MTHFR And The Light Bulb Lesson: Poison?

by holli on March 27, 2014

When I was looking at my test results for MTHFR and my Doctor said that my children have a 50% chance of having it too, I immediately thought of my son. Within four months, he would be diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. And, a few months later, I would finally decide to have his blood tested for MTHFR.

I took him to a specialist my friend recommended. We were starting with a blood draw, where she did a wonderful job despite what my 5-year-old daughter observed of him, “losing all his blood and almost dying.” He had a vasovagal episode during the blood draw: He about fainted, because his blood pressure dropped dramatically from the experience. Not a big surprise since he’s an over-processor of stimuli (hello, SPD).

That doctor ordered a battery of tests including for metals and poisons like arsenic. She referred me to someone else since my son has SPD, but called as soon as the results came back. She said she wanted to make sure I had made the appointment to consult about his results, and she had a tone other Mother’s understand: something is wrong. She said she didn’t want me to worry too much, but we should stop eating Tuna immediately. My son had high levels of Mercury in his blood.

Our new doctor explained that he also had low levels of lead from what looked to be chronic exposure. Mercury was a mystery at his level. She spent an hour and a half going over his entire health history with me: vaccinations, dental health, diet, vacations, toys, and then asked about his time spent playing outdoors. I learned that with the MTHFR gene mutation, the body doesn’t have it’s full ability to eliminate heavy metals. We left with a protocol for special supplements, directions for regular epsom salt baths, and urged to purge any suspicious toys from our home.

I left feeling overwhelmed. So, I decided to focus on what changes we could make: dietary, a supplement routine, meal plan, etc. Now that it’s been a couple of months, we have seen him become a calmer, easy-going boy. It’s really remarkable – he has his moments of moodiness but for the past few weeks, it’s like he’s a new kid.

Now that I can see the difference his MTHFR gene mutation protocol is really making, I have the energy and motivation to put into figuring out where the Lead and Mercury sources are in our environment. Spoiler alert: I still don’t know, but I learned something from light bulbs.

A tiny powerful choice: light bulbs.

A tiny powerful choice: light bulbs.

Mercury is toxic at any level of exposure. The EPA and Department of Ecology have changed what they deem to be acceptable levels of contamination several times. A journal article I found in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health states, “Mercury is a highly toxic element; there is no known safe level of exposure.

Mercury can be found in soil, food, and the air we breath. It occurs in nature where there is Volcanic activity and rock erosion, but it’s released at dangerous levels where we have used it for industrial purposes: power plants, mining and metal fabrication to name a few. As I’ve poured over dozens of articles on Mercury exposure, and state legislation for how to deal with it, I was fascinated by light bulbs.

An acupuncturist friend of mine told me about a year ago that I might not want to use them in my son’s room because he’s extra sensitive and she knew they were a known trigger from some of her patients.

I just logged her comment away as probably paranoid-health-hype. How could a light bulb that is better for the environment be harmful?

Turns out,  CF Bulbs emit 30% of it’s Mercury content within the first 4 days when broken (the study found the rest stays in the debris, but didn’t say clearly if they studied beyond the 4 days). Once that wears off or you clean it up quickly, it’s relatively fine. BUT, CF bulbs use so much less energy during their life-span than normal bulbs that is justifies the house-hold exposure.

Why?  The difficult reality is the our consumption of energy is great enough that to produce enough energy (electricity) at the national level, we’re putting more Mercury into our environment (a higher dangerous level) than what we get from a CF bulb in our own home if they break. So, turning off your electronics or lights in the house when you’re not using them is not only good for your wallet, it’s good for everyone’s health, not just Earth.

Thinking about light bulbs has helped me look at Mercury in a new light: It’s a part of our environment, essential for our way of life.

We would have to make drastic changes to how we live to really reduce our energy consumption. Our homes would have to be built to maximize solar light sources. Our schedules would have to be based on solar patterns to reduce our need for light bulbs. And that doesn’t even account for heat and the damage that using gas or coal causes our environment. Or even touch the other areas where we consume large amounts of energy.

What I want to figure out is: How much Mercury is in our air, in our soil and in our food, locally? With this data, I think we can help mitigate it’s affects if we know we’re breathing x amount in every day and can use x amount of  baths to help our body eliminate it. But guess what? Once we get it out of our bodies, it’s still here.

It’s enough to make me ANGRY. And that motivates me to keep on looking, even as I sit here at the kitchen table by the light of a CF bulb…

Back to MTHFR: we are waiting to see if my son’s body is eliminating Mercury now that it has all the nutritional support to compensate for the mutation or if further treatment for Mercury is necessary. Either way, Mercury is my new nemesis.

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