Dear Mark: Iodized Salt, Weather and Health, and Mercury Fillings

IodineIt’s Monday, which means it’s time for another edition of Dear Mark. This week, I’m covering three topics. First up is iodized salt and its place in the Primal eating plan. It’s processed, it’s conventional, and plenty of alternative health purveyors warn against eating it, but how bad is it? Is there actually a place for it in a Primal lifestyle? After that, I discuss the myriad ways the weather can affect our health and physiology, including lowering body temperature, impairing immune function, increasing blood pressure, and triggering joint pain. Finally, I explore whether or not mercury fillings in our teeth are a health hazard, weighing the evidence from both sides of the argument. I also discuss what to do if you want to have them removed.

Let’s get to it!

Dear Mark,

My understanding of salt use is that sea salt is not iodized. I have read that iodized salt is important to the proper function of the thyroid gland. Supposedly restaurants and other places are steering clear of conventional iodized salt because it is viewed as unhealthy, and can discolor food in cooking.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I wise to still use conventional iodized table salt?



Correct. Sea salt generally is not iodized, unless specified on the package. Sea salt does naturally include some iodine, though usually not enough to qualify as “iodized.” If you don’t have another source of iodine in your diet, and you’re not taking iodine or kelp supplements, I’d say stick with using some iodized salt in your cooking. Maybe half iodized salt and half sea salt.

What sorts of foods contain iodine? Seaweeds of all types contain the most iodine, with the aforementioned kelp (or kombu) being the densest and most easily attainable source. Next time you make broth or soup, add a two inch strip of kelp to the pot toward the end of cooking. After seaweed, iodine content falls off. Other seafoods, like cod or shellfish, are going to be good – but wildly varying – sources of iodine. One filet of cod might have the full RDI while the next fillet has a quarter of it. It’s difficult to know for sure (but isn’t that always the case when dealing with food?). After seafood, yogurt appears to be the best source, followed by eggs, milk, and strawberries. Again, the actual iodine content of these foods depends almost entirely on the iodine content of the soil on which they were cultivated or raised, which also varies.

You should also consider the goitrogen content of your diet. Goitrogens interfere with the function of the thyroid, effectively increasing the amount of iodine required to make sufficient thyroid hormone. Examples of goitrogen-rich foods include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, turnips, and Brussels sprouts, as well as soy. Exhaustive online lists of goitrogens include things like strawberries and peaches and spinach, although I’m not sure how detrimental those actually are.

As long as you’re eating enough seafood, eggs, with the occasional foray into the sea vegetable realm without overdoing it on the broccoli, you should be okay without iodized salt. A dash or two of iodized salt, or maybe some kelp granules sprinkled on top your food, can be extra insurance and shouldn’t be harmful. Note, though, that the iodine contents of iodized salts don’t usually match up with the claims on the package. It’s best to just eat a wide variety of foods known to be rich (if unreliable) sources of iodine, so you know you’re covered in the long run.

Hi Mark,

Living in Europe, I often hear Europeans complain about how their ailments often come from the weather. If someone mentions circulation problems, headaches, dizziness, joint pain, heart palpitations, low or high blood pressure, or stomach aches, more often than not, someone will chime in: “It must be the weather!” Even doctors here will say this. They attribute it to temperature differentiation and transitions from cold to warm and vice versa. Some also think you’ll get sick if you walk barefoot on a cold floor. And as soon as one starts to get a cold or sore throat, they wrap a scarf around their neck and wear it indoors as well as outdoors.

So my question is, does weather really have an effect on our health as they make it out to have? Thanks!


Well, weather certainly has a measurable effect on our physiology. Whether that translates to an effect on our “health,” I’m not so sure. Let’s go through it a bit, though. Disregarding the obvious ones like heat stroke, dehydration, frostbite, etc, what physiological markers can weather affect?

Body temperature: Being warm-blooded animals, we generally maintain a consistent body temperature regardless of the outside temperature. That doesn’t come freely, though. We have to actively maintain body temperature through subconscious physiological adjustments. When it’s hot, we sweat, and the evaporating water cools us. Our body hairs also lie flat in hot weather, preventing hot air from building up and getting trapped between the hairs. Our arteries also dilate, allowing increased blood flow and improved heat loss. When it’s cold, the opposite happens. We stop sweating, our hairs stand up (goosebumps), and our arteries constrict. Blood flow is directed toward the warmer (and vital) interior and away from the “non-essential” extremities to further reduce cooling. Taken to an extreme, this can manifest as frostbite, or tissue death.

