Mercury and Fish- What are the Facts?

Exposure in the womb to mercury from the fish the mother is eating or the store in her body, has detrimental effects on ...

 

As most of my patients know, I am very concerned about the amount of mercury in fish and its effect on human health. Mercury is now associated with many diseases including lupus and autoimmune thyroid conditions as well as IQ damage and epilepsy in children.

Exposure in the womb to mercury from the fish the mother is eating or the store in her body, has detrimental effects on the IQ of the child as multiple studies have shown. Most recently mercury exposure in children is associated with epilepsy.

In addition, flame retardants such as PBDE have been found in fish living in areas as isolated as the Arctic.

I was going to put together a list of articles and papers that document all these things. However, I recently discovered that my good friend Michael Greger M.D. put this information together with full references in 2 videos on his nutritionfacts.org website. So I want to share those videos with you here!

Fish (51K)With regards to pregnancy, DHA, an essential fatty acid is very important for the brain development of the child in uterus. There are one or two articles which look at the relative benefit of eating fish because it contains DHA, and compares it with net loss of IQ in the child because of the mercury in the fish that the mother was eating.

For me, there is something intrinsically wrong with this logic. Vegan sources of DHA are readily available as pills. So why would a mother eat fish during her pregnancy just to give the child DHA, when she knows she’s exposing the infant mercury which is going to harm the IQ of the child? She can easily not eat fish, and take one of dozens of vegan sources of DHA that are readily available in the market.

The other issue which is not addressed in the medical literature at all yet, and which I hope will soon be addressed there is the body burden of the mother with mercury and other toxins. For women who eat fish regularly before pregnancy, the mercury accumulates in their organs and muscles. But then it comes out during pregnancy and goes into the fetus. This is another way the fetus can be exposed to mercury.

The important thing to understand is that the fetus has no blood – brain barrier, and so all the mercury in the blood, circulates through the child’s brain and nervous system during pregnancy.

Mercury can easily be cleaned out of the woman before she conceives so she does not contribute this burden to the child in the womb as well as avoiding fish during the pregnancy itself.

Imagine a mother who is cleaned out of mercury and perhaps other toxins as well, along with taking DHA during pregnancy! The benefits for the child’s IQ can be enormous! From my perspective with the way of the world today, we need a lot of very bright children to solve the problems we have.

The sad part about all this is that the obstetricians who are caring for the women during pregnancy by and large are not even aware of this issue. In fact, many of them are probably recommending fish to women during pregnancy to get the DHA.

Please share this information with your friends and relatives who are soon to get pregnant or who are pregnant now.

And read this article entitled “Salmon May Be the Greatest Source of Dietary Pollutants”, before you give your children salmon for dinner tonight!

Please watch these videos and let me know what you think.

The first video is entitled “The Problem with Organic Salmon”

The second video reviews the data of the information I mentioned above about the benefits of DHA versus the damage from the Mercury on children’s IQ.

References:

Fish consumption during child bearing age: a quantitative risk-benefit analysis on neurodevelopment
Dose-response relationship of prenatal mercury exposure and IQ
Relationship between the prenatal exposure to low-level of mercury and the size of a newborn’s cerebellum.
Evidence on the human health effects of low-level methylmercury exposure
Abnormal neuronal migration, deranged cerebral cortical organization, and diffuse white matter astrocytosis of human fetal brain: a major effect of methylmercury poisoning in utero.
Functional MRI approach to developmental methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyl neurotoxicity.
Reducing the staggering costs of environmental disease in children, estimated at $76.6 billion in 2008.
Sensitivity of continuous performance test (CPT) at age 14 years to developmental methylmercury exposure
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Image credit: Sharon Mollerus /Flickr

Dr. Soram Singh Khalsa, M.D.

Dr. Soram Khalsa is an internist in Beverly Hills, California and is affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He specializes in Internal Medicine and Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition.

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