CFS Nutrition Logo A Proposed Immune-Metal Pathology

 


Glutathione Molecule

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Important : Citations of scientific journal, and other references found in this web page, and on this website are for journalistic and educational purposes only, presented as a free exchange of ideas. They do not represent a recommendation, endorsement, diagnosis, nor prescription for any health disorder or remedy by the authors, or their publishers.

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MELISA® is the registered trademark of MELISA MEDICA FOUNDATION


MELISA® stands for "Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay", an in vitro test for metal allergy.

What MELISA® provides is a reliable, objective means for determining individual immune system sensitivity to specific metals, and metal compounds.

Early work with MELISA® indicates a subset of the general human population, at least 14% form a T-cell mediated immune response specific to common dental metals, and/or pharmaceutical preservatives and/or colorants, at the quantities these metals are entering the human blood stream.

This information is a critical missing piece in understanding a pathology for "amalgam disease", CFIDS, numerous autoimmune conditions, and even Gulf War Syndrome.

We propose that dental metals, mercurial preservatives, and other metal exposures can lead to an immune-metal pathology that leads to CFIDS and other immune disorders.


"Silver" dental fillings, also known as "amalgam" are a metal alloy formed at room temperature. These fillings are made of 50% mercury, at most 35% silver, along with various blends of copper, tin, and other trace minerals. At CFS Nutrition we usually refer to these dental fillings according to their most descriptive name, "mercury filling". But you will find us occasionally using the dentistry names as well. To learn more about your exposure to mercury from dental fillings, visit our pages Metal Taste and Dental Mercury Exposure.


We use dental mercury as the focus of this discussion since it has long been suspected to cause illness due to it's toxic nature, arising from mercury's strong affinity for sulfur-bearing thiol compounds. Metal allergy, mediated by metal-specific memory lymphocytes is not restricted to just mercury. Nickel, cadmium, gold, and palladium commonly invoke a similar immune response in metal sensitive persons. Even silver, titanium and copper are allergenic to some, an important point to consider if you are making plans to replace mercury fillings with alternative metals.

A Likely Pathology

For one or more reasons, the level of mercury compounds visible to the human blood stream reaches a critical concentration. Candidate reasons for why blood mercury concentrations might rise above an individuals immune system tolerance threshold include:

  • A sudden increase of mercury exposure caused by drilling and amalgam curing when adding, removing, or replacing mercury fillings
  • Placement of an electrically antagonistic metal such as gold into a mouth containing mercury fillings
  • Inert body storage locations away from the bloodstream finally fill up after years of constant metal exposure, placing more metal into view of the immune system
  • A decrease in detoxification capability occurs through loss of kidney and/or liver function
  • Depletion of key nutritional resources such as glutathione leave the body's natural detoxification processes operating at a rate lower than mercury uptake
  • Injection or use of a pharmaceutical with a mercury preservative

Once the critical concentration level is reached, the immune system forms a T-cell mediated response to the metal "invader". Memory lymphocytes are imprinted with the chemical image of the specific offending metal ion or compound, and proliferate similarly imprinted cells to fight microbial warfare.

Just as it would for a virus, the immune system presses an attack.

Only this invader is not a replicating virus. While the metal ions in the blood and tissues can be removed by macrophages and "sweats", other immune tactics such as fever, and oxidative burst are futile against the metal, and dangerous for the human. The immune system presses the attack for as long as it possibly can, weeks, and even months, but cannot sustain the effort indefinitely.

When the offensive metal is leaching from dental fillings and other dental restorations there is an endless supply of new contaminant, making it impossible for the immune system to win. Since the metal concentrations are usually not high enough to actually kill the person, the immune system can't really lose either.

The result, after a time, is a strangely activated and suppressed immune system. This awkward stalemate is a combination of immune signals to fight, and a state of nutritional depletion that renders the orders difficult to follow.

