My Mercury Toxicity Journey (& Other Health Updates)
When I started Unbound Wellness to share my journey and successes in healing Hashimoto’s, it wasn’t under the false impression that I didn’t still have things to work on in my health… not at all. Even after making great strides in our health, we’ll still have to continue to pursue good health and may hit road bumps along the way.
For me, I hit a big road bump last year. My hormones were out of whack, I wasn’t feeling 100%, and I found out that I was severely mineral deficient mercury toxic. One year later, and I’m still not perfect, but I’ve seen a dramatic drop in my mercury levels and a huge change in my minerals. After a year of hard work, I’m finally read to share what I did, how it all was, and what I’m still working on with my health!
First, a big disclaimer… do not, and I repeat, do not attempt to detox any heavy metals on your own. You need doctor supervision. Detoxing metals is very, very dangerous if done wrong, and I could not have done this without a doctor. I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice… these stories are personal. Please consult a doctor for all of this.
So, how did I find out I was mercury toxic?
I started going to a new functional medicine doctor (Dr. Anne Coleman in Richardson, TX) to basically help me with issues that I was experiencing and to to make sure I had resolved any underlying health issues before we started trying to have kids in a few years.
She insisted of getting a hair mineral analysis to test for metals (not sure of the brand… each doctor does something different), and I almost didn’t do it out of being cheap. However, when I did I was shocked to find out I was very mercury toxic, and incredibly mineral deficient.
How did I get mercury toxic?
That’s the million dollar question… I’m not 100% sure. Here’s how it can happen…
- Contaminated water
- Amalgam dental filling
- Gestational exposure
- Food exposure (like big fish)
- All of the above + poor detoxification
I’ve never had serious dental work, so my running theory is that I did get a big mercury dump from all of the tuna I’ve eaten in the past. Tuna is easily one of my favorite foods and I would eat 3-4 cans a week… WAY over the limit for a person my size. Plus, throw in the fact that I was deficient in minerals that would help me detox it (like selenium) and you have a bad situation.
We all get exposed to metals and chemicals throughout our lives, but if we’re healthy enough naturally detox them, it may not be much of an issue. However, with genetic issues, impaired liver function, and more, many of us suffer the consequences.
What are the symptoms and complications of mercury?
The symptoms of mercury toxicity can include…
- Neurological damage and issues
- Development of autoimmunity
- Persistent candida
Obviously, I have autoimmune issues, but I also have struggled with headaches my whole life as well as balance issues, so I really did see some symptoms that could have been related to mercury.
As for the complications, mercury toxicity that’s bad enough can seriously damage your brain, gut, organs, and can even kill you. That is why it’s so important to work with a doctor. Many attempts that people make to detox can just make them worse if they go about it the wrong way.
How I Detoxed Mercury
As we’ve already established, this is my personal journey and I share this as inspiration for those going through it, and general information to bring to your doctor. In no way am I suggesting that you too follow this protocol. This protocol was tailored to my tests, my genetics, my health, etc… You need to follow your own protocol and not copy mine. Again, you have to see a doctor and do this under the care of a doctor. I’m just sharing my experience as hope that recovery is possible!
My approach with my doctor was simple and fairly gentle. I didn’t want to go too crazy on IV therapy, chelation, etc. The goal was to do a year or so where I did gentle therapy and see if that worked to move my mercury… and it did! So here’s what I did…
I Worked On Raising My Other Mineral Levels in General
To fight off a pathogen, foreign invader, or illness, you have to be healthy enough to do it. The same goes for metals… you have to have sufficient mineral status to be able to naturally detox. My doctor gave my supplements for my specific deficiencies at the time to raise my levels, and I focused on getting lots of minerals from my food.
Mineral deficiency takes time to correct, but mine finally improved!
Sweat is an amazing natural form of detox. I went to hot yoga about once (sometimes twice) a week and it really gave me some detox reactions in the beginning. I felt fatigued and generally disgusting when I first went, however, my doctor was excited to hear that I was doing it so I kept at it and eventually started to like it! It was a gentle way to detox, and one that I really enjoyed.
