if you make corrections to your home.

Mercury in Seafood

How To Avoid Mercury In Seafood?

Many of us heard about the problem of contaminated fish, and the issue of found mercury in seafood in particular. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, harmful to the developing brains of fetuses, babies, and young children,  as well as adults. Functional medicine and environmental medicine views mercury and other toxic metals as one of the major risk factors in the development of chronic medical illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

However, we also have heard about valuable, essential Omega 3 fatty acids that carry so many benefits and we know that the easiest way to get Omega 3s into our body is by eating seafood.

So how much fish to eat and what kind of fish?

The group at highest risk of mercury exposure are pregnant women.

Federal agencies (FDA and EPA ) advise women who are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant to eat much more seafood, an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids essential to babies’ development. They say these women should eat 8- 12 ounces of fish and shellfish a week – more than twice as much as the average American.

Now, a new EWG study finds that federal government’s recommendations on seafood and mercury may be risky, potentially leading women to eat too much of the wrong kind of fish. Nationwide testing found that mothers who eat the quantity of seafood recommended by the FDA and EPA, are at risk of exposing their babies to harmful doses of mercury while not providing them with enough healthy omega-3s.

EWG recruited 254 women of childbearing age from 40 states who reported eating as much or slightly more fish than the government recommends. A university lab tested samples of their hair, where mercury accumulates, which reflects the level of mercury in the body as the hair grew.

Nearly three in 10 of the women had more mercury in their bodies than the EPA considers safe – a level many experts say is much too high for pregnant women. Almost 60 percent of participants had more mercury than a stricter limit recommended by experts, who analyzed hair samples for EWG’s study, and scientists from two prestigious European institutions.

The frequent seafood eaters had an average of 11 times more mercury compared to a group who rarely ate seafood, proving that the high mercury levels came from the fish rather than other sources.

To limit mercury consumption, FDA and EPA recommend that women eat no more than six ounces a week of canned albacore tuna and no shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel. But the study of Environmental Working Group (EWG), independent environmental agency, suggests that many women who follow that advice will not get enough omega-3s in their diet, yet, have exposure to mercury.

To eat or not to eat seafood?

Researchers overwhelmingly recommend low mercury fish as the most reliable source of omega-3s. The mercury in seafood erodes the benefits of an otherwise healthy food, and in some cases tips the scale to the point that the fish becomes harmful.

It is all about WHAT FISH YOU CHOOSE TO EAT.

EWG reports the full list of low mercury-high omega-3 fish, such as wild salmon, that women should add to their diets. It also lists the additional species they should limit or avoid for up to a year before conception, such as seabass, halibut and marlin.

EWG’s Good Seafood Guide provides a guideline for consumers looking to reduce their intake of mercury consumption and increase intake of omega-3 fats. The EWG Seafood Calculator estimates portion size and frequency based on a child or adult’s weight and recommends that pregnant women and children ingest 25 percent less mercury than the current EPA guideline.

Click on the link below for a list of recommended fish:

http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-consumer-guide-seafood/seafood-calculator?fish_form_weight=126&fish_form_age=adult&fish_form_gender=F&fish_form_pregnant=N&fish_form_heart_disease=N