Blood pressure: Recall that in order to restrict blood flow and maintain body temperature in cold weather, our arteries constrict. This vasoconstriction triggers an increase in blood pressure, which, particularly in susceptible or already-hypertensive people, can precipitate dangerous conditions like stroke or heart attack. In fact, head and neck cooling directly increases blood pressure, heart attack and stroke deaths peak in winter time, and a low body temperature is associated with an elevated risk of stroke. If you’re perpetually cold, or suffer from a low body temperature, it’s possible that this could trigger a pathologically hypertensive state.

Immunity: Can you really catch a cold from being out in the cold without a jacket? That’s what mothers have been claiming for eons, but how true is it? Well, a low body temperature is associated with lowered immune function. There are several lines of evidence showing this:

So, yes, there is something to all those old wives’ tales. If walking barefoot on a cold floor lowers your core body temperature enough to impair your immune function, it may very well leave you open to infection. However, cold weather in and of itself is not the cause. Lowered body temperature is the cause. Keep your body temperature up and you’ll be more resistant.

Joint pain: That old guy with the limp who claims he can predict the weather might be telling the truth; human joints contain sensory nerves called baro-receptors, which are highly attuned to fluctuations in atmospheric pressure. They’re particularly sensitive to the drops in pressure that occur when the weather turns from dry to wet, like when a rainstorm is about to hit. A recent review of rheumatoid arthritis studies concluded that “pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than others,” suggesting that while the weather/joint pain connection isn’t true in anyone, it does exist in some people.

However, healthy, intact, stable joints shouldn’t hurt because of incoming wet weather. Weather won’t cause pain in something that isn’t already a bit impaired.

I hope that answered your question.

Do you recommend having amalgam mercury-containing fillings taken out and replaced with some other filling substance? Can mercury in your teeth cause havoc in your body after years of being there? Can mercury in your teeth cause hormone imbalance, thyroid problems, hair loss, brain fog, etc. and other symptoms of hormone imbalance?


That’s a tough one. The evidence is pretty clear, though, that mercury-containing fillings do release mercury into your body, and they may increase the levels of mercury in your body, despite what mainstream outlets will tell you. What’s not totally clear is whether the dose provided by the typical mercury filling is enough to negatively impact health. Some reviews have found that only “hypersensitive” people are vulnerable to mercury fillings (even though they do give off mercury). Meanwhile, the presence of mercury amalgams has been fingered as a risk factor for autoimmune disease.

I don’t doubt that it’s hard to find evidence of health problems just from looking at people with fillings. It seems like looking at what happens to people who had fillings removed would be more helpful. Seth Roberts, in whose dedication to the science of self-experimentation I place a lot of trust, found that his brain function (as measured by timing himself doing basic arithmetic problems) markedly improved after removing two mercury fillings. There’s also evidence that mercury filling removal can improve thyroid function in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis and health in patients with autoimmune diseases in general. Evidence of benefits upon removal appears to be evidence of harm, no?

Unfortunately, the very act of eating, of masticating, of chewing, of grinding up food against your mercury filling and then ingesting it increases the amount of mercury released and absorbed, which is why gum addicts with mercury fillings absorb way more mercury than more moderate chewers with fillings (or non-chewers with mercury fillings, for that matter). Man can’t live on smoothies alone, however. He must chew his food, and this makes mercury avoidance tough when it’s sitting in your mouth. Removal seems prudent.

I’ve heard that unless specific precautions are taken, the very act of removal can release a ton of mercury into your body, more than would happen over the lifetime of just keeping the fillings. Depending on how the filling is drilled out, the patient can inhale the mercury fumes or swallow the cloud of mercury particulates. As I mentioned, however, Seth had great results from removal. If you decide to get them removed, heed the advice given by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology with regards to safe removal of fillings. Find a dentist who understands and adheres to these guidelines before you even consider going forward with the procedure.

