Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? or
Low Level Mercury Poisoning?
By Jeff Clark
I moved to Portland, Oregon in 1983 after graduating from college in Montana.
Financially, I had to struggle through school: food, books and tuition were my priorities, with very little left for anything else.
At graduation I was 23, and strapping healthy. There was only one exception to my excellent health, bad teeth. During childhood I had developed a large number of serious cavities resulting in 13 teeth with major fillings. By the end of college many of these fillings were in disrepair. The university health clinic dentist repeatedly did patch work, admonishing me that I needed to go get things fixed properly.
I started work at Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, OR, May 1983. Six months later my dental plan vesting was completed, and I began having my teeth fixed. In a 3 month period, each and every filling was replaced. When it was over I was proud of my teeth. My dentist did excellent work. My mouth was restored to great condition.
Three months later I started having a sore throat, sniffles, and some fatigue, not unlike a flu. My new job produced stress because of the demands of meeting a product development schedule, and because of my own demands to prove myself in my new career. For the longest time the sore throat persisted, and slowly, almost imperceptibly, my strength began slipping away.
By 1986 my symptoms were an exact match for CFS. I was having night sweats, swollen lymph glands, loss of memory, constant headaches, inability to concentrate, numerous vague aches and pains, extreme fatigue, a high level of anxiety and emotional instability.
My life consisted of fighting my way through work each day, and collapsing on the sofa in the evening. Sleep, that refreshing friend, could not revive my energies, no matter how long I rested. Work was all I could muster. Off hours and weekends were spent attempting to rest and recover. My girlfriend, now my wife, Carmen, wondered how we would ever have a life together. We wanted children, and many other happy things. If all I had energy for was work, how could I help raise children? have a home? have a happy life together?
I went to several doctors. Yes, there were Epstein-Barr titers, but no sign of active virus. Endocrinology checked out. Blood chemistry revealed a perfectly normal 26 year old. At some point I was tested for AIDS, even though my risk level was in the extremely low category. With no great surprise, AIDS wasn't the cause either. My doctor decided it must be stress, it must be psychosomatic, it must be in my head. He gave me the name of a psychologist on "pill hill", maybe he could help. I never went. Of course I was stressed out. There was something drastically wrong with me, and no one could figure out what it was. I was a young man, I had so much life to live. I began to resign myself to a life of chronic fatigue.
In 1983 I weighed in at a muscular 190 pounds. At the end of 1986 my weight was down to 150 pounds. Food didn't work for me any more. I ate vigorously, enormous amounts to retain weight, it just barely kept me alive.
Carmen and I started to notice a pattern in my symptoms. Whenever I would eat something sweet, or drink a soda pop, all of my symptoms would go off together like a 3 alarm fire. This reminded Carmen of a girlfriend who had developed chronic yeast infections. We picked up the "Yeast Connection" book, and the name of a Natural Path who had helped the friend recover. This began my odyssey into the fringes of conventional medicine.
There were some strong clues with the yeast theory. Eliminating all forms of sugar, and testing myself for food allergies helped to stabilize my situation. Some stool tests and we were convinced that somehow yeast had taken over my body chemistry. My illness gained a focus, it became a pitched battle with chronic yeast infection. The center of my yeast problem was my lower intestine. I became an expert on how to kill those little buggers in my gut, and it helped. My energies increased a little, and my symptoms eased somewhat.
In 1988 Carmen and I decided to marry. We had a life characterized by less than normal energy, and burdened with an onerous picky diet, but we had a life. My Natural Path kicked me out because she couldn't see any way to progress me further. I was now in maintenance mode. Never giving up the desire for a cure, I tried a few more doctors. We found some MD's who would prescribe Nizoral and other prescription yeast killing drugs. A couple rounds of this stuff brought me up another level of health, but still didn't cure me. The only proof I needed of not being cured was to stray from my diet. If I were to have something sweet, I'd be sick again. The drugs are not a long term solution, because they will destroy your liver if you keep taking them. When I went off the drugs my symptoms would slowly ratchet up again.
In 1992 we had our first daughter. By 1994 I had 4 of my largest dental fillings replaced with crowns, and my physical life was stable, the best it had been since 1983. I was not cured, but I was not as desperate as before.
