The New Global Standard in Mercury Testing

Sponsored by Quicksilver Scientific

By Christopher Shade, PhD

April 18, 2017

Testing is one of the most powerful tools healthcare practitioners have to properly diagnose and treat patients. Test results are like pieces of a puzzle that help practitioners put together a clear picture of their patient’s health. Let’s face it, the treatment protocol the practitioner creates is only as good as the test that is used to create it.

In the past, when trying to uncover health issues related to mercury exposure, practitioners would choose between doing a hair analysis or a challenge (provocation) test. We now know that both options have significant limitations. Hair analysis, for example, will only show dietary mercury, typically from fish (methylmercury, MeHg) but it will not show mercury from dental fillings (inorganic mercury HgII).1

As for challenge testing, there are many disadvantages including:2,3

  • Lack of differentiation between MeHg and HgII
  • Can make a sick patient even sicker
  • Does not reflect long-term exposure
  • Lack of standardization of the challenge conditions
  • Does not elucidate patient’s ability to eliminate toxins
  • Results will vary including more false negatives in patients with renal insufficiency

Is there an answer? Actually, there is – to test hair, blood, and urine at the same time. Blood is the repository of the mercury, and hair and urine demonstrate how efficiently the patient is clearing the mercury. Patented mercury speciation testing now allows us to analyze this trifecta. In addition, the patient’s ability to excrete the two forms of mercury can also be quantified.

Thanks to this advanced technology, it’s now possible to measure ambient mercury levels of both MeHg and HgII in the body without the need for challenge testing. Known as the Mercury Tri-Test, this technology provides unprecedented information regarding the patient’s exposure sources, body burden, and excretion ability. This detailed information helps paint an informed picture that assists the clinician in creating a rational approach to successful detoxification. Developed by Quicksilver Scientific, the Mercury Tri-Test has now set a new global standard when it comes to evaluating and treating mercury exposure.

In addition to the Mercury Tri-Test, Quicksilver Scientific also offers a Blood Metals Panel screening that assesses levels of a broad range of nutrient and toxic metals in the blood. Nutrient elements evaluated include calcium, copper, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. Potential toxic elements evaluated include arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead, mercury, silver, and strontium. As imbalances of mineral pairs, especially copper-to-zinc ratios, can have a similar clinical presentation to heavy metal toxicity, and excess copper can have a synergistic effect with the heavy toxic metals, it is important to rule this out. This whole blood elemental metal analysis uses state-of-the-art inductively coupled plasma/mass spectroscopy.

Practitioners should focus on using tests that provide the most accurate and comprehensive information possible because to treat wisely is to test wisely.  

This information was brought to you by Quicksilver Scientific. All practitioners who register will receive wholesale pricing on all Quicksilver Scientific products.

About the Author

Christopher Shade, PhD, obtained bachelor of science and masters of science degrees 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 analytical chemistries of mercury. During his PhD work, Shade patented analytical technology for mercury speciation analysis and later founded Quicksilver Scientific, LLC, to commercialize this technology. Shortly after starting Quicksilver Scientific, Shade turned his focus to the human aspects of mercury toxicity and the functioning of the human detoxification system. He has since researched and developed superior liposomal delivery systems for the nutraceutical and wellness markets and also specific clinical analytical techniques for measuring human mercury exposure. He used his understanding of mercury and glutathione chemistry to design a unique system of products for detoxification that repairs and then maximizes the natural detoxification system.


  1. Nuttall KL. Review: interpreting hair mercury levels in individual patients. Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science. 2006;36(3):248-261.
  2. Frumkin H, Manning CC, Williams PL, et al. Diagnostic chelation challenge with DMSA: a biomarker of long-term mercury exposure. Enivorn Health Perspect. 2001;109(2):167-171.
  3. Ruha AM, Curry SC, Gerkin RD, et al. Urine mercury excretion following meso-dimercaptosuccinic acid challenge in fish eaters. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2009;133(1):87-92.