That’s it for this week, guys. As always, keep sending in any questions you have and I’ll do my best to get to them. Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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70 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Iodized Salt, Weather and Health, and Mercury Fillings”

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  1. I second the motion for removal of amalgam fillings. My father is a dentist, and he stopped using mercury many years ago for the above-mentioned reasons, long before it was ‘cool’. I have one friend in particular who traces his mental health issues to his mouth full of mercury.

    A tip for those who chose to undergo amalgam removal, and are worried about ingesting the dust: fresh Cilantro helps chelate heavy metals such as mercury from the body. Eat lots of it.

    1. I’m curious as to whether dentists who do amalgam fillings or removals (and so have greater than average exposure) experience more problems with mercury than the general population…. ? Anyone know?

      PS I have a mouthful of amalgam fillings done mostly in the 70s and 80s – I also developed ME (CFS) last year.

    2. I wonder where the idea got started that fresh cilantro can chelate heavy metals in the body. Maybe it really does, but that theory never made much sense to me. What’s so special about cilantro, as opposed to any number of other herbs/veggies. What are the components/processes whereby it can do this, and where is the evidence?

      Not being feisty here… Just wondering if anyone has ever proven this to work, or if it’s just another one of those hearsay things that gets passed around as being bona fide when it really isn’t.

      1. I’d be curious to know the research on this as well. The place a first heard this claim was in the documentary Hungry for Change.

    3. Found it. There are two studies, one being a case study. This summary of the studies said, “Cilantro (Chinese parsley) can mobilize mercury and other toxic metals rapidly from the CNS and the brain when appropriate amounts are consumed daily”, BUT “Cilantro does not facilitate the
      removal of heavy metals out of the body; this usually requires DMPS or DMSA with Chlorella and sauna treatment.”

      1. You know what? I just remembered in Hungry for Change, they talk about consuming gelatinous foods such as chia seeds and aloe vera to assist in detox. They act kind of like a sponge and are a way to get toxins delivered out of our systems. Maybe we need too billow it with cilantro then follow it up with chia seeds to get it out. Man, I learned more than I realized from that documentary!

      2. I’d highly recommend anyone with mercury fillings or a history of mercury exposure look into Andrew Hall Cutler’s Frequent Dose Chelation. He also addresses other heavy metal detoxification.

        I’ve been researching & following his protocol since last September after dealing with years of health problems including insomnia, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, brain fog, hypothyroidism and numerous other problems.

        Anyone that follows Primal/Paleo knows that conventional wisdom is not always the best/correct. Mercury is one such animal. Cilantro and Chlorella are standard offerings as safe & natural chelators, but the research to support this is lacking. Cutler has helped numerous people, including children diagnosed with Autism, recover from a varied list of ailments. He is a PhD chemist by trade and suffered from mercury toxicity himself. He cured himself after reviewing every medical text on mercury he could find and putting together a protocol based on the known chemical half-life of know chelators: DMSA, DMPS, and ALA (the only one to cross the blood brain barrier and successfully chelate mercury from the brain) and the necessary supplements to aid in overcoming mercury oxidation.

        Please do the research & decide for yourself before amalgam removal or starting a chelation protocol.

        Important things of note:
        1) Never take any chelator (including ALA) in any form if you have any mercury still inside your mouth. This is especially important since many multivitamin supplements (Mark’s included) include ALA. Unfortunately, lots Paleo folks with mercury toxicity probably take ALA due to Robb Wolf’s recommendation and hurt themselves in the process.

        2) Never perform IV chelation or challenge tests.

        3) Do not use chlorella or cilantro/coriander for chelation purposes as the half-life is not well researched and understood, which can lead to increased redistribution of mercury causing additional symptoms.

        Here are a couple links with good summaries of his protocols:

        Google books has large portions of his 1) Amalgam Illness and 2) Hair Test Interpretations books available for viewing.

        Specifically, see Page 25-28 for “What mercury poisoning does to you”. Unfortunately, they cut pages 29-31 which has a lot more info.

      3. Okay, in my other post I wasn’t sure which…the trick then is if you have had the fillings removed to use cilantro to remove from brain, and chorella to remove from body tissue. Cutler does not recognise this usage, but there are other people who do. I know that if I ate much cilantro or chorella after my fillings were removed that I got very slow and stupid for a while. it slowly got better, but I’m now shy about both of them.

