When people thought about toxins in the past, they usually referred to mercury, lead, arsenic, antimony, and other metals. Nowadays, insecticides are more often considered as potentially injurious. Hydrocarbons, poly-chlor-vinyls (PCVs) used in the manufacture of certain plastics, and other organic compounds are also topics of conversation and speculation regarding their impact on myelin and nervous system disease in general.
In fact, many potential toxins exist in our environment, but federal agencies and groups within our society are making progress in reducing exposure to these agents. Problems caused by lead, mercury, and arsenic are real but do not appear to be issues that are especially relevant to MS patients. Few facts are available as to how much these toxins affect normal persons in the concentrations encountered in the environment, let alone how they may impact patients with MS. There is indeed more myth than fact regarding the role of toxins in health and disease.
One continuing concern is whether mercury in dental amalgam, the material used in dental fillings, is a health issue for MS. Although industrial mercury pollution was a major health problem in Japan and elsewhere, mercury in dental amalgam is a very different issue. There are inconsequential differences in serum and tissue levels of mercury in MS patients as compared with normals. We have found no differences in urinary excretion of mercury in MS patients. In studies of edentulous MS patients who had never had any dental repairs, we found they had higher levels of mercury simply because they consumed more fish. Thus, there is no medical justification for removal of amalgam dental fillings, and the concept of "detoxification" has no place in the management of MS. Increased excretion of metals after "chelation" with drugs does not mean toxic levels were present in the person prior to chelation. Many of the measurements reported by laboratories are unreliable. Hair analysis is preferred, but hair from the head is not suitable. Slow growing hair such as pubic hair is the only appropriate specimen. Most patients, and some physicians, are unaware that chelating agents are themselves quite toxic and should be avoided, especially in treating MS patients! The bottom line is that there is no role for chelation therapy in MS.
Dental amalgam the material dentists used for dental repairs (make dental fillings).
Was this article helpful?
Detoxification is something that is very important to the body, but it is something that isn't understood well. Centuries ago, health masters in the East understood the importance of balancing and detoxifying the body. It's something that Western medicine is only beginning to understand.