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Mercury is a toxic heavy metal and it’s everywhere: in the fish we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the products we use, and the amalgam fillings on our teeth!

Its toxicity is insidious, accumulating in the body over time, and for some is the underlying cause of such chronic conditions as anxiety, depression, irritability, digestive issues, food allergies, insomnia, tremors, etc.

We don’t hear much about mercury poisoning in mainstream medicine, where suppressing symptoms pharmaceutically is the preferred “treatment” for any of the aforementioned conditions. Not to mention there are forms of mercury not detectable through routine blood tests; therefore, a true calculation of a body’s mercury burden requires comprehensive testing.

Dr. Getzelman’s groundbreaking functional medicine approach provides the in-depth analysis needed to detect the presence of mercury in the body and any genetic predispositions and biological obstructions preventing the body from offloading it. AND, she’s able to treat the chronic conditions it causes without the use of pharmaceuticals.

In this post, we’ll walk you through Dr. Getzelman’s process with the story of how she helped transform the lives of a mother and daughter who suffered from chronic conditions related to mercury overload.

But first, a little more info about this toxic metal.

Mercury comes from coal burning and mining. It settles in bodies of water and eventually infiltrates our food chain. It most commonly accumulates in fish, particularly large ones with long lifespans that feed on smaller mercury-laden fish, thus bioaccumulating the metal.

But why is mercury so toxic to us? Our modern world is now contaminated with over 80,000 toxic industrial chemicals, and some of the most prevalent toxins, like lead and mercury, have infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives. However, our human bodies evolved before these chemicals were in widespread use, rendering us inherently ill-equipped to handle them.

In the case of mercury, it poisons the body’s mitochondria – the powerhouses of our cells that produce energy currency or “fuel” called Adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  Without proper ATP production, any number of fundamental processes in the body can be disturbed because energy is essential for everything.

Let’s turn to a real-world example to better understand mercury’s impact on us.

Meet Olivia and Emma from San Francisco.

Olivia is the mother of 8-year-old Emma, whom she gave birth to at the age of 35 after 7 years of trying to get pregnant. She grew up primarily in Hawaii, feasting regularly on tuna and other large fish.

For as long as Olivia could remember, she suffered from anxiety and fatigue. She was exhausted all the time and much of her current anxiety came from her concern for Emma, who had been diagnosed with ADD and sensory processing disorder (a condition where the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.)

Emma struggled to stay focused in school, her performance so poor at times that she was at risk of being held back a year. She was prone to frequent meltdowns at the introduction of new experiences and environments. 

Olivia wanted to get to the heart of the issues plaguing her and her daughter. Tired of getting nowhere with mainstream methods, she turned to Dr. Getzelman for help, intrigued by her work with genetic analysis and her commitment to ADD treatment without medication.

Dr. Getzelman’s findings.

Using Olivia and Emma’s genetic data she collected from 23andMe, Dr. Getzelman first looked at the genes in charge of producing the enzymes that help the body to create and recycle glutathione. These genes have many names; examples include GSTM1 and GSTP1.

Why is glutathione so important? It’s a molecule produced naturally in the body that works as a master antioxidant and detoxifier. Aptly nicknamed “the mother of all antioxidants,” it’s essential for immune function and controlling inflammation. It is also fundamental for off-loading heavy metals like mercury.  

In Olivia and Emma’s case, Dr. Getzelman discovered that both of them had significant glutathione polymorphisms that were obstructing their ability to offload mercury. The body can only expel mercury when it’s bound with glutathione, thus without proper glutathione production, mercury accumulates in the body and brain.

This important discovery gave Dr. Getzelman the information she needed to devise a custom treatment plan for Olivia and Emma.

Dr. Getzelman’s plan of attack.

Dr. Getzelman began her treatment plan by going straight to the gut because it’s where most of the immune system lives and if a chronic problem exists, it often begins there. The gut is also where mercury (bound to glutathione) is dumped – so that it gets pooped out.

Both Olivia and Emma’s digestion were in trouble. It turns out digestion requires a lot of energy and since mercury was affecting their mitochondria, their intestinal tracts were severely off balance with slow motility (constipation) and a lack of beneficial bacteria (dysbiosis). Constipation meant that both mother and daughter lacked the ability to offload mercury and other toxins effectively. Proper detoxification requires regular bowel movements since the metal is carried out of the body through stool.

To restore proper bowel function, Dr. Getzelman prescribed a whole-foods based diet with lots of cooked vegetables and organic bone broth. Probiotics and fermented foods were introduced while gluten and dairy were temporarily eliminated to allow the gut to heal. This also meant no junk food or processed sugar. A magnesium supplement was added as well to ensure daily bowel emptying and anxiety treatment. (Magnesium is the “relaxation mineral.”)

Once the new diet kicked in and Olivia and Emma were pooping regularly, Dr. Getzelman introduced a highly absorbable form of glutathione (Readisorb and SafeCell are our favorites) to help fortify their bodies with the master detoxifier.

Olivia was instructed to “sweat it out” in a sauna on a regular basis – a very effective way (in addition to regular stooling) of off-loading mercury. She was also prescribed natural metal chelators (bind metals) and binders, such as Takesumi charcoal and pyrophyllite clay, to assist in removing the toxic metal from her body.

How are Olivia and Emma doing today?

Thanks to Dr. Getzelman’s custom treatment plan, Olivia’s energy levels are at an all-time high and she’s far less anxious. She also reported an unexpected benefit in the form of improved sleep. Olivia never complained of sleep problems before, but as her overall health improved, she realized that restful sleep had been evading her for years.

As for Emma, her ability to focus has improved drastically and she experiences less sensory overwhelm. She began performing well in school, to the delight of her teachers, and she’s no longer in threat of being held back. Her meltdowns have subsided and she’s able to better transition to new situations.

Mercury is no match for GetzWell.

At GetzWell Pediatrics, we want to know WHY health conditions occur which requires treating them at the root. To learn more about our cutting-edge approach and ability to provide ADD treatment without medication, please contact our San Francisco offices at 415-826-1701.