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New Corpse Smell

Compounds released from the putrefaction of flesh can cause a common form of seafood poisoning.

November 23, 2009 |
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Acknowledgements

Image thanks to naotakem.

Transcript

Then there are all sorts of really rare fish toxins, that can cause our muscles to break down. Guy ate some salmon, went to bed, and when he woke up he could hardly stand or hold up a cup of coffee. Not being able to walk is one thing, but no coffee? The key point? There are lots of toxins in fish, and they’re not affected by cooking.
Nobody in their right mind would eat poisonous puffer fish, but what if it was mislabeled as monkfish, causing these two recent cases of tetrodotoxin poisoning in Chicago.
Then there’s scombroid poisoning. Woman eats some mackerel at a restaurant and just collapses. When fish starts spoiling, toxins can be released—even when the fish still tastes and smells fine—and can cause what may actually be the most common cause of food poisoning from fish.
See when flesh decomposes, it releases chemicals that can have a toxic effect like putresine and cadaverine, which is the “new corpse smell” that they use to train cadaver-sniffing dogs. But it’s not just fish, when all carcasses rot you can get these decaying flesh compounds, including spermine, actually, which is what gives semen its characteristic odor, but it really depends just what kind of bacteria are involved in the putrefaction process.

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 veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on fish. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Diet and Cellulite 

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on fish. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!