        About ALA. Cutler has a regimen for taking it, then resting that works with the body metabolism. Taking it as a daily supplement could be harmful to someone metal-toxic.

    4. A warning about Cilantro: if you still have mercury fillings, it will leach the mercury directly out of them at a higher rate than other foods if you chew it. And it may not hold it all the way through the bowel.

      I was eating a lot of cilantro before having my fillings removed and it made my symptoms worse. I then realised I was tasting it as it happened, the cilantro taste was getting metallic as I chewed it and knocked it off. It made me slow in the head (even slower!), tired and weak, then I’d bounce back.

      After you have the amalgams out, eat less cilantro at first, then more as time passes, supposedly cilantro is one of the few natural substances that can bind mercury in the tissues and take it along out the pipe, along with chorella. I forget now, one of them supposedly can cross the blood-brain barrier. Be careful to get really pure chorella and go really slow with it at first. Can’t say it enough.

      If you are mercury-sick, taking either one will drag you down for a while as the mercury gets pulled, so go easy if you’ve just had your fillings out or you’ll end up in bed exhausted and you’ll forget your name.

  2. A part of weather, barometric pressure, can cause all kinds of symptoms, and can even bring on gout attacks.

    Ever wonder why babies are always born during storms, or why pregnant mothers shouldn’t fly after their 6th month? Pressure–barometric and cabin.

  3. Just as my n=1 clearly proves (to me) that low carb is the only way I can lose weight and maintain a modicum of health, I find barometric pressure definitely has some effect on my sinuses and joints.

  4. Iodine is used by much more than just the thyroid. Every gland in your body requires iodine to function properly, and many organs require iodine in their processes as well. There’s typically enough iodine in our diets through iodized salt and whatnot that we don’t wind up with goiters, but most Americans are still pretty deficient when it comes to iodine levels in the body.

    If you’re concerned that you might not be getting sufficient iodine in your diet, it’s easy to supplement. Lugol’s Solution and Iodoral (iodoral is the pill-form of Lugol’s) are readily available in health food stores, and even on, and shouldn’t be terribly expensive.

    Lugol’s Solution is a mixture of pure mined iodine (I2) along with potassium iodide (KI) and distilled water (H2O). Some processes in the body prefer plain iodine, while others prefer the iodide molecule, instead. Hence the mixture of the two. Iodoral additionally has some basic pill-type fillers (cellulose, stearates, glaze, etc.) as well.

    Those in the know seem to suggest a 12.5 mg dose of Lugol’s/Iodoral as a daily upkeep dosage. Higher daily doses (25 – 50 mg) may be needed to build up your body’s reserves if you’re deficient.

    Lugol’s can either be mixed with water, or applied directly to the skin. Our skin contains an iodine pump mechanism that will absorb the iodine slowly into our bloodstream. Topically, iodine is a minor irritant and the skin underneath may get a little red and dead skin may flake away.

    If you’re worried about taking Lugol’s or Iodoral because you’ve been allergic to the iodine at the doctor’s office, you don’t need to worry. Given that your body needs both pure iodine and iodide in order to run, you can’t be allergic to those specific molecules – elsewise, you’d die, because without it, your glands and many internal organs wouldn’t be able to function. And Iodine and iodide is all that’s in Lugol’s (along with distilled water, which is similarly hypoallergenic). Medical iodine is usually in tincture form (which is an alcohol mixture and not a water solution), or contains other ingredients which are the cause of the allergic reactions.

    1. Mark, I do have a goiter. How do you know if/when you are taking a sufficient amount of Iodine?

    2. I put iodine on my skin. No mentioned above effects. Your rate of absorption tells you how iodine deficient you are.

    3. If you have auto-immune thyroid disease – Hashimotos – don’t start suddenly consuming a whole lot of iodine – its like throwing petrol on a fire, it causes inflammation of the thyroid and can lower its function. Other minerals are more important – selenium and zinc for example if you have hashimotos.

