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How the Mercury Tri-Test & Blood Metals Panel Differ

What are the two tests that Quicksilver offers, and how are they different?

The QS Mercury Tri-Test

Our patented speciation testing technology provides analysis for inorganic and methyl mercury, allowing specific data targeting for better defined solutions. We also offer a complete detoxification program of wholesale supplements. Quicksilver Scientific's Mercury Tri-Test is the only clinical testing suite that utilizes blood, hair, and urine to measure excretion abilities and exposure to inorganic and methyl mercury. 

Inorganic mercury (HgII) in the blood usually reflects a dental amalgam exposure, and urine is a route of excretion for it. Some is generated from the breakdown of methylmercury inside the body. Inorganic mercury is the most cytotoxic form of mercury and, therefore, an important pool to track. The urine:blood ratio gives an index of excretion efficiency for inorganic mercury.

Methylmercury (MeHg) mostly reflects seafood consumption, though some MeHg does form in the gut from swallowed amalgam-based mercury. Excretion of methylmercury is reflected in the hair. The hair:blood ratio gives an index of excretion efficiency of methylmercury.

The QS Blood Metals Panel

Quicksilver Scientific’s Blood Metals Panel screens a broad range of nutrient and toxic metals to show elevated exposures to toxic metals or imbalances of nutrient metals in whole blood.

Nutrient Elements: Calcium, Copper, Lithium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Zinc

Potentially Toxic Elements: Arsenic, Cadmium, Cobalt, Lead, Mercury, Silver, Strontium


The Truth About Testing: Challenge Testing Vs. Mercury Speciation Testing

For over two decades now, many clinical metals toxicologists have been relying on “challenge tests,” also called provocation tests, to diagnose mercury and other metal toxicities. The diagnostic premise of the testing is that it shows the “body burden” of the individual–that pool of deeply held metals that represents our lifetime accumulation of un-excreted metals.

The literature examining the challenge tests ranges from the years 1991 through 2001 and has thus far failed to find any evidence of the challenge tests revealing any more than recent exposures, and in some instances (Frumkin et al, 2001) failing to see exposures made clear by ambient testing. Recently, challenge tests have come under fire from federal authorities as a diagnostic tool. The problem is not really that the challenge tests have no use (especially in the case of lead, where EDTA challenge testing is documented to have slightly better correlations with bone lead than do blood lead measurements, or the case of gadolinium where levels in blood and urine are undetectable without EDTA provocation). Instead, the problem is the way they are generally used and interpreted. There are many practitioners who use the data from challenge tests in scientifically and clinically valid ways, but in general use the challenge test has three main flaws:

1. The propagation of the myth of a special relevance of the pool identified by the challenge, i.e., “body burden,” and the yes/no interpretation, i.e., “I found mercury in the patient.”

2. The use of a non-challenged reference range to compare the challenge test to; this is probably the biggest problem from a regulatory standpoint since there is such obvious potential for over-treatment.

3. The lack of standardization of the challenge conditions:

  • DMPS has very different strength and specificity than DMSA.
  • IV vs. oral administration has vastly different pharmacokinetics.
  • Use of adjuncts such as EDTA, glutathione, and glycine vastly changes the dynamics of the test and its output.

The measurement of mercury in the body and extrapolation to body burden and toxic conditions is a very complicated field, requiring acute clinical discernment, including integration of patient history, current exposures, symptomology, and effect of co-morbidities. The simplification and deification of the challenge test are no longer serving the evolution of the field of clinical metals toxicology. Now is the time for adoption of better tools!

At Quicksilver Scientific, we have developed advanced mercury test kits that:

1. Identify different sources of mercury by measuring the relative amounts of the two main forms of mercury in the body—methylmercury and inorganic mercury.

2. Quantify excretion capabilities for those two forms.