Mercury Toxicity and Treatment: A Review of the Literature

I can’t thank you enough for your excellent participation in a landmark meeting “Saving a Million Hearts.” The structure was an experiment that we definitely want to repeat, and it reminds us again about the quality of our membership and attendees.

Here is one more resource:

Dear Dr. Bernhoft,

I am pleased to let you know that your article has been published in its final form in the “Journal of Environmental and Public Health:”

Robin A. Bernhoft, “Mercury Toxicity and Treatment: A Review of the Literature,” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, vol. 2012, Article ID 460508, 10 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/460508.

You may access this article from the Table of Contents of Volume 2012, which is located at the following link:

Alternatively, you may directly access your article at the following location:

“Journal of Environmental and Public Health” is an open access journal, meaning that the full-text of all published articles is made freely available on the journal’s website with no subscription or registration barriers.

Best regards,

Noha Hany
Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Hindawi Publishing Corporation.

The role of mercury and cadmium heavy metals in vascular disease, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction.

by Houston MC


Mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals have a high affinity for sulfhydryl (-SH) groups, inactivating numerous enzymatic reactions, amino acids, and sulfur-containing antioxidants (NAC, ALA, GSH), with subsequent decreased oxidant defense and increased oxidative stress. Both bind to metallothionein and substitute for zinc, copper, and other trace metals reducing the effectiveness of metalloenzymes. Mercury induces mitochondrial dysfunction with reduction in ATP, depletion of glutathione, and increased lipid peroxidation; increased oxidative stress is common. Selenium antagonizes mercury toxicity. The overall vascular effects of mercury include oxidative stress, inflammation, thrombosis, vascular smooth muscle dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, dyslipidemia, immune dysfunction, and mitochondrial dysfunction. The clinical consequences of mercury toxicity include hypertension, CHD, MI, increased carotid IMT and obstruction, CVA, generalized atherosclerosis, and renal dysfunction with proteinuria. Pathological, biochemical, and functional medicine correlations are significant and logical. Mercury diminishes the protective effect of fish and omega-3 fatty acids. Mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals inactivate COMT, which increases serum and urinary epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This effect will increase blood pressure and may be a clinical clue to heavy metal toxicity. Cadmium concentrates in the kidney, particularly inducing proteinuria and renal dysfunction; it is associated with hypertension, but less so with CHD. Renal cadmium reduces CYP4A11 and PPARs, which may be related to hypertension, sodium retention, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and zinc deficiency. Dietary calcium may mitigate some of the toxicity of cadmium. Heavy metal toxicity, especially mercury and cadmium, should be evaluated in any patient with hypertension, CHD, or other vascular disease. Specific testing for acute and chronic toxicity and total body burden using hair, toenail, urine, serum, etc. with baseline and provoked evaluation should be done.

Inhibition of paraoxonase activity in human liver microsomes by exposure to EDTA, metals and mercurials.

Gonzalvo MC1, Gil F, Hernández AF, Villanueva E, Pla A. 1997


lab-work-1575846-640x960Inhibition of paraoxon hydrolase (paraoxonase) activity by ‘in vitro’ exposure to EDTA, Mg2+, Co2+, Ba2+, La3+, Zn2+, Cu2+, Hg2+, p-hydroxymercuribenzoate (p-OH-MB) and phenyl mercuric acetate (PMA) was investigated in human liver microsomes. Enzyme activity was totally inhibited by 1 mM EDTA in a time-dependent manner, in contrast to previous data obtained in rat liver where an EDTA-resistant fraction was detected. The possible influence of postmortem changes in these results was checked in a parallel experiment using rat livers with different postmortem intervals. From our results the existence in human liver of an EDTA-resistant fraction cannot be discarded. Ba, La and PMA showed immediate inhibition. By contrast the other compounds tested were time-dependent inhibitors. Ba and Zn showed the highest IC50 values. Cu and mercurials (Hg, p-OH-MB, PMA) were the most potent inhibitors of human liver paraoxonase. Kinetic analysis (Lineweaver-Burk and Dixon plots) indicated that different inhibitors exhibit different inhibition patterns: competitive (EDTA, Ba, La, Cu, p-OH-MB and PMA), non competitive (Zn) and mixed (Hg). The pretreatment of sample with dithiothreitol (DTT) protects against the inhibitory effect of mercurials. Furthermore after inhibition by mercurials the activity was restored by DTT. These results confirmed the essential role of the -SH groups to maintain the catalytic activity of paraoxonase and suggest the existence of two types of -SH groups that could differ in their localization.

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