Chronic Fatigue

The kids are late, their bus is coming
My body's tired, my brain is numbing
My husband's words have left me limp
He called to me, you're just a wimp
It's all in my head, that's all they say
With tests and probes, I'm A-OK
They draw my blood and take my temp
The answer's clear -- I AM a wimp

What's up this week? Many folks tell me it's anything but energy. Why do so many people suffer from chronic fatigue? Don't we get enough sleep? Let's look at the example of the woman who gets ten hours of sleep per night, goes to bed exhausted and wakes up (only to a lengthy alarm) feeling exhausted. I use the female example because we saw a high predominance of females with this problem. There was a scenario that followed. Females are different, you know, primarily different from their male doctor counterparts.

When women are fatigued for a few years, they are much easier to beat up. And there is a pattern of treatment. I saw this pattern hundreds of times. It may seem familiar to some of you reading, for either you have experienced it, or had a wife or mother who experienced it. You may note a hint of sarcasm on occasion, for it really irritates me to see women treated in this manner.

H stands for husband, W for wife, and D for doctor.

H. Why don't you see a doctor? You aren't the same person I married ten years ago. You were so cheerful, active, fun to be around and now look at you.

W. Hummmm. Dear, would you set the alarm for just five more minutes?

H. You have already been asleep for ten hours. The bus will be here for the kids in 20 minutes and I can't find Jenny's left shoe. She won't wear any color but red today. And where is my paisley tie? I have a meeting with the boss today and I've got to look my best. I'll call for an appointment for you. What kind of doctor do you need, anyway?

W. Ten minutes.... just ten more min....

Doctors must get tired too. Tired of seeing the same woman with the same problems several times every day. Different name each time, but it's still always the same.

D. What's your name, age, problem, how long have you thought you were tired? Married? [now the routine really get monotonous] There are only two possible answers. Yes or no. If yes, how long? You and your husband get along OK? To himself: denial, just like all the others. Simple, really. If you are married, the husband is the problem, if not, that is the problem. Now on to the next series:

Do you have children? Again, two possible answers. If you do, they are the problem. Copping out. If not, again, simple, you feel inadequate. Treatment: Blood test to determine if anemic. If anemic it is expected because you are female and females do that thing once a month that is so bizarre. They lose blood. Of course they are anemic. Men don't do it, so it is abnormal. Give iron and see me next month. If the blood test is OK, one choice. Shrink.

The blood test is usually normal, in fact, many times what is called high normal. Aside from confirming that you need a shrink, what does this blood test mean?

Most of the time, this blood test is a Complete Blood Count, or CBC for short. It includes a count of your red and white blood cells. Let's focus on the reds for today. The red blood cells can be counted so you know how many cells there are per cubic millimeter of blood. Hemoglobin tells how much hemoglobin, or potential oxygen carrying capacity you have. And the hematocrit (formerly called cell volume - perhaps a better term) is a measurement of the percentage of blood that is composed of cells that contain hemoglobin. There are other breakdowns of counts that refer to the size, volume, etc. of the cells, but the hemoglobin and hematocrit will tell us the story we need to understand.

Hemoglobin is a gihugic  molecule that contains four parking places that can carry oxygen. These parking places are called binding sites, or places that oxygen can bind to the molecule for a free ride throughout your blood vessel system. When a hemoglobin molecule travels through an area that is short on oxygen, the tissue that is in need creates a chemical affinity for oxygen, such that the oxygen will jump off the hemoglobin and join the depleted tissue. This binding of oxygen to hemoglobin is not real strong, so that oxygen can jump off and the hemoglobin can return through your veins to the heart, to the lungs, and pick up another load.

Silver-mercury fillings are constantly giving off mercury atoms into the mouth which can be inhaled into the lungs and from there go into the blood stream, or swallowed, go into the stomach, on to the intestines and into the blood stream -- which ever way, mercury can end up in your blood. Being a highly reactive atom, mercury immediately starts looking for a binding site with which to set up a permanent relationship. The binding sites on hemoglobin look ideal, so mercury tends to bind to the hemoglobin.

There is another fact that may explain why chronic fatigue is a modern issue. In the late 1970s dentistry began using "high copper amalgam". Instead of the usual two to six percent copper, a new amalgam containing up to 33 percent copper was introduced to the market.

In U.S. tests and later published in Europe, it was found that the high copper amalgams emit 50 times more mercury vapor than the conventional amalgams of the previous century.

There is one big difference though. When oxygen binds, it is for a short period of time. When mercury binds, it may be forever. Out of the four available binding sites, if one mercury atom attaches, then you have lost 25 percent of the oxygen carrying capacity of that molecule. If two attach, you have lost 50 percent. You can see that it really doesn't take much contamination to eventually have an effect on your energy level. Sleeping doesn't help this problem either.

To confirm this, we have tested the "oxyhemoglobin" levels in the blood. This test tells of your "oxygen saturation", or how much oxygen you are transporting relative to how much you really could be transporting. If all your hemoglobin was contaminated with two atoms of mercury on each molecule, your level would be 50 percent.

Now we have an explanation. Many of our female patients had high hemoglobin levels. Why? Because the body was aware of the mercury contamination and COMPENSATED by forming additional red blood cells, giving more hemoglobin and a higher hematocrit. These gals all looked like Olympic athletes from their high cell counts, but without an oxyhemoglobin level to see how much oxygen was really there, your wimpy attitude confirmed the "It's All in Your Head" diagnosis.

Venous oxyhemoglobin levels are rarely done on a routine basis, so do not criticize your doctor for not doing them. Most oxyhemoglobins are done on arterial blood anyway. Venous levels give an idea of what life is like in the trenches. How much oxygen is utilized for just keeping your organs and tissues alive? Venous blood after supplying oxygen for maintenance housekeeping should have around 60 to 70 percent saturation. This leaves 60 to 70 percent of your oxygen income available for challenges like finding Jenny's shoe, fixing breakfast, finding the tie, making love, working 8 hours away from the home, all those little expected normal things we face. Most of our patients had around 40 percent saturation or less. Twenty-something was not unusual in females. The implications here are mind-boggling.

What do you do about the situation?

Granted, mercury may also be altering thyroid, cell membrane permeability and a bunch more things that contribute to chronic fatigue -- not to mention foods and digestion, but we are facing a primary problem with constant mercury contamination. None of the other avenues of treatment are going to be nearly as effective as long as you have amalgam spewing out mercury vapor into your blood stream. Amalgam removal sequentially, and with the most protection you can find (rubber dam used by the dentist to reduce your exposure during removal, lots of water flowed onto the filling while it is cut out - more than the little spray offered by the drill itself - vitamin or IV protection)... there are a lot of things that can be done, but the important thing is to reduce your constant daily exposure.

Amalgam removal, protection procedures and nutrition are other chapters all in themselves, but the important thing you need to know is that you are not a wimp -- you are not shirking your responsibilities and that it is not All in Your Head.

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