Heavy metals, dentists, fish and heart failure
Type of Spiritual Experience
two related background papers on the causes of heart disease
A description of the experience
The role of mercury and cadmium heavy metals in vascular disease, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction. Houston MC. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, USA.
Mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals have a high affinity for sulfhydryl (-SH) groups, inactivating numerous enzymatic reactions, amino acids, and sulfur-containing antioxidants (NAC, ALA, GSH), with subsequent decreased oxidant defense and increased oxidative stress.
Both bind to metallothionein and substitute for zinc, copper, and other trace metals reducing the effectiveness of metalloenzymes.
Mercury induces mitochondrial dysfunction with reduction in ATP, depletion of glutathione, and increased lipid peroxidation; increased oxidative stress is common.
Selenium antagonizes mercury toxicity.
The overall vascular effects of mercury include oxidative stress, inflammation, thrombosis, vascular smooth muscle dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, dyslipidemia, immune dysfunction, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
The clinical consequences of mercury toxicity include hypertension, CHD, MI, increased carotid IMT and obstruction, CVA, generalized atherosclerosis, and renal dysfunction with proteinuria.
Pathological, biochemical, and functional medicine correlations are significant and logical. Mercury diminishes the protective effect of fish and omega-3 fatty acids. Mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals inactivate COMT, which increases serum and urinary epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This effect will increase blood pressure and may be a clinical clue to heavy metal toxicity.
Cadmium concentrates in the kidney, particularly inducing proteinuria and renal dysfunction; it is associated with hypertension, but less so with CHD. Renal cadmium reduces CYP4A11 and PPARs, which may be related to hypertension, sodium retention, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and zinc deficiency. Dietary calcium may mitigate some of the toxicity of cadmium.
Heavy metal toxicity, especially mercury and cadmium, should be evaluated in any patient with hypertension, CHD, or other vascular disease. Specific testing for acute and chronic toxicity and total body burden using hair, toenail, urine, serum, etc. with baseline and provoked evaluation should be done.
Extracted from N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 28;347(22):1755-60. Mercury and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. - Yoshizawa K, Rimm EB, Morris JS, Spate VL, Hsieh CC, Spiegelman D, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.
…...Using a nested case-control design, we investigated the association between mercury levels in toenails and the risk of coronary heart disease among male health professionals with no previous history of cardiovascular disease or cancer who were 40 to 75 years of age in 1986.
Toenail clippings were collected in 1987 from 33,737 cohort members, and during five years of follow-up, we documented 470 cases of coronary heart disease (coronary-artery surgery, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and fatal coronary heart disease). Each patient was matched according to age and smoking status with a randomly selected control subject.
The mercury level was significantly correlated with fish consumption (Spearman r=0.42, P<0.001), and the mean mercury level was higher in dentists than in nondentists (mean, 0.91 and 0.45 microg per gram, respectively; P<0.001).
The source of the experienceOther ill or disabled person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Heart failure and coronary heart disease
Heavy metal poisoning