    4. I find it extremely weird when people use Lugol’s solution for iodine supplementation because it’s used as a fixative in many genetic studies of phytoplankton and zooplankton. I can’t seem to think of it in any other way…

    5. I wonder if this means if someone put iodized salt in their bath they’d absorb the iodine. I know it’s probably a very inefficient approach to take… just wondering anyway.

  5. I see no point to iodized salt, mostly because it tastes like complete ass, but there are also so many different sea salts out there, each with its own beneficial mineral profile and unique taste. A little Alaea on a slow cooked pork butt, black volcanic on raw kampachi and watermelon, smoked maldon on a roast chicken, etc…or…something that tastes like a dirty penny…no thanks.

    1. I should clarify that I see no point to me consuming iodized salt—I do understand the reasons for which it was originally created/manufactured…

    2. For what it’s worth, America’s Test Kitchen did a blind taste test. The results were interesting.

      “Tests were divided into three categories: salt used at the table (we sprinkled each sample on roast beef), salt used in baking (we used a plain biscuit recipe), and salt dissolved in liquids (we tested each salt in spring water, chicken stock, and pasta cooking water). The tests did uncover “profound differences” in the types of salt used, especially in the beef tenderloin test, with large flaked sea salt winning by a large margin. Texture seemed to be important, as table salt (both iodized and non-iodized) won in the baking category due to their small crystals that evenly distribute in batter. None of the tasters could detect the difference between any of the salts when dissolved in liquids.”

  6. Mercury does have strange effects. My friend of exception health (37 years old) went for a standard root canal procedure. Unfortunately there was complications and 2 of his mercury fillings were suddenly gone (not part of the procedure). 3 days later he experienced growing slurred speech, uncoordinated walking and head aches. After 4 weeks and 5 neurologist he was diagnosed with ALS. He passed away 4.5 years later. There is no actual direct evidence the mercury was the trigger here, but it’s quite coincidental.

    1. That is a scary story! Several years ago I had a dentist who, every time I went for a check up, said I had a cracked mercury filling and he had to remove it. He removed all of my mercury fillings over the course of a couple years. I felt like he was doign it for extra insurance revenue, but I dont know for sure. I had no idea at the time that precautions needed to be taken or anything like that. Now I wonder if he did things properly. I did not experience any health effects at the time.
      I do have a freind who was diagnosed a year ago with ALS. Over the course of the next year she went paleo & organic, and also went chemical-free in her diet, home, and with all health & beauty products. As well as had her mercury fillings out. Now, one year later her symptoms have subsided to the point where her neurologist has downgraded her diagnosis to a “possible/probable” case of ALS, with no further evidence of progression of her symptoms.

  7. Mercury in fillings is horrible. Mercury fillings are constantly off-gasing into your mouth. Affecting your whole body. I had mine out! It was worth it and if I have children one day they will be mercury free, as I won’t be passing on mercury from my fillings to them.

  8. Curious how people avoided goiters before iodized salt was manufacturered.

      1. “The soil wasn’t depleted back then. ”

        I get a little frustrated with this concept. Chemical reactions remain constant. If I don’t have one or more of the reactants, then the reaction doesn’t happen at all. As far as I know, there are no exceptions to that for bio-chemistry either. 🙂

        If the soils really are depleted of the chemicals required to grow say broccoli, then what you get is either a tiny broccoli plant, a sick one, or most probably, none at all.

        If there are nutrition issues related to modern whole foods, it’s seems much more probable that it’s about the types of vegetables we’re eating. The varieties that show up in the grocery store are grown to be disease resistant, easy to transport/store, etc. Nutrition isn’t usually the direct focus of why certain vegetables/fruit are grown.

        1. Which fruits and veggies have shown to be as nutrient dense as 30+ years ago? I want to be consuming them!

    1. Dairy products used to be high in iodine, because they used iodine to clean out the pipes and vats in dairies. Now they use other chemicals, I’m told, and so we don’t get the extra iodine into our diet that way. On the other hand, the whole iodine-dairy-disinfectant thing would only go back a little way, I imagine.

  9. I had my mercury fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings. Within a few months, my periods became regular for the first time in my life: every 28-30 days.

