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heavy metals and non-excretors

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by globalpilot, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

    Hi Rich and group,

    I was listening to David Quiggs 2004 talk at ACAM yesterday. He said that if there is exposure to merucry and a hair test does not show mercury, that is a red flag. Also, Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, at the fall 2009 DAN! talk mentioned if cysteine is low, you can't excrete metals in hair. David Quigg also said that DMPS only works extracellulary and glutathione takes metals from inside the cell to outside the cell.

    My first question is ... how can cysteine be low in hair ? I thought it was one of the main constituents of hair.

    And secondly what are the consequences of having low glutathione and low cysteine ? Would metals quickly find something to adduct to inside the cell and stay there ?

  2. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

    Hi, globalpilot.

    Hair and nails are made of keratin proteins. It's true that hair contains cysteine, normally 7.6% by weight. The proteins that normally make up hair have differing amounts of cysteine. I suspect that when cysteine is low in the body, the hair is made up of greater proportions of the proteins that have less cysteine in them. Since crosslinking between cysteine residues in adjacent protein molecules is what gives hair its strength, it would seem that the hair would be weaker, and perhaps subject to more breakage, when cysteine is low.

    In the case of mercury, the strongest bonding is to selenium, so it will tend to bind to the selenoenzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase and the enzyme that converts the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. The bond between mercury and selenium is very strong and not readily broken. The next strongest bond is to sulfur in sulfhydryl bonds, which is found in cysteine. Cysteine is normally present in the cells as a residue in proteins, including metallothionein and various enzymes, as well as in glutathione and in unbound cysteine itself. There is a dynamic equilibrium in chemistry, with molecules constantly forming bonds and breaking them, sort of like a dance in which the people keep switching partners. In the case of sulfur, the bond with mercury is not as strong as with selenium, and these bonds break at a faster rate. The substances that contain sulfur are in competition for binding mercury. If there is a deficiency in glutathione, more of the mercury will bind to enzymes and other proteins, interfering with their function in the biochemistry. The individual bonds will form and break over time, but on the average, more of the mercury will be bound to enzymes and other proteins if glutathione is depleted.

    Best regards,


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