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Levels of Mercury in hair/stools may be a factor in Autoimmunity

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by bertiedog, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. bertiedog

    bertiedog Senior Member

    South East England, UK
    We have so much talk on PR regarding autoimmunity but I haven't been seeing anything recently about how heavy metal accumulation can also lead to autoimmunity.

    The following study indicated that this indeed could be the case, at least in women. Personally I feel we should be as open minded as possible when looking for clues as to what has led us to develop ME/CFS and other autoimmune illnesses.

    Exposure to mercury 'stood out as main risk factor for autoimmunity'
    The researchers assessed data of 1,352 women aged 16-49 years who were part of the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

    The researchers assessed the levels of mercury present among participants by analyzing hair and blood samples.

    They found that the higher the levels of mercury among the women, the higher the levels of autoantibodies - proteins that are a characteristic of autoimmune diseases. Autoantibodies are made when an individual's immune system is unable to distinguish between healthy tissues and potentially harmful cells.

    "The presence of autoantibodies doesn't necessarily mean they will lead to an autoimmune disease," Dr. Somers notes. "However, we know that autoantibodies are significant predictors of future autoimmune disease, and may predate the symptoms and diagnosis of an autoimmune disease by years."

    The researchers found that methylmercury was the strongest driver for autoantibodies. "Notably," they add, "a dose-response relationship was observed for low methylmercury exposure levels in the range generally considered safe for women of childbearing potential by regulatory agencies."

    According to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, around 50 million people in the US are living with an autoimmune disease. Of these, more than 75% are women. Women are three times more likely to develop an autoimmune disease than men.

    With these statistics and their findings in mind, the researchers say women of reproductive age should consider the amount of seafood they are consuming. Dr. Somers adds:

    "In our study, exposure to mercury stood out as the main risk factor for autoimmunity. For women of childbearing age, who are at particular risk of developing this type of disease, it may be especially important to keep track of seafood consumption."

    In my case I had high levels of mercury in my hair in 2001 and also my lymphocytes reacted strongly to mercury indicating I was allergic to it according to Dr M the well-known CFS doctor. The only other heavy metal that was reactive was nickel in my case. At the same time I was diagnosed with Hashimotos and my health had crashed completely and I had to give up my job teaching.


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