5.7 Ethanol.

The Swedish Association of Dental Mercury Patients ( Tandvardsskadeforbundet 1993) states: "The intake of 5-6 cl of alcohol (40%) 1/2 to 1 hour prior to dental treatment can protect you from some of the mercury exposure. The alcohol reduces absorption of mercury vapor in the lungs and keeps the metal vaporized in the blood long enough to be exhaled again."

When looking at scientific reports it seems that alcohol consumption can decrease the whole body burden and/or the uptake of mercury as seen from these human studies:

  • Nylander (1987) reported:
    "In 9 cases with suspected alcohol abuse mercury levels in the occipital lobe were, in most cases, somewhat lower than expected based on the regression line".
  • Weiner (1993) reported:
    "Chronic alcohol abuse was associated with decreased concentrations of mercury in occipital cortex."
    (Occipital lobe / cortex is part of the brain).
    Nylanders report above and this report by Weiner are a bit hard to interpret because alcoholists would possibly eat less regular food (including fish) and could thereby theoretically have a lower food-related mercury-exposure than non-alcoholists, why these two reports alone do not prove that chronic alcoholism lowers the mercury retention from amalgam-fillings.
  • Martin (1994) reported that the habit of alcohol consumption, in dentists, resulted in lower urinary mercury levels:
    "a clear inverse dose-response relationship was seen between alcohol and urinary mercury".
  • Hursh (1980) reported that ingestion of about 1 litre of beer ingested half an hour before mercury vapor exposure, by three human volunteers, reduced retention of mercury vapor and increased the amount they exhaled.
  • Nielsen-Kudsk (1965) exposed 4 human individuals for mercury vapour (about 200 ug/m3) and alcohol (20-27 g alcohol corresponding to about 6 cl of 40% spiritus.) Half an hour to an hour after alcohol ingestion the retention of mercury vapour had decreased, from about 75-85%, to about 55-65% of inhaled amount. There seemed to be a strong tendency that individuals that ingested more alcohol or whose body weight were less also reduced their mercury uptake after alcohol ingestion more than those with lower intake of alcohol or higher body weight, pointing in the direction that it could be possible that an even greater amount of alcohol could lower the uptake of mercury even more.

Studies where animals have been exposed to mercury and alcohol show that alcohol

  1. given before mercury exposure decreases whole body burden of mercury (Hursh 1980, Khayat 1984) as well as the retention of Hg vapour (Hursh 1980).
  2. given after mercury exposure increases exhalation of mercury (Dunn 1978).

However, the question if alcohol is beneficial in humans exposed to mercury vapor during amalgam removal or of use when treating mercury-intoxicated patients remain to be studied / confirmed or disconfirmed because lack of human clinical studies that tests if there is a positive net effect on symptoms and because there has been some reports that points out possible negative effects:

  • Buckell (1946) reported:
    "The most charachteristic symptom, though it is not the first to appear, is mercurial tremor... Alcoholism favours its development, and it is claimed that no total abstainer has ever suffered from tremor in severe form... "
  • Hursh (1980) reported that alcohol could increase the amount mercury in the liver although the whole body retention decreased.
  • Khayat (1984) reported from an animal experiment that alcohol can increase the mercury retention in kidney and adrenal cells.
  • Tamashiro (1986) reported that in animals:
    "Ethanol potentiated the toxicity of methyl mercury in terms of neurological manifestations (hindleg crossings and abnormal gait) and mortality. The magnitude of effect depended on the concentration of ethanol administered. The concentration of mercury in the kidney and brain also increased with the dose of ethanol given."
    Methylmercury is organic mercury which we mainly get from eating fish. From amalgam-fillings we get inorganic mercury. But as the amount methylmercury from fish is, on a group level, not far behind the amount of inorganic mercury from amalgam-fillings (see section 7.1) (and in some individuals even higher) it could be that chronic ethanol intake makes a substantial fraction (the methylmercury) of our mercury-dosage more toxic than what it would have been in non-ethanol-drinkers.

5.8 C-vitamin infusion.

Reports, published in non-scientific media as Queen (1991), have stated that people, with suspected amalgam-related illness, benefits from intravenous administration of about 0.75 g C-vitamin / kg body weight (sic!) during a few hours, especially during (sic! -in the dental chair) amalgam removal. There seems to be done very little (published) research on this. One article (Dirks 1994) stated that it was not shown that mercury-excretion in urine was increased during 24 h after such a C-vitamin-administration as described above. An abstract (Hall 1994) from a conference stated that there was an, up to about 100-fold, increase of mercury in faeces, but not in urine, after such a C-vitamin administration as described above.

Also make sure to read these books: Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings...Hazardous to Your Health! and Mercury Detoxification by Tom McGuire