The human immune system is extremely dependent on adequate glutathione levels to perform properly, in the words of Wulf Droge et. al. : "Thiols And The Immune System: Effect of N-Acetyl cysteine on T Cell System in Human Subjects"; Methods in Enzymology, Vol. 251; 255-270,1995):

"Even a partial depletion of the intracellular glutathione pool has a dramatic consequence for the process of blast transformation and proliferation, and for the generation of cytotoxic T cells." That is the body loses the ability to imprint against a specific invader and then reproduce an army of cells that mark and destroy the invader.

"There is now a large body of evidence suggesting that the T cell system is profoundly influenced even by relatively moderate changes in the extracellular cysteine concentration and the intracellular glutathione and glutathione disulfide levels. The limiting role of cysteine..." Much of this evidence has come into focus due to research aimed at the AIDS epidemic. Exercise, immune response, pharmaceuticals, narcotics, and pollutants like mercury take glutathione levels below the critical range for fully competent immune function.

Detoxifying mercury compounds and performing a systemic immune response both consume body stores of Glutathione, and limit availability of this essential compound for other uses. Maintaining proper energy metabolism, protecting nerves and other cells from oxidative damage, and empowering the immune system against other threats, are needs that go lacking when glutathione levels become depressed.

Once the immune system has burned up it's critical resources, the "flu" stage of CFIDS subsides, and a chronic state of glutathione depression arises. In the Glutathione depressed state, the body has a limited ability to naturally detoxify mercury, leading to an ever increasing accumulation in the body. The "biological half-life" of mercury for such a person grows longer. The body becomes exposed to the possibility of slowly accumulating truly toxic levels of the metal. The ability to metabolize new glutathione also can be impaired by the chemical interference of a mercury buildup. Cellular energy production and protective antioxidation processes dependent on glutathione flounder.

The immune system reaches a state where it has inadequate resources to mount competent responses to opportunistic invaders that constantly challenge it. Candida yeast overgrow in the gut and other locations. Viruses such as EBV, and herpes gain freedom. The common cold, and it seems the common everything, make prolonged visits.

The depletion of glutathione is in itself a disease state, even without any obvious outside attackers, metal, viral, or otherwise. As a key component of the antioxidant defense system, glutathione is essential in protecting against damage from constantly occurring free radical reactions. The central nervous system, the brain, seems to be one of the organs most sensitive to glutathione depletion.

In the "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by James F. Balch MD and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. - Second Edition, it is stated: "A deficiency of glutathione first affects the nervous system, causing such symptoms as lack of coordination, mental disorders, tremors, and difficulty maintaining balance. These problems are believed to be due to the development of lesions in the brain."

Autoimmune disorders have been repeatedly induced in genetically susceptible lab animals by feeding and injecting gold and mercury compounds. Since mercury and gold can bind into any protein location with an available sulfur atom, an immune response in a sensitive person has the opportunity to target not only the metal, but also the metal combined together with human protein. By deforming protein at "identity" locations, these metals can cause the body to no longer recognize proteins belonging to itself.

Foreign protein such as virus, bacteria, fungus, and cancer are threats, and the body constantly guards against these invaders by checking "identity" locations of proteins. The view of the immune system is that all foreign protein must be destroyed to preserve the human health. In autoimmunity, seemingly healthy tissues are destroyed by the immune system. Many autoimmune conditions target specific organs or tissues types. MS - myelin sheath of nerve cells, Lupus - kidney cells, ALS - motor neurons, Rheumatoid arthritis - joint tissue, Addison's disease - adrenal glands, the list goes on...

In our view, all of these "mystery" autoimmune conditions in people with a history of "silver" dental fillings need to suspect an immune-metal pathology because of what has been learned through MELISA®.

If exposure to dental metal is the root cause of illness for an individual, it is impossible to imagine a complete restoration of normal health, and normal immune function, as long as the metal leaching ions from the teeth into the blood stream is targeted by the immune system. The only way to be sure the metal is not leaching, and the immune system is not reacting this way, is to completely and safely remove it from the oral cavity.

To help restore your body's natural mercury detoxification with glutathione, and to supply complimentary immune, energy and antioxidation supporting nutrients, we recommend our Defense & Replenish , and our Glutathione Precursors products.

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