This was possibly the hardest one for me…. because I hated it. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Infared Sauna and my doctor recommended I try it. So, I had the bright idea to try a 140 F sauna when it was the dead of summer in Dallas, TX and already 105 F outside. Needless to say… I hated it.
However, I believe the reason I disliked it so much is because it was giving me such a heavy detox reaction, thus it did really seem to be effective.
I do plan to try it again now that it’s cooled off here in Dallas! I do recommend them… I just don’t recommend trying it for the first time in the dead of summer 😉
Something else my doctor uncovered was my elevated liver enzymes. A healthy liver is necessary to help aid natural detoxification, and with my hormonal imbalance, acne, gallbladder issues, and more it was clear that I needed liver support.
I did milk thistle in a dose that my doctor recommended to me (I switched up brands), I did castor oil packs, and my doctor prescribed a supplement protocol from Quick Silver Scientific called the black box detox. This was very expensive, and my doctor was the one that recommended it to me… so please just don’t go out and buy it! Ask your doctor about it.
I Cut Out Tuna
Honestly? This was the biggest one for me. I love tuna. Canned tuna salad, tuna sushi, tuna steak… man… I love it. As I said, I ate 3-4 cans a week and decided to go cold turkey. The only fish I really ate was sardines and salmon.
I can’t say for sure, but I feel like that likely made the biggest difference.
How Do I Know I Got Better?
Again, this is why seeing a doctor is so important. I had to retest to know I was getting better. So I redid the hair mineral analysis to see that my mercury levels dropped 3x!
Did I Get A Detox Reaction?
Because my protocol was so gentle and over the course of a year, I didn’t have any violent reactions. However, I definitely had days (especially my sauna days and when I started the black box detox protocol) where I felt sick and fatigued, but it wasn’t anything violent.
Do I Notice a Difference?
One thing that I can say or sure is that I no longer have as many headaches as I used to. That’s easily the biggest difference that I’ve noticed and obviously one of the main ways that it was manifesting.
My Best Advice on Mercury…
- Work. With. A. Doctor. I can’t stress this enough.
- Do your own research and bring that to your doctor. There were plenty of things that I picked out myself, like hot yoga, that I felt like made a big difference.
- Focus on getting out the biggest offender. For me, I really feel like it was tuna. If it’s amalgams for you, focus on that with your doctor.
- Know that it is possible! I thought there would be no way to drop my levels this much without chelation. But change is possible!!
What I’m Still Working On With My Health
I’m still not perfect! Even after my Hashimoto’s stabilized and I got rid of mercury, there’s still more work to do. Here’s what I’m still focusing on…
My mercury levels may have dropped but I also had elevated aluminum levels that really didn’t. I feel like a big part of that was not taking cutting out sources seriously, so I’m working on that.
A bad side effect of my metal detox? My adrenals are tanked. Detox is hard on the body and my adrenals have only gotten worse.
I’ll be seeing my doctor talk about adrenal support supplementation, but in the interim, I’m focusing on stress reduction, sugar control, sleep, and gentle exercise.
Hormone balance & estrogen dominance
Hormones are all connected. Seeing as my liver is still rather “meh” and my adrenals are shot, I am estrogen dominant and low in progesterone. I’m continuing to work with my doctor on it, but the biggest sources of relief thus far have been liver support and controlling my sugar intake. Slowly but surely, I’m already seeing improvement,
I’ve never gotten a firm diagnosis of candida before… however, it’s strongly correlated with mercury toxicity, and I have the tendency to be a huge sugar monster! If you can’t tell from my love of baking 😉
I’ll be focusing on my own sugar control and getting retested for candida in 2018.
And there you have it! 1700 words to prove that I am not a perfectly healthy human. No matter how far we come, we still have to focus on keeping ourselves healthy and addressing speed bumps along the way. I’m grateful to be able to see change, and to share this message of hope with all of you!