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Mercury and food intolerance



“At the moment it’s one in five people in Ireland with a food intolerance”, the chair of the Food Safety Professionals Association recently told “One in 100 Irish people are coeliac, and there’s an awful lot of food that these people can’t eat.”


There’s no doubt that hosting a dinner party has become more challenging over recent years. No longer does serving a meat and a vegetarian alternative cover all bases. Incidences of food intolerance have exploded, increasing the likelihood that at least one of your dinner party will have problems digesting lactose, gluten or wheat.


family eating breakfast

Why the increase in food intolerance?

Expert nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara told The Telegraph; "There's been a 10 fold increase in people with food intolerances in the UK in the last 25 years".

This surge in food intolerance hasn’t yet been explained. Theories have been put forward including the overuse of antibiotics, environmental pollution, the use of food additives and increasingly stressful lifestyles. Questions have also been raised about the role played by mercury and toxic metals in cases of food intolerance.


The difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance

The first thing to remember is that a food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy. Ruth Charles, secretary of the Irish Food Allergy Network says that about 2% of the adult population has a food allergy, while anywhere between 10 and 45% could have a food intolerance.

A food allergy is a reaction by our immune system against a threat in the body; something which is perceived as foreign. Robyn O’Brien gave a great TED Talk a few years back about how her child’s allergic reaction to her breakfast one morning changed how she looked at food forever. You can watch below.


Food intolerance on the other hand doesn’t involve the immune system. Food intolerance is associated with gut symptoms such as pain, discomfort, bloating and wind. While an allergic reaction to food will occur immediately, the reaction to a food to which one is intolerant, occurs more slowly over hours or even days following ingestion. It is this reaction in the gut which has caused some doctors to investigate the connection between toxic mercury and food intolerance.


Could amalgam fillings be contributing to food intolerance?

amalgam fillings


Inorganic mercury compounds are notorious among scientists for gut injury in humans. It is easily absorbed by the small and large intestines. While there are many ways in which mercury can be ingested (e.g. fish consumption), amalgam fillings can increase the frequency and levels of an individual’s mercury ingestion.


Mercury has been shown to excrete from amalgam fillings, or disturbing the fillings in some way. This mercury contaminates the saliva in the mouth, which is then swallowed and ingested, damaging the gut and intestines.

An extensive report by Bernard Windham, published on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, found that people who had high levels of mercury in their systems, also had defective enzymatic processes impairing their digestion of milk proteins. When the mercury levels in these same people was reduced, they witnessed a big improvement in these same enzymatic and digestion processes.

Food intolerances are a relatively new phenomenon. Their causes are shrouded in uncertainty. Whether mercury has a part to play has not been proven one way or the other, but given what we know about its toxic nature, the links are not surprising.

Future research in this area is something I will be keeping a very close eye on. If you are concerned about food intolerances or other amalgam related illnesses, contact us here or call 01 286 6394 to arrange a consultation.

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