I began three yrs ago to avoid all swordfish because of the higher levels of Hg found within them. My favorite fish dish is chilean seabass and it has the same issue. What I found out from reading is that Hg contamination is not an issue in fish persay because all fishes also contain the antidote, namely selenium. Now when I go on a seabass or swordfish binge when I source it cheaply and buy it in bulk I go out and buy raw fresh brazil nuts because each nut has over 1000mgs of selenium in it. What do you do? Any other strategies to reduce Hg?
asked byThe_Quilt (25472)
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on March 05, 2011
at 07:48 PM
I don't eat a lot of fish to begin with, as even omega-3 PUFAs can be overdone. My one Achilles heel in this area is sashimi but the price is a good enough control there. I think it best to rely on ruminants high in sat fats for the bulk of my animal protein and I try not to be insane about eating fish that are becoming endangered, especially since I'm not living on the coast in the first place.
If you must continue eating fish high in the food chain, try limiting it to no more than 12 ounces per week, which is the official recommendation. A Google search verifies your information about selenium being antagonistic to mercury, with even the EPA making note of it (look on page 7). So yes, selenium in the diet would theoretically help. (Apparently fish are even a good source of it.) Apparently vitamin D and zinc help as well, along with several other nutrients.
Methylmercury eventually passes out of the body in urine and feces. The question isn't whether your body can get rid of it--it can--but what damage it will do while it is still in the body, especially in susceptible populations. If you have reason to believe you've consumed a larger than normal amount of methylmercury, DMSA is a known chelator of the compound and is available over the counter.
on April 02, 2011
at 09:38 PM
The obvious route is to avoid fish that are at the end of long food chains, such as sea bass.
That said, as I am eating considerable salmon, and for other issues, I rely on N-acetyl cysteine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1533084/
I take 600 mg on an empty stomach with lots of water EOD. There is danger of forming cysteine stones so it is important to keep well hydrated. Have heard of dosages as high as 1000 mg daily.
Be sure to footnote me in your new book . . . .