A friend heard a nutritionist speaking on the radio. This expert was talking about chronic yeast infections. She contended there is an underlying cause for people who are unable to shake chronic yeast. I hadn't been able to shake yeast by any method, conventional or unconventional, after 8 years of trying. My attention was riveted. The nutritionist believes that heavy metal poisoning is the culprit. Astonishingly, almost the entire baby boom generation, including me, has been systematically exposed to low levels of one particular heavy metal, mercury.
Mercury is 50% of the material found in silver / mercury amalgam dental fillings.
My mind went back to 1983. My word! It was my dental fillings that had made me sick!
Today it is July 1996. There are no longer any silver / mercury amalgam dental fillings in my mouth. I have been through 6 chelation treatments. Chelation is a method of extracting mercury from human chemistry.
The measurable mercury in my system is now within normal acceptable limits. At the beginning of 1995 my body mercury levels measured at 4 times the acceptable limit. Who knows what the levels were in 1986, when I was deathly ill?
My vitamin chemistry is in balance, the chronic yeast is gone. I no longer have to treat for yeast. I can eat sweets. Ice cream doesn't ruin me for 3 days anymore. There is no food to which I am sensitive. My weight is back up to 180 pounds.
I feel great!
Sleep is my friend, returning me to the land of the refreshed every morning.
My mind is sharp, and my emotions are stable. I'm finally cured.
I lost 11 of my best years to sickness, but I am not bitter. I am thankful that the next years of my life can be that normal happy life Carmen and I have always desired. We have 2 daughters now, the second one came in 1995. Together, Carmen and I have enough energy to make it all work.
Ironically, the doctor in 1986 was right, it was all in my head, just not the way he was thinking. While my dentist and his colleague were willing to replace all of my fillings, they are skeptical. They and the ADA (American Dental Association) are in strong denial that the mercury in dental fillings has any ill affects on peoples health. Everyone agrees it is well established that high level mercury poisoning exists, and is a serious health problem when it occurs. Somehow, the majority of the dental industry believes you just can't get any poisoning at all from silver / mercury amalgam dental fillings.
I'm no medical or mercury expert. Based on my experiences, I feel qualified to hypothesize that there is truth on all sides. When the number of amalgam dental fillings is small, and the size of those is not so big, and the fillings are replaced sparsely over a long period of time, a healthy person probably can't accumulate enough mercury to have any symptoms of mercury poisoning.
When there are a number of amalgam dental fillings, they are large, they are drilled out and repacked with fresh amalgam in the shortest amount of time, I know first hand that a person can become quite sick.
My current doctors have speculated that the health of some people is more sensitive to low levels of mercury, this is probably true.
In my case, there is now a very clear before and after story. I have wished for myself to be well for a long time, and have done many things over 8 years to become better, without complete success.
By directing my efforts at removing the silver / mercury amalgam fillings in my teeth, and by going through chelation to remove the accumulation of mercury in my body, I finally have a cure.
If you've made it this far, then it's time to talk about you, which is the main reason for me writing.
My story represents what science calls anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is proof of nothing more than a series of events occurred. There may or may not be any cause and effect relationships between any of the events, it could all be coincidence. At best, anecdotal evidence is a clue, the basis for a hypothesis. A hypothesis requires rigorous, repeatable experimentation to produce true scientific proof. I personally don't have another 11 years to give for producing this kind of proof.
Therefore, my experiences are uniquely mine. I provide them here for you to use as a clue, for you to use as a single reference point in forming a hypothesis about your own health problems.
My experiences may apply to other people who are suffering CFS. My experiences do not necessarily apply to everyone who suffers CFS.
Here are the indicators I suggest looking for in forming your own hypothesis about how low level mercury poisoning may be affecting your health...
- Do you have numerous large, silver / mercury amalgam fillings in your teeth?
- Does your CFS include a sequence of events where dental work involving silver/amalgam fillings precedes the development of symptoms?
- Have you ever worked in a dentist office or dental lab?
- Can you think of any other ways you may have been exposed to mercury?, for example: a broken thermometer? or skin lotion from Mexico? or eating fish from a volcanic or mining area?
If you can answer a definitive no to all of these questions, then my experiences
probably don't apply to your health problems.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes or maybe, then it's worth your time and effort to have your mercury levels tested. You may have elevated mercury levels, and may be suffering from low level mercury poisoning.
My wife, family and friends regularly tell me they cannot believe how well I am now, having witnessed how ill I had once been.
May you too find a root cause to your illness and become well soon!