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Genetic Predisposition To Mercury Toxicity

While some people observe that their health problems begin after amalgam fillings are made or removed without taking the necessary precautions, others can feel healthy even though they have had amalgam fillings for years.

Of course, everyone’s criteria for being healthy can be different. Someone whose body gives serious alarms is so accustomed to living with these symptoms that they consider themselves healthy.

However, it would not be wrong to say that not everyone exposed to mercury has the same problems. Some people seem to cope with mercury or other toxins more easily, while in others these types of toxins can cause many health problems.

Why are some people more affected by mercury than others?

There may be many reasons for this: the amount of toxins that are exposed, whether this amount accumulates over time or is exposed at once, exposure to more than one toxin at the same time and increasing the effects of each other, such as pathogenic bacterial toxins present in the body.

Another reason that is getting more and more attention is that certain aberrations (polymorphisms or SNPs) in a person’s genetic sequence make that person more susceptible to the effects of toxins.

The introductory part of the article describing a study conducted on members of the American Dental Association in 2015 included the following comment:

“One of the major challenges in performing the risk assessment of mercury is that, despite exposure to similar mercury levels, […] there are huge differences between members of communities in terms of mercury measured in hair (Canuel et al., 2005).” In other words, although people seem to be exposed to the same amount of mercury, the amount of mercury they can throw out can be different. Let’s continue… “Although the source and dose of mercury may explain to some extent the difference in mercury content between individuals, differences in the absorption, distribution and elimination processes (in other words, toxicokinetics) of mercury may also play an important role in the formation of this distinction. Mercury toxicokinetics can be affected, for example, by changes in functional enzymes and proteins that transport, oxidize or reduce mercury (Gundacker et al., 2010).” (1)

As a result of her study of 500 children in 2013, Woods said:

  • Abnormalities in genes (SNPs) that enable the body to produce metallothionein increase the susceptibility of children to mercury neurotoxicity.
  • The relationship between mercury and neurobehavioral performance was observed mostly in boys.
  • In children with 2 metallothionein SNPs, the adverse effect of mercury on performance was measured at the highest level. (2)

Now let’s look at what metallotionein does in the body:

Metallothioneins are small proteins containing sulfhydryl groups that bind to zinc, copper, iron, cadmium, mercury, and other metals (3). With these properties, they not only regulate zinc metabolism, but also act as a natural chelator in the body and play a role in removing toxic metals from the body (4).

In an experiment to better understand the role of metallothioneins, the researchers silenced the mice’s MT-I and MT-II genes. While this appeared to have no developmental effects in the mice, they became more susceptible to cadmium poisoning. On the other hand, increasing MT genes increased their resistance to cadmium (5).

In short, even a difference in a gene that produces only one protein can adversely affect the excretion of metals and therefore mercury, leading to the accumulation of too many toxins for the body to cope with.

You can find other genetic variations that come to the fore in mercury research in my previous article titled “Facts About Amalgam Fillings“.

If we’re genetically unlucky…

We now know that our genes are not destiny. Epigenetics has shown that environmental factors can play a huge role in how genes are expressed. The environment you create for your body can control your genes’ on-off switches. Many factors such as what you eat, sleep, getting sunlight, spending time in nature, having good social relationships, and breathing properly can make this environment better. You may think these are irrelevant, but each one of them makes it easier for the biochemical events in the body to run smoothly.

Of course, while trying to increase the body’s ability to cope with toxins, let’s also remember that we should reduce the toxins we are exposed to from the outside as much as we can and lighten the burden of the body…


  3. N.V. BHAGAVAN, in Medical Biochemistry (Fourth Edition), 2002
  4. Susan L.-A. Samson, Lashitew Gedamu, in Progress in Nucleic Acid Research and Molecular Biology, 1997

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