Saturday, November 22, 2008

Probiotics and Mercury

Some developmental, neurological changes do not have a clear genetic linkage. One hypothesis is that mercury poisoning through environmentally acquired mercury, which could be due to casual contact or through vaccination, may exert neurological effects on the brain. It may be that mercury exposure during early development might “throw a genetic switch”. There is anecdotal evidence that soil-based organisms can help with detoxification. Pathogenic organisms have been shown to readily detoxify mercury.

The detoxification of organic mercury in bacteria occurs from their ability to convert highly toxic Hg2+ to Hg (0) via a redox reaction. It has been known for over 25 years that the intestinal flora could produce organic mercury from ingestion of mercuric chloride. Enteric bacteria, including streptococci, staphylococci, E. coli, yeasts, lactobacilli, bacteroides and bifidobacteria, are capable of methylating HgCl.

Probiotic organisms such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria produce only small amounts of methyl mercury. The elemental mercury escapes from the bacteria after detoxification, where it may continue to 1 of 4 possibilities: expulsion, reabsorption, or be taken up and processed back to methyl mercury by either pathogenic or probiotic bacteria. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 90 % of methyl mercury is excreted through bile in the feces. Elemental mercury or mercuric chloride is taken up and processed much more slowly to methyl mercury. With large numbers of probiotic bacteria, mercury can effectively be driven toward expulsion.

It is estimated by the American Academy of Pediatrics that during childhood vaccinations, it is possible for the dose of mercury to exceed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended levels for safety. There are chelation protocols using ethylenediaminetetra-acetic acid (EDTA) or dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) to effectively clear mercury from the body. The administration of probiotics would prevent any recycling of toxic mercury.

As probiotics contact and process the various types of mercury, there would be some mutations that would occur in the probiotic genomes. The body has an innate ability to clear organic mercury, with 90% of methyl mercury being excreted through the bile in feces. 
There is a belief that the gastrointestinal tract plays a major role as mercury exerts an effect on the immune system in the gut. Mercury can cause an autoimmune response. Probiotics along with monoterpene may be valuable in detoxifying mercury, since monoterpenes can increase phase II detoxifying in the body.

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