Mercury Speciation Testing
Different forms of mercury are found from inorganic sources. One laboratory, Quicksilver Scientific, has the technology to break down mercury into inorganic or methylmercury.
This option may be helpful for someone who is not clear as to their source of mercury. The only drawback is that this test only measures for mercury and is less cost-effective.
There actually is a lot of controversy surrounding these tests, for reasons that have nothing to do with their legitimacy or accuracy. The reference ranges that most labs use ranges more appropriate for unprovoked results.
There also have been practitioners who have used very high doses of provocation with people for screening purposes.
In this scenario, nearly anyone will appear to have a burden of toxicants high in the green range or early in the yellow range. However, toxicologists know that challenge testing is a legitimate tool when the right amount of challenge agents are used and the tests are interpreted properly.
The Problem with Toxicants
The problem with many toxicants is that they are harmful with themselves, but also impair the body’s ability to detoxify. Consequently, as people detoxify, they may get better at detoxifying.
This means that they can be improving, even when the levels are getting higher. Over the full course of an effective detox regime, urine levels of toxicants are due to come down. Initially, however, they might go up – which can always be disconcerting.
Let me tell you a little bit about my experience. When I first got going in testing myself for mercury, my results looked much worse than the sample image. Thankfully, they came down to negligible levels over time.
These tests collect urine for 24 hours or for 6 hours. Many of us did comparison studies between 24 and 6 hours and found that 6 hours was nearly identical and much more convenient.
Tests can also be done after provocation only, or both before and after provocation. Few people have toxicants that show up without provocation, so at Integrative Health we do a 6 hour collection post-provocation for the best accuracy and the most convenience.