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