4

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Selenium versus Mercury

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 02, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Hey yall, i dont eat much fish. Wild caught salmon maybe 3-4 times a month, and sometimes salted anchovies, but thats about it. Always worried about mercury, and just generally love land animals, yknow. However i listened to a Healthy Skeptic podcast and read this article: http://www.naturalnews.com/026729_selenium_mercury_tuna.html and it does indeed seem that many of the dangerous-cuz-of-mercury fish have amounts of selenium that essentially cancel out the negatives of the mercury content. Thoughts?

(btw, im not a big big believe in most of what NaturalNews puts on their site but the article got me thinking)

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 27, 2011
at 11:32 PM

Furthermore, Chris, did you bother to Hannah's or quila's answers? Mercury in the diet is TRIVIAL, if not all but non-existent. I will repeat what I said above, and what it seems you also forgot to read, "Selenium may well cancel mercury, just as iodine does. There are other things that also cancel out mercury. It is not all unusual for one element (vitamin, mineral, hormone) to cancel out all kinds of potential harmful elements."

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 27, 2011
at 11:28 PM

I did NOT forget to read anything, Chris. It seems YOU have not looked at any of the very large number of views that I mentioned. Can you use Google?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 27, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Terrance: seems you forgot to read the full text http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/196/2/71/_pdf

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 27, 2011
at 05:56 PM

That "study" did not really have much in the way of details. The amount of mercury in smaller fish (salmon, etc) is very, very small. A large number of people who have lots of details say the benefits of eating these smaller fish vastly outweigh any potential problem. Eating salmon once or twice a week will not expose anyone to a mercury “risk”. Selenium may well cancel mercury, just as iodine does. There are other things that also cancel out mercury. It is not all unusual for one element (vitamin, mineral, hormone) to cancel out all kinds of potential harmful elements.

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4 Answers

3
C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on July 02, 2010
at 04:03 PM

You may be interested in some of the research that the Weston A. Price Foundation has about this issue. They heavily advocate shellfish and fish consumption for their high levels of fat soluble vitamins and mineral content. I once thought it best not to eat too much seafood because of the mercury risk, but apparently if your digestive flora is healthy and balanced it can actually metabolize the mercury.

I believe Sally Fallon of WAPF does state that dietary mercury is actually less problematic than environmental mercury for just that reason. There is an identified enzyme also, Methylmercury demethylase, that allows for a reduction in neurotoxicity caused by mercury. If you search for "mercury metabolism by gut flora" you will find many articles and studies about this issue, it seems to be an extremely complex process with possible harmful side effects as well as helpful effects.

This would be a great issue for anyone with medical/scientific backgrounds to chime in on. As far as Selenium canceling out the effects of the mercury, I have never seen this idea anywhere else, but it's interesting. I know of other examples where minerals that are bound to toxic compounds will chelate the toxin, I believe this happens with silica and aluminum.

I also believe that high levels of Vit A and D in the diet can protect the brain to some degree from mercury. A typical paleo or primal diet that is very heavy in animal fats should offer extra protection against mercury.

1
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 05, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I always add brazil nuts to my diet when I eat tuna or swordfish and seabass for this reason.

1
1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 03, 2010
at 01:17 AM

Heh.

Selenium canceling mercury, right.

This is wishful thinking based on some early literature suggesting on selenium and mercury interactions. Critical reviews of the literature generally suggest there is not much hope for this idea.

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 27, 2011
at 11:28 PM

I did NOT forget to read anything, Chris. It seems YOU have not looked at any of the very large number of views that I mentioned. Can you use Google?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 27, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Terrance: seems you forgot to read the full text http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/196/2/71/_pdf

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 27, 2011
at 05:56 PM

That "study" did not really have much in the way of details. The amount of mercury in smaller fish (salmon, etc) is very, very small. A large number of people who have lots of details say the benefits of eating these smaller fish vastly outweigh any potential problem. Eating salmon once or twice a week will not expose anyone to a mercury “risk”. Selenium may well cancel mercury, just as iodine does. There are other things that also cancel out mercury. It is not all unusual for one element (vitamin, mineral, hormone) to cancel out all kinds of potential harmful elements.

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 27, 2011
at 11:32 PM

Furthermore, Chris, did you bother to Hannah's or quila's answers? Mercury in the diet is TRIVIAL, if not all but non-existent. I will repeat what I said above, and what it seems you also forgot to read, "Selenium may well cancel mercury, just as iodine does. There are other things that also cancel out mercury. It is not all unusual for one element (vitamin, mineral, hormone) to cancel out all kinds of potential harmful elements."

0
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 27, 2011
at 08:28 AM

interesting topic indeed. there is a known gene defect/mutation that massively impairs mercury detoxification in the brain of certain people (and some autistic kids). those should probably indeed be cautious with the amount of fish they eat - especially tuna (has ~40x more Hg than salmon for example). "normal" people apparently are pretty efficient mercury "detoxifiers". i wouldn't be surprised if selenium helps a lot in this regard - or even prevent toxicity in the first place. after all, i'm not aware of any study that has ever been able to shown any mental or health problems for tribes that mainly live off sea fish, or even tuna. fish was always contaminated with mercury from natural sources - mercury contamination in the last 100 years has "only" risen around 2x as far as i know, which is not nice, but not dramatic either.

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