5 Ways Mercury is Toxic to the Body


Mercury is one of a group of elements considered to be “heavy metals”, a group which also contains lead and arsenic. Exposure to this element can happen in a number of ways, such as though agricultural chemicals when conventionally raised foods are eaten or through drinking water or eating fish or seafood. And there are many things that mercury can do to the body once it is in the system; five of these negative impacts are discussed below.

Interferes with Metabolism

Metabolism, or the process by which the body breaks down food into its essential nutrients that can then be used for various functions, is a complex process and depends on many pathways. Mercury in the system, however, can help disrupt these pathways, binding with essential nutrients and deactivating many important enzymes. This can lead to many problems with nutrient deficiency, since the body can knew longer access these vital components.

Disrupts Bodily Functions

Many heavy metals, including mercury, can disrupt many of the body’s normal functions because they interrupt the body’s transulfuration pathways. What this means is that sulfur is present in all protein cells, and since mercury is able to bind itself to these cells, it can become established and build up virtually anywhere in the body. This means that multiple body systems are affected if exposure to mercury occurs.


Mercury, once in the body, can cause acidification by reducing the amount of oxygen within the cells of the body. Here’s how it works: oxygen uses calcium and sodium to move through the cell membranes and into the cells. However, mercury is able to essential hijack this transport, leaving the cells with less oxygen. This raise the pH within the cell and this general acidification can speed up the aging process and leave the body more vulnerable to cell mutations which can easily become cancerous.

Bacterial Issues

Mercury has anti-bacterial properties and this may sound like a good thing, but unfortunately it does not discriminate between killing off harmful bacteria and killing off the good bacteria, like the ones that live in the digestive tract and contribute so largely to immunity and digestion both. This antibacterial activity can also backfire and lead to the rise of resistant strains of bacteria like MRSA which are very difficult to treat.

Endocrine Disruptor

Mercury is also an endocrine system disruptor, which means that it interferes with glands throughout the body and can alter the amount of hormones these glands produce. Hormones, of course, are incredibly important and regulate such things as energy and metabolic levels, a woman’s menstrual and fertility cycles and the process by which the body uses glucose to maintain its cells, just to name a few.

However, the good news is that there are ways to help remove mercury from our bodies in a natural and healthy manner as well. This include chelation therapy, zeolite supplements, or including cilantro or chlorella in the diet. These things can be found at many local health food stores, so talk to one of the associates about this if you are concerned about a build-up of this particular toxin.

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Samriti has written a number of articles and blog posts for websites and print in the health industry. The majority of this writing was related to cancer information, blood pressure and healthy living.