Minimata disease, heavy metal and biosphere interactions, and me/cfs


Senior Member

Minimata disease is a disease that is basically just high dose mercury poisoning.

But I found interesting stuff in the wiki article on this and I highly recommend mold illness patients read it, bc it's relevant to the interaction btwn heavy metals and mold.

(Also, some of the symptoms, like paralysis, weakness and neuropathy are similar to me/cfs, and I think the restlessness/seizure activity that lead to it being called "dancing cat disease " also occurs in me/cfs in a way lower level--the wired-tired/agitated state in me/cfs could be bc of mercury toxicity)

Anyway the relevant part is that bacteria are thought to have converted the mercury in the wastewater from this plant into more bioavailable, toxic methylmercury.

So it's an example of a bacteria interacting with and changing metal to be more toxic, why couldn't mold do that?

@Hip @sb4 @pattismith @Learner1 @HTester


Senior Member
"There is substantial evidence that small con-
centrations of inorganic divalent mercury com-
pounds and phenyl mercurials are relatively
nontoxic. However, transformation of these
compounds in aquatic environments to methyl
and dimethyl mercury is a major problem (4).
Johnels and Westermark (13) reported that the
main types of mercury discharged into aquatic
environments are: inorganic divalent mercury,
Hg2+; metallic mercury, Hg0; phenyl mercury,
CIHHg+; methyl mercury (MM), CH3Hg+; and
methyloxyethyl mercury, CH30CH2CH2Hg+.
Biological methylation of inorganic mercury
compounds was suggested as a possible source
of the MM that was the causative agent of
Minamata Disease in Japan (5, 9, 19). Jensen
and Jernelov (10) showed that MM was formed
after incubation of sediment, obtained from
fresh water aquaria, with up to 100 ,ug of Hg2+.
Jernelov (11, 12) again reported that MM could
be formed in sediments under anaerobic condi-
tions. Vonk and Sijpesteijn (36) reported that
small amounts of MM were produced by various
bacterial species growing under aerobic condi-
tions. Wood et al. (39) showed that cell-free
extracts of an anaerobic methanogenic bact..."


Senior Member
What I find disturbing about this is that the coastal fog which is full of mercury , is probably more likely to interact with bacteria and become methylmercury , than mercury from a broken thermometer or something
Ahhh.. the mercury in coastal fog IS methylmercury, I suppose it could be in that form for precisely that reason
Wow that's scary!
So a little history I'm an avid fisherman and my wife and I have caught and eaten hundreds of smaller fresh water fish from strip pit lakes in the Midwest, until we started getting sick. My hair( methyl) mercury showed .232 ppm.and I presented with associated Hg. poisoning symptoms. That was 5 years ago and am still detoxing.
I experienced what your have to rightly call CFS as my mitochondria were flooded with free ROS from the mercury. The chemistry of this is that Hg. of and in itself can't cause oxidation but when it knocks iron off its sulfur bond ie. ferritin the free iron is a train wreck on a trestle. I truly believe a lot of the people here suffer from metal poisoning. They may have Snyps like MTHFR causing low glutathione and heavy metal accumulation but chelation the mercury would enormously help energy production.


Senior Member
Anyway the relevant part is that bacteria are thought to have converted the mercury in the wastewater from this plant into more bioavailable, toxic methylmercury.

Yes, the bacteria in the gut will transform elemental mercury (the silvery liquid metal) that may come from your amalgam fillings into methylmercury, which is much more toxic, and can accumulate in the brain.

Looking at my old notes on mercury, they say:

Mercury exists in 3 forms:
  • Elemental mercury (the silvery liquid metal or its vapor)
  • Organic mercury compounds (primarily methylmercury)
  • Inorganic mercury compounds (primarily mercuric chloride)

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) only chelates inorganic mercury, while DMPS and DMSA chelate organic and inorganic. Ref: here

In the brain, methylmercury has a half-life of 37 days, inorganic mercury has a half-life of 230 to 540 days. Methylmercury gets converted to inorganic mercury in the brain by demethylation. Refs: 1 2

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) increases excretion of organic mercury (like methylmercury), but not inorganic mercury. Ref: 1

Alpha lipoic acid increases excretion of inorganic mercury (like mercuric chloride) by over 12-fold, but causes decreased excretion of organic mercury. Ref: 1

DMSA and DMPS increase the excretion of both forms of mercury, but DMSA works better for organic mercury, and DMPS works better for inorganic mercury. Ref: 1

NAC may cross the blood-brain barrier; ALA does cross the blood-brain barrier.

DMSA and DMPS do not cross the blood brain barrier.