  10. I should add that I had my mercury fillings removed by a dentist who knew how to do it so that the removal itself did not cause problems. Also, it was not all done at once. A few were removed one session; then I came back later and had more removed. Also I think I remember that I took some supplements to help detoxify just in case. I’m very glad I did this. I also made sure that my son only got composite fillings whenever he had to have a tooth filled, which wasn’t very often.

  11. The weather is too hot for me and still getting hotter. I don’t think I’m made for this climate. Slavic and Swedish genes, generally cooler climates where those originated, or would that make a difference? But other people can walk around in pants and seem comfortable while in shorts and a tshirt I sweat buckets.
    I sweat so much a few nights recently I basically soaked two sleeping bags each time. Didn’t even seem possible. That must have taken liters.
    I’d like to know how the moon affects people. I wonder if its gravity has any effect on our physiology. If it can bring the tides, maybe it allows it us to jump [imperceptibly] higher or makes running a tiny bit easier. Then there’s the whole full moon myth of people acting crazy or wild on those nights.
    Two people I won’t specify with fillings I believe are mercury have consistently shown clear signs of brain fog, faulty judgment, senility or something like it, or cognitive dissonance and both have/have had some health problems. One of them is a gum addict. I think the combination of aspartame and mercury is a double whammy neurotoxin that’s especially mentally debilitating.
    I have two fillings. They’re one of the newer supposedly safer kinds the colour of teeth, whatever those are made of. I wonder, though, if I even had cavities. Suspiciously after never having cavities found before, my brother and I (and maybe sister, don’t remember) went to get a checkup and were told we had cavities that needed to be filled. I avoid dentists the same way I avoid doctors.

  12. I had a roommate who insisted on living in an optimal temperature of 75-80 degrees. She always complained of the cold, she wore sweaters in the summer and she never went anywhere without 3 umbrellas and in the winter would wrap up completely, head to toe in the warmest clothes. Her mantra was “I don’t do cold”.

    Basically she drove me crazy, but that’s another story (also, I live in Kentucky, where the weather really isn’t that cold, and certainly not for very long).

    I believe that exposing ourselves to other than “ideal” weather helps to boosts our immune system–wouldn’t it jump start into a self-protective mode? Increase circulation, raising the alarm so to speak? I think I recall something like this from the Primal Blueprint–will research later.

    I love to be out in the rain, I enjoy the cold and snow of winter time, and I absolutely love a chilly spring morning…and autumn–don’t even get me started on the amazing feel and smell of the air in fall and how good it feels to be outside. I wholeheartedly believe that changes in weather–and exposing ourselves to the weather— are good for our immune system.

    1. It’s true. A word for our improvement as a result of being stressed is hormesis.

    2. Bev, me too, but for Australian summers where six weeks of 35C+ is enough to have me reaching for a straitjacket. Too much heat drives me almost literally insane. (Scottish ancestry.)

  13. I would like to know if there are any ways to actively protect oneself from mercury fillings in their mouth. Having my fillings replaced is not feasible for me at the moment, but I would like to protect my body as well as my breastfeeding son.

  14. I’ll just eat a few brazil nuts to balance the mercury with selenium.

  15. Whatever the cause, when I start to get a headache there is rain within 24 hours. Luckily they aren’t anywhere near as severe or frequent as they were before paleo. Before it was every time it rained I needed to seek the dark for the rest of the day, now it’s like once every 2 or 3 months and I can function.

  16. I’ve been really worried about my fillings – I had all my mercury fillings out last year to see if it helped my M.E./CFS- my dentist took them all out in one go and didn’t use any protective gear. Of course it was only after this I found out I probably shouldn’t have done it this way. now I’m worried I’ve done myself more harm than good. Anything I should be doing for damage control??

    1. Be sure to supplement with certain nutrients like selenium, vitamin C, iodine, and eat foods that contain chlorophyll. They should all help remove any mercury from your body. About a year ago I was very good at taking iodine every day and had started eating more protein, reducing carbs. I’ve had thick toenails/fungus for a few years and noticed a very distinct line where the nails are growing out normal. Proof to me that iodine and keeping carbs low were helping to reduce the yeast level in my whole body. I read/heard of a theory that candida (yeast) actually serves a protective function in our bodies by trapping heavy metals such as mercury so as long as you have heavy metals in your body the yeast will keep overgrowing no matter what you do to kill the yeast. Iodine seems to be a 1-2 punch, anti-fungal as well as detoxing heavy metals. 🙂

  17. I just sprinkle about a half a teaspoons worth of Kelp Granules on to a spoon with a bit of coconut oil on it and then take it like medicine every morning before breakfast. Not particularly delicious, but not terrible and I’d rather get my iodine that way than screw up the taste of my meals by using iodized salt.

