Episode 038: How to Support Your Body When Removing Mercury Dental Fillings
I'm continuing my behind-the-scenes mini-series with a slight shift towards what’s going on in my own health journey.
In this new episode of The Live FAB Life Podcast, I share how I came to the decision to remove my mercury dental fillings, how I prepared my body for it by focusing on supporting my immune system, adrenals, and liver, and how I’ve responded to the procedure.
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Welcome back to The Live FAB Life Podcast.
This episode is number four in my six-part the behind-the-scenes mini-series.
If you missed Parts 1-3 here’s a quick recap:
In Episode 035, I shared the behind the scenes of my entrepreneurial journey and parallels to health.
In Episode 036, I shared how having a scarcity mindset influenced the decisions I’ve made in my life and in my business.
In Episode 037, I got super transparent and shared two main takeaways on mindset, money blocks and diversity and inclusion.
And you can find those episodes over on my website, or wherever you’re listening to this podcast, whether it be on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or even Spotify.
Today I’m going to shift things a bit away from my business to what’s going on with my own health journey. And boy, has it been a journey.
I first became a health coach because I thought I was healthy. I was an endurance athlete, I had already stopped eating gluten and dairy but had a whole host of health issues going on from being overtrained, to having severe IBS and fatigue, to hypothyroidism, to SIBO, to non-alcoholics fatty liver disease, to skin breakouts and more.
I went through the gamut of dietary changes using nutritional therapies and therapeutic diets, and elimination diets, I addressed stress and sleep, and even use a few supplements and medications.
And while all of these things most definitely improved some of my health issues, not all of them have been resolved which has left me, my doctors and the rest of my healthcare team scratching our heads.
All along, I’ve suspected that environmental toxins might be more of an issue for me than most people. I don’t know why, it’s just a gut feeling that I had, which is why I threw out my conventional cosmetics and switched to safer products, stopped using traditional cleansers to clean my home and began eating organic foods as much as possible.
They all helped and I felt a better, but was still struggling - not all of my issues have been resolved.
So about a year ago, my doctor ran a heavy metals lab test. The results showed that I had super high levels of lead, cadmium and mercury in my body. While this may sound terrible, I felt relieved to have confirmation of what I’d suspected for years.
Now if you’re not clear on how heavy metals and environmental toxins disrupt our health, I’m not going to get into that today, but you can go back and listen to Episode 003 of my podcast where I had a very in-depth conversation about this with Lara Adler.
So after we got my test results back, my doctor and I started looking at options on how to address it and naturally, the discussion toward chelation.
If you google “What is chelation?” (which I did), the first article that pops up is by WebMD. It states that:
“Chelation therapy uses special drugs that bind to metals in your blood. You get the chelating medicine through an intravenous (IV) tube in your arm. It’s also available in pill form. Once the drug has attached to the metal, your body removes them both through your pee.”
When we discussed chelation, my doctor, who is an integrative medicine doctor, which means he’s an MD who also brings holistic practices and treatments into his practice. I see him at Sutter Health’s Institute of Health and Healing in the San Francisco Bay Area. And for those of you not in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sutter Health is one of the largest medical groups in the area.
So when we discussed how to treat the heavy metals, we did discuss chelation. He said that he didn’t know much about the process and I didn’t either, so we opted to explore other, less harsher ways of dealing with it.
So first, I made lifestyle changes.
I switched my water. I had previously been using a Brita filter, but what I’ve learned is that Brita filters do not in fact filter out heavy metals.
As an aside, I’m often asked what water filter to use and the best answer I can give you is that, “It depends.” Not all water filters are the same, and neither do they filter out the same things. The best thing you can do is to get a hold of your local water report, which you local city or county publishes and see what’s in your water and find the best filter that filters out what those things are.
I started with just getting reverse osmosis water from Whole Foods and I did this for several months. Reverse Osmosis is pure water that is stripped of all heavy metals and minerals. The problem with reverse osmosis water is that it also strips the good minerals so you have to remineralize it with sea salt. The other thing I didn’t love about it was the fact that I had to lug it around (which was a pain) in plastic gallons. While they were BPA-free, I didn’t know if they were BPF free, or had another other harmful chemicals that off-gassed.
