(NaturalNews) She says she first remembers developing a myriad of medical problems in grade school, but no one seemed to know why. The last thing the medical/dental community thought was that her problems could ever have been caused by her fillings.
As a young girl, Diane Meyer says she got amalgam "silver fillings" in her teeth that contained a combination of elements, but which were filled about 50 percent with mercury. It was the filling of choice back then and remained the filling of choice for decades thereafter.
In those days, the 1970s, she says, the medical community had little information on the harmful side effects of the deadly metal. Certainly, the dental community never suspected anything.
"They said mercury could not leach from fillings," she told Natural News in a far-ranging interview. "They were wrong."
As a child, Meyer said she received eight silver fillings in all. And she said that, over the years, the mercury they contained have led to a health nightmare that she says she has only recently overcome.
As she grew into adulthood, Meyer herself wound up graduating from dental school, ironically enough. But her medical problems would persist for years thereafter.
She said that she would go from doctor to doctor trying to find out why she was suffering from a host of physical ailments ranging from stomach problems like nausea and irritable bowel syndrome to chronic headaches, body aches and joint pain.
She suffered with hormonal imbalances. She suffered sore throats. At one point, she says she was told that her symptoms were caused by out-of-whack hormones.
She was also having mental issues. Things like memory loss and fits of rage ("like I was bipolar"). She couldn't concentrate on her work. She couldn't focus.
And through it all, she never really knew that the eight mercury-containing silver amalgam fillings in her teeth were the problem.
History of mercury findings
In 1977, scientists published findings linking mercury to adverse neurological effects [http://www.sciencedirect.com]. Researchers from the University of Arkansas determined that "mercury was found to penetrate and damage the blood-brain barrier very rapidly, leading to a dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier system." The scientists had conducted a meta-analysis of "significant literature concerning the neurotoxic effects of mercury, biochemical, physiological, and morphological."
Further, the 1977 study determined:
In experimental models, it was found that the sensory neurons in the spinal ganglia and granule cells in the cerebellum were most vulnerable to mercury poisoning. Ultrastructural studies indicated that vacuolar degeneration of the neurons was mainly associated with inorganic mercury intoxication, while coagulative type of degeneration was found mostly in organic mercury poisoning. Degenerative changes in the nerve fibers were also observed.
One day, her brother -- who is also a dentist -- suggested that she attend a seminar whose speakers were set to propose that mercury-laced fillings were indeed causing health issues for many.
"I learned that my symptoms may have been coming from my occupational exposure to mercury as well as the silver-mercury fillings in my own mouth," she says.
Meyer said she began researching the issue herself, but noted that, at the time -- the late 1990s -- there still wasn't much information out there regarding the leaching of mercury from fillings and the harmful side effects that it could cause.
"After researching the ill health effects of mercury, I was shocked to realize many of the physicians that I had gone to had absolutely no idea how to diagnose or treat symptoms of mercury poisoning," she wrote in a blog in 2011. "Mercury disrupts hormones and causes cell death. I believe the difficulty in diagnosing Mercury toxicity, sensitivity, and allergy is because this metal is very hard to find in the blood, urine or hair except in acute exposure situations."
In 1998, convinced that she had identified her problem, Meyer said she had all eight of her own mercury amalgam fillings removed. It was the same year she says that she stopped using mercury in fillings in her own practice as well, adopting a holistic approach to dentistry -- a decision that would ultimately put her at odds with state licensing officials.
By 2000, she was officially diagnosed -- finally -- with mercury exposure, but it did not come easy. Years of suffering and scores of doctors came first, but the relief of finding a physician who believed in Meyer has permanently influenced her.
"My advice would be to keep going and keep going [from] doctor to doctor until you find the person willing to work with you," she said.
It was at this point that she began a crusade of sorts to bring the issue to the forefront, not simply within the dental community, but to the general public as well. She decided to take her practice completely holistic -- a decision that eventually led to the loss of her license in February 2013.
She had been butting heads with the Illinois state licensing board for years anyway.
"I had to appear many times before the state dental board," she told me. "They kept accusing me of violating the Dental Practice Act, claiming I had abandoned patients and so forth. But they never could produce any specific charges."
She believes that she was being targeted for her holistic approach, because the state could "never produce a signed complaint."
Despite that, Meyer today operates her own holistic dentistry and healthcare practice. She treats members, not "patients," who "belong" to her "private membership association." It's a way to continue her mercury-free practice and not run afoul of the law.
When members "join," the first thing Meyer does is evaluate them -- are they nutritionally prepared? Is the member in a good place mentally? What kind of biofeedback is required? What do the member's blood tests indicate? What are the muscle-testing results?
After working up the new member, Meyer crafts a treatment plan that matches the member's needs. And for many, that means replacing mercury-filled amalgams -- "the most negatively-charged ones first."
To do so, Meyer employs a special mercury separator, in which particulates are captured in a cylinder and disposed of properly, according to environmental regulations. She uses a special mineral water as well, because it is more wholesome; to reduce her own exposure, she uses a miner's mask when she's drilling.