    1. I went through about two weeks living mainly on sardines, tomato paste (or soup or sauce) and coconut oil. There was a bit of cacao and molasses in there too. Didn’t hurt.

  18. I’m glad I live in San Diego where our definition of freezing is anything below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

    1. Maybe it’s the other way around. Teens with behavioral problems tend to need more fillings (bad attitude –> bad diet!).

  19. Well, I guess it’s either Mercury from the amalgam fillings, or BPA from the composite fillings. Which is worse? I have had 6 or 7 amalgam fillings replaced over the last year with composite, and then I read the Mother Jones article detailing the horrors of the BPA in the composite fillings. It’s even noticeable in the testing they did on children. Great and timely article.

    On a side note, my dentist was very much against the amalgam fillings, and believes they cause problems for many. When discussing this with him, I thought his statement was great (and terrifying!): “So, the American Dental Association and all the government agencies that regulate dentistry require me to wear specialized gloves and a full-face mask and visor to even handle the mercury amalgam. Then, I drill a hole in your tooth, deposit the amalgam in the filling, and Viola’! Nothing at all to be worried about! Totally safe, they say! I can’t touch it with my bare hands, but as soon as it goes in your mouth, it’s supposedly completely safe!”

    That was all I needed to hear to get them out!

  20. I’ve been living in Costa Rica for a while. I have been looking gor plain sea salt. All of the salt I’ve found has had potassium flouride and potassium iodide. Seems as if all tooth pastes have flouride. Does not seem necessary. I don’t understand.

    1. Sounds like they’re fluoridating their salt rather than their water.

    2. Raw crayfish legs are chewable and have an extremely salty taste.

  21. I had four dental surgeries in 2011. Knocked cold, anesthesia each time. Although I am not a fan of anesthesia, it was the best option for me – especially considering the first one was just under 8 hours. I went to an amazing dentist, one of a few in my area who are certified for proper removal of mercury fillings. Prior to the surgeries I had tested high in metals, and at the time I didn’t realize that I still had any amalgams (neither was visible except in the xrays). I did do a few rounds of oral chelation for mercury poisoning, but now I supplement with herbs to continue to clear out any residue from the day to day exposure that we all have to metals/chemicals.

    My dentist recommended I have lab work done before the surgeries, to check my sensitivities to all of the current dental applications (literally everything from adhesives to crowns, cleaning materials, etc.). Although this might not be applicable for most people, she was concerned because of my long list of food allergens, as well as what ever was used in two root canals done in 2000.
    Turns out I am highly reactive to the majority of the things used by dentists, so I have my own box of materials at the office now. High reaction to porcelain too, so my two crowns were made of a non-toxic material that looks like my natural teeth. I was indeed allergic to the materials used in the earlier root canals (done by another dentist) and although I was assured (by the other dentist) that no bacteria would remain in the root canals afterwards, that wasn’t the case.
    Costly procedures, but I had a lot done, and my health has improved dramatically since then.

  22. Regarding exposure to cold being ‘bad’ for the immune system, there is a lake in the coldest city on earth (that is, coldest average temperature over the year) in Russia where a group of guys jump into this freezing lake on a daily basis, and dry off in the snow. This practice has been scientifically proven to RAISE the effectiveness of their immune systems (apologies, I have no reference for this). I’m sure that has to do with the body’s acclimatization to the surrounding environment, and perhaps the inability of most bacteria / virus / etc. to survive cold temperatures.

