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A Fine Kettle of Fluoxetine

Excreted pharmaceutical drugs such as Prozac can end up polluting our waterways and may bioaccumulate in fish flesh.

May 24, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Transcript

The source for the New York City water supply was recently tested for the occurrence of pharmaceutical and personal care products. As I talked about in one of my previous videos, many of the drugs we take are excreted in our urine and can end up polluting our waterways.

 What about New York City? They found trace amounts of drugs like Tylenol, ibuprofen, stimulants like nicotine, caffeine; hormones like estrone and testosterone, some antibiotics, a barbiturate, valium. The levels they found were extremely low, though, well under the NY safety standards.

Now some may question the standards. Like the caffeine standard was set at 50 mg a liter—you could get 50mg drinking a half cup of coffee and lots of people drink a lot more than a half a cup, so they understandably consider that level safe. And again, none of the drugs even got close to the limits.

The concern, is bioaccumulation. Does it buildup in the flesh of fish swimming in it. Well, in a national study of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in fish, they did find, for example, Prozac metabolites in fish fillets levels higher than found in the surrounding water, but before you consider eating fish to improve your mood, know that these drugs are mostly concentrated in the brains of fish and a recent Harvard study looked at fish consumption and depression--the Harvard Nurses Study-- and their findings “do not support a protective effect of long chain omega 3;s from fish on depression risk, though they do support the hypothesis that higher ALA, the plant-based omega 3 found in flaxseeds and walnuts may reduce depression risk.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena Mylchreest

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

The earlier video I refer to in this one is Prozac Residues in Fish. Researchers have also found evidence of Prozac levels in Poultry Products. Despite the contaminants, tap water is still likely better than bottled. A better way to avoid unwanted drugs may be to cut back on meat and dairy and transition to a more plant-based diet, which, for reasons other than the ALA mentioned in the video, may also improve mood. And I didn't mean to suggest caffeine is necessarily deleterious to health—check out What About the Caffeine? Feel free to also browse through the other 1,000+ topics covered here at NutritionFacts.org

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Mercury Testing Recommended Before Pregnancy and Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk and  How To Reduce Dietary Antibiotic Intake

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    The earlier video I refer to in this one is Prozac Residues in Fish. Researchers have also found evidence of Prozac levels in poultry products. Despite the contaminants, tap water is still likely better than bottled. A better way to avoid unwanted drugs may be to cut back on meat and dairy and transition to a more plant-based diet, which, for reasons other than the ALA mentioned in the video, may also improve mood. And I didn’t mean to suggest caffeine is necessarily deleterious to health—check out What About the Caffeine? Feel free to also browse through the other 1,000+ topics covered here at NutritionFacts.org

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

       The first link is broken: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/a-fine-kettle-of-fluoxetine

      It should be
      http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf/quality/nyc_dep_2009_ppcp_report.pdf

      Please feel free to delete my post after the link is corrected.

      • Michael Greger M.D.

         Thank you so much Tan–corrected!

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Even though we cut off their (Salmon) way back home by building damn’s at least they won’t be depressed about it.  Comon’, you knew that was coming!
      Again more fodder to feed my patients about the benefits of plants and the benefits of letting the fish live their “natural” undepressed lives;-}

  • Eric

    Now fluoride is dumped into our drinking water and fluoride slightly(?) reduces thyroid function – dito for fluoride toothpaste.  People I know claim that having gone from fluoride free toothpaste to fluoride ones resulted in less energy and napping until their thyroid (T4) meds were increased.  What science is there behind this?

    • Toxins

       Here is Dr. Greger’s position on fluoride

      “The proposed EPA
      changes to water fluoridation have sparked a resurgence of many of the
      old anti-fluoridation arguments, which as far as I can tell were
      successfully debunked over
      50 years ago. According to the CDC, fluoridation of drinking water
      joins vaccination (another unjustly vilified practice) as one of the greatest public health achievements in the last last century.”

  • Stefan Juhl M.D.

    What a great food fish is – you get your mercury, lead, dioxin, nuclear waste and now prescription drugs! Everything your body needs……. THIS IS GROTESK! Luckily the postman delivered my DEVA DHA today.

  • Randy

    Great information. Once again a wise nutritionalist would seem to place his  emphasis on plant based  sources of Omega 3′s or their precursors instead of animal/fish derivatives.

    Just curious if many of these pollutant drugs are eliminated in the purification production of fish oil capsules, from certain manufacturers.

    Thank you.

  • Mark

    Just wanted to correct you on the NYS Standard for caffeine (0:50) – 50,000 ng/L is equal to 50 micrograms per litre. So, 0.05 mg/L – well below physiological response. I still wouldn’t want micrograms/L of some of the other compounds though.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

       Thank you so so much! I’ve rerecorded and re-uploaded the video to correct the egregious error (what’s 3 orders of magnitude between friends :). As is customary, anyone finding any errors on the site are awarded a free DVD of their choice (http://www.drgreger.org/DVDs). Please just email me your mailing address to mhg1@cornell.edu and I’ll get it right off. I really appreciate your letting me know and encourage you to keep help me keep the site as scientifically rigorous as possible!

  • sebastian

    i like pie