So I switched to a Berkey filter, not that long ago.
I also did other simple things like:
Switching out my shower curtain to one that was free of pthalates Switched out my cookware, getting rid of teflon Added plants inside of my home because the air inside of our homes can be more toxic than the outside And I had already switched out my beauty and personal care products to safer options
One area that I knew I had to address, that couldn’t be done on my own was my mercury dental fillings. So I consulted with my dentist, Dr. Helen Alderson, who is also a naturopath, and who I interviewed in Episode 004.
As I learned from her, and from some of my practitioner friends who have gone through the process of removing their dental fillings, it was be very hard on the body.
So before she wanted to go down that route, she had me do tri-mercury test to see if the source of my mercury exposure was organic, meaning from foods like seafood, or if it was from inorganic sources, like dental fillings.
Well those test results were definitively from inorganic sources so we decided to move forward with removing these darn fillings.
Because I have 11 of them, they can’t all be removed in one visit, so we worked out a plan to have them removed in three, possibly four visits.
What makes the process of removing mercury dental fillings challenging is that you can be exposed to the mercury and other gases during the removal process.
So in the weeks leading up to my first appointment, which at the time of this recording was about five weeks ago, I buckled down on my few things to prepare my body to handle the hard process of removing these heavy metals.
I focused on making sure my body had plenty of four key vitamins and minerals to ensure that my immune system, adrenals and liver could handle the burden.
In no particular order, the first one was Vitamin C which is great for immune and liver support. I upped my Vitamin C intake 1 teaspoon of Camu Camu per day. Camu camu is plant from South America that is packed with Vitamin C. It’s thought to have about 50 times more Vitamin C than citrus fruits, what we typically think of when we think of Vitamin C. I use a powder form of Camu Camu and simply add it to a smoothie.
I also made sure I was getting plenty of B Vitamins. This came from grass-fed beef, nutritional yeast and eggs.
And Zinc. Zinc was also something I focused on making sure I had plenty of from again, grass-fed beef, eggs, mushrooms, chicken and salmon too (but not too much of it).
And then lastly, on Vitamin D. I already spend a lot of times outdoors, but I also take a vitamin D supplement, and I should note, also added in a high quality multivitamin to make sure I was covered on everything.
And of course, I continued taking a high quality probiotic to ensure that my digestive health was in order to be able to absorb all of the nutrients that I was taking.
For liver support, I ate a lot of dandelion greens, fresh parsley and added chlorella tablets to my smoothies. I also took a supplement call Prothera to enhance liver support.
For adrenals support I tried really hard to focus on sleep and manage stress, but these things at times are easier said than done.
I did try all of the sleep tips from Episode 034, but could have been more consistent about it.
I also practiced additional body support with regular epsom salt baths, dry brushing, castor oil packs and even using the sauna at my gym once or twice a week.
So how did things go?
Well first let me say that Dr. Alderson takes great precautions to protect not only me, but herself and her staff during the removal process. She has a vacuum thing in front of my face to absorb the gases and also had me on oxygen to ensure I had fresh air to breathe.
The actual removal process was quick, but I did still have some side effects that I think also came from the anesthesia. The entire left side of my face was numb for a full two days after the procedure.
The keratosis pilaris on my upper arms and quads flared up, which hadn’t happened in several years. I also had brain fog, fatigue and just felt lethargic for a couple of weeks.
My second appointment is coming up in the next couple of weeks so I’m focusing on continuing with the immune, adrenal and liver support, as well as putting more effort to better sleep hygiene and managing stress.
The one question I’ve been asked a lot is if I feel any different so far and honestly, I don’t. But I still have eight mercury fillings remaining so I’m very interested to see how I feel after the whole process is over.
So there you have it. If you have mercury fillings and are considering having them removed, I hope you find this episode helpful.
I’ll see you next week for the fifth installment of my six episode behind-the-scenes mini-series.
Thanks for listening!
Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop!
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