  23. Now having solved the problem I can see the storyline: my body was able to filter reasonably well the mercury. I always noticed my hair falling mad in periods of stress but it would calm.down after the stress was gone. About 6 years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on medication: metformin and birth controll pills. 6 months later I saw the first change in my hair but didn’t think much about it. In time my scalp became allergic to almost all shampoos on the market, it would burn and hurt like mad. The skin was so sensitive the hair would simply slide out. Two years later the side effects of metformin and birth controll pills made my life a living hell. Went off the meds but my hair kept on falling. I saw more than 6 specialists in allergies and dermatology. None of them found anything. Last year I finally found a doctor willing to listen. Yes by now they all thought I was.crazy. But by now my symptoms.were insane. Any smell of perfume or chemical woul make me sick to the point that my lungs shut down. I could barely get into a train, not to mention a crowded building.
    The doctor that helped me made me do a heavy metals.test . The result: 30 times more mercury than accepted plus other heavy metals as an added bonus. The meds for PCOS forced my liver so bad it could not filter the metals anymore and kept pilling on causing all the symptoms.
    Now, finally free of the old dental fillings and detoxed of mercury I have no longer problems with my skin, hair or lungs.
    My recommendations: replace them even if you have no problems.

  24. Be Aware! The materials used to replace amalgam fillings can be just as harmful or worse! Containing BPA among other things. You can get a test done to see which material works best with your body. Do some research!

  25. Ive always thrown a Tbsp of Dulse in every smoothie. Easier than eating seaweed in other forms.

  26. I’m a little bit disappointed in the response to the question on silver amalgam fillings. There appears to be a lot of correlatory studies performed, but does not appear to be causation between the presence of silver amalgam fillings and the health issues.

    In the first study regarding Hg(0) concentrations within the body, there appears only to be the suggestion that increased levels have caused issues with nervous and renal system function among workers who have been exposed to it occupationally, not stating what concentration, nor what the normal level is obtained through other sources of mercury from the environment, such as coal burning plants, industrial waste from chloralkali plants, trash incinerators, gold mining and others, and consuming fish and seafood that have accumulated mercury in their bodies and the natural occurring mercury in

    Then take for instance this study in which there was found no correlation between neurological/renal disease among dentists or dental assistants (with a sample size of 122,481)

    The second study fingering risk of autoimmune risk has no mention sample size, the study about improving AI thyroiditis with SA removal has a sample size of 39, and the benefit of SA removal on AI disease has a sample size of 35. All of these tests us an ELISA/MELISA test with an increased reactivity from mercury-specific lymphocytes, but none of them actually tell us how that increased reactivity translates into a physiological mechanism that effects AI systems to the point of disorder or disease (an improval in conditions in parallel with a removal of an item is not necessarily a causation, correct?) We still aren’t given an idea of what actual levels of concentration of reactivity causes issues for AI disorders.

    I am not defending silver amalgam fillings, but I don’t quite think these studies quite support the conclusion given. Isn’t it true that we do not exactly know if the removal of mercury containing silver amalgam fillings caused the cessation of the symptoms in people? What if there was some other cause, such as a change in diet or lifestyle? Correlation again doesn’t necessarily equal causation, and I think it might be prudent to proceed with caution before coming to the conclusion that silver amalgams cause neurological and renal system toxicity,

    Just playing devil’s advocate here 🙂

    1. If you like, you can live so the numbers and logic work perfectly for you. If I had Asperger’s and/or trusted studies I might do that. Instead, I do things that make me feel better, subjective or not.

  27. What about hot flashes in women of a certain age? Do you think that the brief raising of body temperature that occurs might be beneficial to the immune system?

  28. As someone with autoimmune disease, I can tell you that we are vulnerable to overreaction to all treatments, including filling removals. I’ve known people whose autoimmune disease was triggered by removal (even when done properly by a holistic dentist) as well as others whose symptoms worsened after removal. So, to me, it’s not worth the risk. I would much rather gently detoxify my body on a regular basis than be overwhelmed by a huge release at once. Oh, and before someone says that dentist must have done it wrong, my AI friends are spread all around the country and have gone to a number of different holistic dentists, all trained in proper precautions.

  29. I find it bizarre that mercury fillings are still used in the U.S. I’ve not heard of dentists around here using them in over 15 years, nor has any of the 4 dentists I’ve visited in my life ever offered it. The reasoning is probably shallow, but no one would choose to have a weird black spot in your tooth when you can have an invisible/white filling.

    I actually found some iodized sea salt at the grocer’s, so I guess I’m getting the best of both worlds (I hope).