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A downward view of a tin filled with tuna

Heavy metal toxicity from tuna

April 9th, 2018

Tuna is making the headlines again…

If you love a tuna sandwich, a tuna steak or a thick piece of fluffy fish, this article is for you.

Recent studies have yet again confirmed that tuna fish contains high levels of metals of which could be dangerous for human consumption.

Metals such as:

  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Tin

Potentially, these metals can interfere with organ function and essential metabolic processes. Whilst our bodies require a certain amount of metallic compounds such as zinc, iron and copper, it has been revealed that the harmless looking tin of tuna in your kitchen cupboard could be a health hazard.

The symptoms of metal poisoning from tuna can be:

  • Fatigue
  • Digestive distress
  • Low mood
  • Sore joints
  • Blood sugar retention
  • Reduced concentration
  • Tingling sensations
  • Loss of balance
  • Serious health consequences such as – the risk of cancer, heart disease and even death

Studies show that some fish around the world contain dangerously high levels of mercury. Fish and shellfish live in increasingly polluted environments and toxins in the water accumulate in their bodies. Industrial mining and coal-fired power plants are the major source of mercury in the environment. Mercury is emitted into the air then it condenses and falls into the waterways.

A recent report in the magazine ’60 Millions Consumers’ warned the public about the dangers of eating certain canned tuna. In a study, 15 popular brands were tested, all the brands contained mercury, arsenic and cadmium but to different degrees. Three brands contained more than the regulatory amount of mercury. (1)

What the experts say…

Dr Mozaffarin, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy at Tufts University is quoted to have said, “The risks from mercury have been overhyped. Mercury can harm the developing nervous systems of fetuses and young children, according to the FDA. But when the agency warned pregnant women to limit consumption of high-mercury fish in 2004, it set off unnecessary panic for everyone else.” (2)

Dr Mozaffarian also said that fish is good for you and research has shown that fish may lower your risk of heart disease death. Evidence suggests that eating fish may also help combat stroke, obesity, cognitive decline, depression, cancer, inflammatory disorders and asthma. (2)

In the Men’s Health magazine, the Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman, Lauren Sucher said, “It would likely be safe for many men to eat tuna every day, while some men could experience symptoms of mercury toxicity from eating the same amount.” (MH)

In the same article, Dr Gochfield said that it was about getting a balance when eating fish. This includes taking into account:

  • The weight of the person affected
  • Whether they are overly sensitive to mercury
  • The type of tuna being consumed
  • The element of risk an individual is willing to take

Alan Aragon, nutrition advisor for Men’s Health, has said that it’s hard to know when mercury levels go from harmless to toxic, because to find out for sure you’d have to poison people. (4)

How do you know if you are eating too much fish?

We all know that there are some species of seafood that we should consume in moderation. If you wonder if you are eating too much tuna, or eating too much fish, this new tool produced by the EU helps you plan your eating habits. (5)

In conclusion…

It is evident, much like a lot of things, when eating tuna or any fish – do it in moderation. Just to be on the safe side.

If you do enjoy a lot of fish or you are concerned about heavy metal toxicity in your body, consider taking the supplement EDTA Pro or DMSA Pro.

EDTA – this is a chelating agent known for its potency. It works to remove heavy metals and mineral deposits from the tissues and organs.

EDTA Pro has malic acid and garlic added – malic acid is a natural substance found in fruit that boosts energy production, and garlic acts as a natural antioxidant and immunity booster.

DMSA – this is a known chelator of lead and mercury, famed for its potency. DMSA Pro allows us to take this in capsule form – using it regularly can help to lower the overall burden of these toxic metals in the body.

Did you know that some fish can suffer from depression?

Julian Pittman, a professor at Troy University in Alabama who has been working on investigating the links between fish and depression and new medications to treat this, has said that “The neurochemistry is so similar that it’s scary, but there is a lot we don’t give fish credit for.”

With recent studies showing that fish can be depressed, despite being simple organisms, there is promise that they could be a good animal model for new anti-depressant medications. Fish do show obvious signs of depression which helps, as the reliability of anti-depressants can be more easily seen and tested. Dr Pittman has been using the “novel test tank” for his research, whereby a zebrafish gets dropped into a new tank and depending on its behavious after 5 minutes, scientists can see whether it becomes depressed (by dropping to the lower half of the tank) or not (if it is behaving normally and exploring its new environment).

Those little zebrafish have been spared from polluting themselves with heavy metals, unlike the tuna that will go into your next sandwich!



Further Reading:

Heavy metals content of canned tuna fish: F.Emami Khansari. Et, Al :

Environmental Defence Fund/ Mercury alert: Is canned tuna safe? :


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