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A Canary's Eye View — Metabolic Basis
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Mercury Poisoning —
study notes on mechanisms

Impaired sulfation / sulfoxidation (Liver Phase II Detox)

  • How it should work
  • Description from Ray on AMALGAM: mercury impairs varius mono-oxidase type hydroxylating enzymes
  • Sulfate necessary for many organs & processes; secondary damage results for example to collagen

Essential co-factors:

  • Vitamin B12
  • pterins
  • molybdenum thiols
  • antioxidants
  • perhaps
    • pantethine
    • Vitamin B1

What happens:

  • CFS Nutrition's page on Impaired Sulfur Oxidation says
    • "Excess free cysteine is a toxic condition and has been implicated in several degenerative diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Peripheral Neuron Degeneration, and others. (See their Science Page for journal references.)"
    • "The liver enzyme cysteine dioxygenase (CDO) is the primary regulating enzyme of cysteine. When this enzyme is not functioning at full strength, normal amounts of L-cysteine derived from food can elevate to dangerous levels in liver, plasma, and even the brain."
  • Damage to sulfite oxidase enzyme through
    • depletion of molybdenum
    • tungsten poisoning
    • damage to pterin/folate metabolism
    • Porphyria-impaired Protoporphyrin IX production
      (Protoporphyrin IX subsections are part of the enzyme)
  • Detox [check] then tries methylation, which can be too strong [tumor-forming?]

My Symptoms / evidence for poor sulfoxidation/sulfation:

  • evidence of not enough sulfur in connective tissue
    (sulfur from diet not converted to usable form)
    • dry, hard, splitting skin that responds to topical sulfur (Aloe Vera’s healing element is MSM)
    • canker sores that respond to topical sulfur from Epsom Salts mouthwash (not swallowed)
    • Sulfur deficiency in cartilage seems likely to be part of the cause of my Cumulative Trauma Disorder problems
  • evidence of failure of sulfation:
    • Estrogen not broken down well
      (Calcium D-glucarate partially corrects this)
    • General poor detoxing could well include inadequate sulfation
    • poor reaction to Glutathione could indicate inability to oxidate sulfur component?
  • results of sulfur supplementation
    • Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)
      • bath - 1/2 recommended dose resulted in diarrhoea for two days
      • mouthwash - canker sores healed
    • Aloe Vera - skin cracks heal


  • CFS sulfur metabolites (sulfates & sulfites) in feces & urine
  • challenge tests after ingesting sulfite in food:
  • Metametrix
  • test sticks


  • increasing thyroid could increase how well sulfite oxidase effects metabolic catalyzing
  • "diversion for confused thiols that cannot get oxidated as the sulfite oxidase is blocked, so offer them methyl-groups...." [get reference: posting to AMALGAM list.]
  • L-Histidine
    • cysteine dioxygenase (CDO), the primary regulating enzyme of cysteine, is composed of iron and L-histidine.
    • Needs adequate Cysteine.
  • CFS Nutrition's Restore & Replish
  • Vitamin B12
    • one sufferer on AMALGAM reports improvment from hydroxycobalamin (form of B12)and not from cyanocobalamin. Ray Hg S.(, 10/15/99 3:50 AM) responds it could be it's getting the varius mono-oxidase type hydroxylating enzymes working (even if it isn't methylating the mercury, which is what most people with mercury problems hope for from taking B12).
    • Swedish doctors report Vitamin B12 - metal disturbs transport!

See also my pages:

Impaired Methylation top

How it should work

  • helps the liver transport fats
  • helps with one part of phase 2 detox
  • contribute to brain serotonin
  • regulates estrogen levels

What happens:

  • xxx


  • from estrogen dysregulation: inflammation (Cutler)


  • Methyl donor supplementation
    • SAMe — S-adenosyl methionine (but watch out, this also has sulfur in it)
    • folic acid and Vitamin B12
    • choline
    • Betaine(trimethylglycine)
      (Note: the Betaine in Betaine HCl, a digestive product, is not sufficient for good methyl supplementation.)
    • TMG
    • In addition sometimes these can act as methyl donors in the brain:
      • lecithin
      • phosphatidylcholine
      • phoshpatidylserine

IGF-1/ HGH Axis top

How it should work

  • Liver converts HGH to IGF-I
  • IGF-I affects:
    • myelin repair
    • sulfation: uses sulfate (SO4 ) to detox various compounds, including
      • DHEA
      • Estrogens (which it is very clear I have trouble breaking down!)

Insufficient Energy GTP/NADH top

How it should work

  • Krebs cycle / citric acid cycle

What happens

Test: Organic Acids analysis

  • Description by Metametrix who perform it.
  • Description by Ray Saarela at the Beat CFS and FMS site : "this test looks at the chemicals used to make ATP energy in the citric acid cycle, and also at chemicals that are used to make neurotransmitters."

Neutrophil damage top

  • Mercury-contaminated neutrophils (immune macropahges) lose the ability to eat Candida albicans, and this persists after immediate exposure has been reduced. See Perlingeiro RC & Queiroz ML (abstract).
  • Neutrophils require glutathione (GSH) to rid themselves of yeast poisons.

Coprophyria [sp?] top

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency. All B-12's convert to methyl-cobalamin, which methylates mercury

Collagen damage top

Miscellaneous nerve damage top

  • Mercury alters brain neurons
    • "Mercury decreases nerve tissue's ability to produce actin and tubulin... proteins found inside nerve cells and are necessary for proper nerve structure and function."
      • Palkiewicz, Pawel, et al.
        ADP-Ribosylation of brain neruonal proteins is altered by in vitro and in vivo exposure to inorganic mercury", J. Neurochemistry 62P: (50 pp20049-2052, 1994
      • Quoted here from p. 115 of Mercury Free: the wisdom behind the global consumer movement to ban "silver" dental fillings, by Dr. James Hardy. (Gabriel Rose Press, Glassboro, NJ, 1996) )
    • Lorscheider FL; Vimy MJ; Summers AO; Zwiers H.
      The dental amalgam mercury controversy--inorganic mercury and the CNS; genetic linkage of mercury and antibiotic resistances in intestinal bacteria. Toxicology, 1995 (found on Medline, see bottom of this note.)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Alzheimer's Disease (AD)
  • Tubulin destruction. Dietrich Klinghardt's description:

    "As [mercury] travels up in the nerve[to the brain], it destroys the body’s mechanism and substance, called tubulin, for transporting substances in the nerves (breaking down the bridges behind it, as it were), and in effect, destroying the nerve."

    "The main devastating effect of mercury in the nervous system is that it interferes with the energy production inside each cell. The nerve cell is impaired in its ability to detoxify itself [and excrete the mercury] and in its ability to nurture itself. The cell becomes toxic and dies, or lives in a state of chronic malnutrition. A multitude of illnesses, usually associated with neurological symptoms, result." Among these are chronic viral and fungal illnesses, recurrent episodes of bacterial infections, and chronic fatigue.

    ...from Migraines, Seizures, and Mercury Toxicity

See also

copyright © 2000 by Catherine Holmes Clark. Last updated 17 November 2000