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Mercury to blame for sharp rise in Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis

Autism a neurological disorder

The theory that Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is only caused by a genetic defect, has been blown out of the water, with recent studies suggesting that ASD symptoms are caused by neurological damage, likely induced by an inflammatory process, triggered by high levels of mercury in the body.


It is well known that Mercury is a neurotoxin and that it induces inflammatory mediator release from human mast cells, which is a type of white blood cell that are part of the immune and neuroimmune Systems. If mast cells release many granules rich in histamine and heparin, this is a clear sign of an allergic response to foreign allergens.

Interestingly, in a National Survey of Children’s Health, parents of autistic children reported more symptoms of allergies than those of healthy control children. Food allergies were the most prevalent complaint. The findings of yet another study discussed that fact that people diagnosed with Autism have mast cell numbers 10 fold than of the normal population, hence their predisposition to various allergies.

Mercury toxicity, abnormal mast cells and Allergies – The LINK

Humans are exposed, in the environment to Methylmercury, which is formed from inorganic mercury, present in lakes, rivers, wetlands, sediments, soils, the open ocean, certain products and certain vaccines.

In light of previous studies proving that Autism sufferers have an abnormal amount of mast cells released, a 2010 paper discussed findings of an investigation on the effect of inorganic mercuric chloride
(HgCl2) on human mast cell activation.

The results confirmed what previous studies were suggesting, Mercury starts an allergic process via affecting mast cells to react abnormally. The concentrations of inorganic mercury needed to trigger this process are extremely low, as only 0.1 μM or 0.001 Millimeter is needed.

How else Mercury damages the body ?

It is common knowledge that mercury can cross the blood brain barrier. Which is a membrane separating the blood from the cerebrospinal fluid, and constituting a barrier to the passage of cells, particles, and large molecules.

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SO, as mercury crosses this protective membrane, it causes two problems in the body’s metabolism:

• Activates the abnormal release of mast cells causing an allergic process, and
• Triggers mast cells to induce the abnormal release of two important proteins, which are called : Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Interleukin 6 (IL-6 )

As a result, not only mercury affects the body causing allergies, but it also causes over expression of VEGF cells are linked to neurodegenation, motoneuron degeneration, cancer, ischemia, and inflammation. This is discussed in depth in the paper VEGF: a critical player in neurodegeneration.

In a 2011 study ,frozen human brain tissues of six autistic subjects and six age-matched normal subjects were tested. This was done in order to pinpoint whether autistic children had an overexpression of IL-6. The results confirmed that autistic subjects IL-6 expression is significantly increased in the cerebellum of autistic children. The abnormal production of IL-6 cause: fever, auto -immune diseases and infection. These results suggest that “..the elevated IL-6 in the autistic brain could alter neural cell adhesion, migration and also cause an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory circuits. Thus, increased IL-6 expression may be partially responsible for the pathogenesis of autism”.

According to another scientific study, in which 24 children diagnosed with autism, had their urine tested to pinpoint the level of heavy metal intoxication in each of them. The results confirmed the relation in all subjects, between Autism and levels of mercury, as it was clear that there is a connection between urinary porphyrins, ASD biomarkers and higher levels of mercury.

Mercury toxicity and Autism diagnosis

If children diagnosed with autism have been proven to have mercury toxicity in numerous studies, it is safe to say there is a link between the two.

A person can only be diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder if he/she fulfils the ASD biomarkers, which are at different degrees, the impairment of :Speech/Language, Sociability, Sensory/Cognitive Awareness, and Health/Physical/Behavior.

The studies presented in this article have clearly established the damages that mercury toxicity can do to the body and brain. Therefore if a person is suffering from mercury toxicity, the side effects will inherently present themselves as the impairment of faculties pertaining to neurological and neuromotor development, which are directly correspondent to the specific physiological and mental deterioration of Autistic patients.