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Vol I, #9

The Second in a Series on
How Mercury Damages Your Brain Cells 

by special guest author  Dr. Michael Gaeta 
(Note: Michael is a Doctor of Acupuncture (RI), Clinical Nutritionist and Herbalist who has researched this topic and presented his findings to professional and lay audiences around the US. In the article below, he describes one of the ways the neuro-fibulary (nerve fiber) tangles build up that are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, which of course has major implications for how to keep them from developing in the first place.) 

Mercury has long been known to be a potent neurotoxic substance, whether it is inhaled or concealed in food as a dietary toxin. Over the past fifteen years, medical research laboratories have established that dental amalgam tooth fillings are a major contributor to mercury body burden.
In 1997 a team of research scientists demonstrated that mercury inhalation in animals produced a molecular release of brain protein metabolism which was similar to the lesions of 80% of Alzheimer's disease patients' brains. Simply put, mercury causes brain neuron degeneration.

Recent experiments at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine revealed how mercury alters developing brain neurons. Brain neurons have a central cell body and numerous neuro-like processes. At the end of each neuron is a growth-like space. That's where proteins are assembled to form the cell membrane.
One of the two principal proteins involved in growth and function is responsible for tubular molecules, a major structural component. Tubular molecules connect end-to-end to form molecules which surround neural fibers, another structural protein component of the neuron axon.

When live brain tissue neurons are cultured and allowed to grow,then exposed to very low concentrations of mercury for as little as twenty minutes, the neuronal membrane rapidly degenerates and leaves behind denuded neural fiber.

To understand how mercury causes this degeneration, picture proteins that during normal cell growth link together to form micro-tubules that support the neural structure.
But when mercury ions infiltrate the neural cell, they bind themselves to the sides of the newly synthesized tubular molecules. This prevents the neural tubular proteins from linking together.

Consequently, these micro-tubules disassemble into free tubular molecules and leave the neurites - the projections on the end of neurons - stripped of their support structure. Ultimately both the developing neurite and its growth cone collapse. Further, some develop neural fibers, aggregates, or tangles.

In other words, mercury exposure to the neurite growth cone results in disintegration of the micro tubular structure.

This study provides the first direct evidence that even low level mercury exposure is a precipitating factor that can initiate this neural degenerative process within the brain, resulting in the tangles of Alzheimer's patients.

Note: This topic appears by request. 

FACT: Methyl mercury easily crosses the placental barrier, so mercury concentration in the baby's red blood cells can rise to thirty percent higher than in those of its mother. 


In the fall and winter of 1971-72, wheat seed shipped to Iraq and intended for planting  - which had therefore been treated with an alkyl mercury fungicide - was mistakenly used to prepare bread.  
More than 6,500 Iraqis were hospitalized with neurological symptoms and 459 died. 

Exposure Facts

Did you know that:
Mercury is the most toxic substance we are regularly exposed to. 
Mercury accumulates in our human bodies because we are the top of the food chain.
In the United States, exposure to mercury is considerable. One study reported that 8% of women had mercury levels higher than national guidelines.
A leading source of mercury ingestion for humans is fish and shellfish because they naturally store methyl mercury in their organs.
Dental amalgam is one of the top sources of exposure to mercury, as they are composed of an unstable mixture of 50% liquid mercury along with other toxic metals.
When the mercury in dental amalgam is exposed to saliva, it results in an electric pump that moves mercury into the body.
People who have several amalgam fillings have an average of ten times more mercury in feces and saliva than people free of amalgam.
When amalgam is replaced, mercury levels decline around 90% in feces and saliva and 75% in urine.
Safe exposure levels to mercury as defined by governmental agencies are based on 'doses' during an exposure; however mercury accumulates in our bodies and this fact is not taken into account when setting such guidelines.

How Do You Become Exposed to Mercury? 
Common ways include: 
Burning of coal, resulting in mercury in the air that lands on bodies of water and moves to the sediment,  
Dental amalgam in sewage sludge, 
Out gassing from crematoria emissions, and 
The preservative used in many vaccines, called Thimerosol, which contains mercury. 

You can find out what your mercury exposure is based on where you live.
To do so,visit this link:  
Receive Your Complementary Toxic Metals Self-Assessment Questionnaire here: