Mercury is a natural element, but unlike some elements, it is of absolutely no benefit to the body; on the contrary, mercury can be harmful in a number of important ways and can interfere with several bodily systems. There are many ways in which people are exposed to mercury, including through some dental procedures, seafood consumption, and exposure to a variety of agriculture pesticides. It can also be found frequently in the drinking water.
What is especially concerning is that when children are exposed to mercury as they are growing, this exposure can have a long-lasting impact on their physical and neurological development and lead to life-long problems. Read on to find out more about the ways in which mercury is harmful to the body.
Mercury has been shown to inhibit the ability of the DNA to repair itself; this can lead to a variety of long-term health problems, since DNA is the body’s basic building block.
Interferes with Selective Permeability
Selective permeability refers to the ability of cells to allow some substances through their membranes and to block out others that might be harmful; mercury interferes with this and leaves cells more vulnerable to invasion.
Changes Molecular Shape
The function of various molecules in the body are dependant upon their shape and chemical structure. Mercury changes the shapes of some molecules and renders them incapable of functioning.
Alters Enzymes and their Activity
Enzymes are naturally occurring chemicals in the body that are needed for many important processes like digestion. Mercury, however, can interfere with the way these enzymes work and make it more difficult for these processes to be carried out.
Interferes with Nerve Conduction
Mercury can effect by the nervous system by interfering with the way that impulses are conducted throughout the system and can cause numbness, tremors and tingling.
Disrupts the Endocrine System
Mercury is known to be an endocrine disruptor – that is, it can damage or alter the way in which hormonal glands throughout the body work and this in turn can have a negative impact on many bodily processes such as metabolism.
Causes Autoimmune Problems
This toxin has also been shown to overstimulate the body’s immune response system, which can lead to an autoimmune attack, where the body’s immune system turns upon and attacks its own cells and tissues.
The presence of mercury in the body can also deactivate the functions of other important minerals like calcium or iron and lead to problems with osteoporosis or anemia.
Mercury can damage the digestion process by killing off the beneficial bacteria in the gut that are needed for good nutrient absorption.
Mercury, in the process of creating new bacterial strains, may help lead to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, making infections extremely difficult to treat.
Mercury, in short, can constitute a serious health problem for all of the reasons listed above and is especially worrying when it comes to exposure in children. However, actions like carefully choosing fish and seafood, talking to the dentist about alternative dental procedures and eating organic foods are all good ways to help limit exposure to this harmful toxin.
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