How to Detect and Avoid Mercury Poisoning

Fish is something almost everyone loves to eat. No matter if you eat it baked, smoked or raw (sushi), fish is an important source of nutrients that brings flavor to our lives and health into our body – if eaten properly.

mercury poisoning info

All communities on the globe consume a certain amount of fish. But even so, it can still become the source of mercury poisoning if eaten in excess. However, you can reduce the risk of mercury poisoning without giving up on fish entirely.

Mercury Poisoning Through Fish

It is not that fish naturally develop mercury within their bodies, but they are still exposed, and thus, make you exposed as well. Fish usually get contaminated with mercury because of the pollution levels emitted by coal-burning factories around lakes, rivers and factories. The fish ends up absorbing the mercury through “bioaccumulation.” This process means that the mercury travels from one organism to another as it goes through the food chain. Bigger fish eat the smaller ones, and the mercury spreads. Once a predatory fish eats more and more small fish, the mercury starts accumulating in their body in higher amounts.

Predatory fish are more likely to have a higher mercury level, and these include tuna, mackerel, swordfish, pike, walleye and freshwater bass.

Why is Mercury Poisoning so Dangerous?

Fish aren’t that exposed to the health hazards of mercury poisoning since they can absorb it. The problem starts when it moves onto humans. There have been reported cases of hospitalization and deaths caused by mercury poisoning.

There have been many breakouts of mercury poisoning throughout Japan in the 1950’s. Since the Minamata Bay was polluted by the toxic mercury waste released by the Chisso Corporation, the ecosystem absorbed it and once consumed by the humans, it led to the deaths of over 1,000 people. Many fetuses were also affected, as their mothers were also exposed to mercury.

The symptoms of mercury poisoning would usually include:

  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness and twitching
  • Coordination loss
  • Hearing and speech impairment

You need to keep your mercury levels low in order to avoid any mercury poisoning.

How to Avoid Mercury Poisoning

The best way to avoid this problem would not necessarily have to include giving up fish, but to choose which one you eat. Go for foods that have low mercury levels and avoid the ones that have high levels.

The best choices for fish would be the smaller ones, that do not make a diet out of eating smaller fish. Since they don’t consume as much food, they are less likely to have a mercury buildup that can prove dangerous for you. Such fish are catfish, cod, tilapia, and salmon. Also, you ought to also consume foods with chelating compounds like turmeric, chlorella, garlic, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts. They will attach to the mercury in your blood and will help remove it by means of waste.

Combine some low-mercury fish with these foods, and keep calm knowing that you will be safe from mercury poisoning.

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