"So the mercury is wearing out the mitochondria, and that could be through the whole body. Another target that's more of an organ target would be the thyroid, and there's a similar effect there. In the thyroid, it blocks the conversion of T4, which is the hormone that comes out of the thyroid. It blocks the conversion of T4 to T3, which is the one that's active in the rest of the body, turning up the respiration in the rest of the body. So there's another thing where it's bringing fatigue, possibly weight gain. It's slowing down metabolism. Then let's hit one third very common target in the body, and that's the brain. The most well-defined target in the brain is the NMDA receptor, which is the glutamate receptor. In your brain, the symphony of neurochemistry in your brain is most dominated by the yin-yang pair of GABA and glutamate, where GABA is a calming neurotransmitter and glutamate is an activating neurotransmitter. But when glutamate is hyper-expressed, as happens with mercury toxicity, you get high levels of anxiety. You're overstimulated and your body is stuck in what's called sympathetic autonomic tone, where it can't relax, it can't repair, it can't digest. It's just running, running, running, in fear all the time. And so there's this combination of fatigue in the body while hyper-stimulating the neurology that's sort of the most common presentation of mercury toxicity."
Dr. Shade obtained a bachelor's and a master's degree from Lehigh University in environmental and aqueous chemistry and a PhD from the University of Illinois, where he studied metal-ligand interactions in the environment and specialized in the environmental and analytical chemistries of mercury. During his PhD work, Dr. Shade patented analytical technology for mercury speciation analysis and later foundedQuicksilver Scientific to commercialize this technology, and it's the lab that we use for heavy metal and mercury testing, as you'll learn in the show. Shortly after starting Quicksilver Scientific, Dr. Shade turned his focus to the human aspects of mercury toxicity and the functioning of the human detoxification system.