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The Selenium Mercury Myth – Misleading Media

My health had been failing for a few years before it was understood that I had excessive levels of mercury in my body (3x maximum in my blood and off the chart levels in my urine). Once this information was revealed, in 2006, things became a little too clear. I had become extremely sick a month or so after returning from a tropical paradise vacation where for several weeks we were eating fish at every meal. What I thought was a privilege was cumulatively poisoning my body.

I began reading about mercury toxicity symptoms, treatments and options. I found multiple articles claiming that selenium intake would prevent and remove mercury toxicity. The information was presented as fact, 100% true and as a blanket statement. It was nuts because my lab results were sitting right in front of me and clearly proved the contrary.

Below is the scanned image of the Doctor’s Data blood lab results from September 2006. You will see that most all my mineral levels are quite below the normal range while selenium on the other hand was extremely high. You will also notice on the same lab result, using the same blood, are my blood mercury levels which show my blood had three times maximum amounts of mercury.

page 3 DD blood metals results

Side note: This test was done in 2006. Labs change their reference ranges at times and different laboratories use different reference ranges. One lab will tell you something is “normal” while another will tell you it is too low or too high. This is a complicating aspect of lab results that few people are aware of and I feel it is worth mentioning. The same is true of lab techs who read images. Studies have been done and confirmed that a same technician reading the same image on a different day will give a different reading of the image. Get second and third opinions from professionals at different locations and who have extremely different affiliations. Their affiliations will alter their understanding and the information that they offer you.  

Another side note worth mentioning. The lab results indicate I am 20 years old. I was actually 36 at the time. I called the lab to verify these were my results and not someone else’s. I share this because it is important to verify personal information is accurate. Reference ranges are sometimes different based on age, gender, ethnicity or something else. If the lab has incorrectly entered personal information then your results are likely to have even higher than normal false positive or false negative ratio than they normally do. If your results don’t feel right then make sure to be retested. And be sure the retest is done by a different laboratory if possible.

As I looked at the test results and saw the articles, thoughts were racing through my mind. Selenium may be part of the problem – not the solution. Dangerous information was being made main stream media. People were possibly taking selenium with the belief that it was helping their body remove the mercury when in fact it may have been creating the problem. It was pure negligence on the part of the authors. It was scary.

Some years later I found this direct quote in the Toxicology Report put out by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). This is a Government agency whose purpose is to compile information about the relationship between known toxic substances and the disease process.

Direct Quote from ATSDR Toxicology Profile for Mercury March 1999, Pg 262

“Somewhat paradoxically, the protective effect of selenium has been associated with a higher whole-body retention of mercury (Hansen 1988; Magos et al. 1987). In a study of selenium excretion in workers exposed to low levels of metallic mercury vapor in a chloralkali plant, Ellingsen et al. (1995) found that even in a low-to-moderate occupational exposure, mercury may reduce the urinary selenium concentration in humans in a manner that is not yet fully known. Evidence from human autopsy tissues suggests that distribution of mercury throughout the body may be influenced by the presence of selenium (Suzuki et al. 1993). In this study, however, the level of selenium was found to negatively correlate with the level of mercury in some tissues including the cerebrum, spleen, and kidney cortex.

This was my first personal example of how vital it was to be a Doubting Thomas. My questions to professionals have made me very unpopular, but I am still alive today and I still have my organs.

In the beginning it was confusing. What information can I trust? Who can I trust? It wasn’t long until I realized my body knew and would guide me if I listened.

I now define a good article, I don’t find many, as one that presents information objectively. It gives me the straight scoop. No pushing one way or the other. Neutrally presented information allows me to make the best decisions based on what I know about my body and its history.

Selenium may indeed be the miracle trace mineral needed to prevent and cure mercury toxicity, but it may only apply to 33% of the population. Another 33% may have no change at all. The last 33% of the population may have bodies like mine where it is increasing the body burden and problems.

I encourage you to stay on your toes and to pay attention. Listen to your body and honor what it tells you. Be your body’s personal private detective and advocate. Your successful recovery will depend on it. Every story has two sides. A solution for one person will be death for another and vice versa.

Fact: Experts and professionals have information.

Fact: You live in your body 24/7 and this makes you the expert of your body function and life history.

Your chances of successful healing are only 50% if the professional is the only person making decisions for your body. When your body is part of the decision making and guiding process your success rate doubles.

You are unlikely to hand over your house or car keys to a stranger you have just met for 30 minutes, but you will happily give your physical body’s future over to that same stranger. How is it that you are more careful about your house and car than you are about your own physical body? Without which your house and car don’t matter.

It is important to cross, double and triple check information. Above all allow your instinct and body to guide you towards the best solutions.

Being a compliant, obedient, easy-going, likable and “good patient” who allows professionals to make 100% of the decisions for your body provides a 50% chance of health recovery. Allowing your body to be a part of the decision making process along with professionals will double your chance for a successful health recovery.

Krista Umgelter blog



PS – I stopped eating fish altogether back in 2006 as well as being aware of and avoiding mercury exposures that I have control over. I went through about 2 years of DMPS IV chelation which was horrendous. In all my heavy metals lab tests since then my mercury levels have been barely even detectable.