What is Mercury?

Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can be found in various forms, including elemental mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. It is widely recognized for its harmful effects on the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, as well as the lungs, kidneys, skin, and eyes. Mercury exposure occurs primarily through consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish, occupational exposure, and use of mercury-containing products. (United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "Mercury." 2021.)

Why is Mercury Important?

Mercury is highly toxic, particularly to the nervous system. High levels of mercury can lead to neurological and behavioral disorders, and long-term exposure can cause severe kidney damage. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to mercury toxicity, which can impair fetal and child development. Additionally, mercury has the ability to accumulate over time in animals, including humans, which means that small amounts of mercury have the potential to be as harmful as an exposure to a significant amount of mercury at once. SiPhox Health includes mercury in our Mineral Panel to monitor and reduce the risk of mercury exposure.

How Can I Better Understand My Mercury Levels?

To assist in interpreting results, various health organizations and labs outline ranges that indicate normal levels of magnesium in the blood. These ranges often differ slightly from each other. ZRT Laboratory has a list of Heavy Metals & Essential Elements Reference Ranges which can be found here.

According to ZRT Laboratory, the normal range for magnesium is <6.98 µg/L.

    Elevated mercury levels are typically caused by dietary sources (particularly fish and shellfish), occupational exposure, and certain traditional medicines. Reducing intake of high-mercury fish and improving workplace safety can help lower mercury exposure.

    How Can I Reduce Mercury Exposure?

    To reduce mercury exposure, consider the following strategies:

    • Dietary Changes: Limit consumption of high-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Instead, opt for fish lower in mercury such as salmon, cod, sardines, and trout. It is important to note that cooking does not eliminate mercury. 
    • Workplace Safety: Follow safety guidelines and use protective equipment if working in environments where mercury exposure is possible, such as places where electrical equipment and automotive part are manufactures.
    • Avoid Mercury-Containing Products: Be cautious with products that contain mercury, such as some batteries, thermometers, and fluorescent bulbs.

    Where Can I Learn More?