Image Credit: LouisvilleUSACE / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Lead Poisoning Risk from Venison

The reason animal products trigger inflammation in the body within hours of consumption is thought to be due to the residual bacterial toxins that survive the cooking process (as l detailed in my blog post How Does Meat Cause Inflammation). The saturated animal fat then helps ferry these endotoxins across the gut wall into our bloodstream. The research team concluded “while the most obvious solution to metabolic endotoxemia appears to be to reduce saturated fat intake, the Western diet is not conducive to this mode of action, and it is difficult for patients to comply with this request.” Thus, researchers have looked to wild animals for less inflammatory meat options.

Wild pheasants, for example, have been found to have significantly less saturated fat than farmed pheasants, so one would assume wild pheasant meat would trigger less inflammation. This concept wasn’t put to the test until recently, though. In my 3-min. video Modern Meat Not Ahead of the Game I profile a study performed by a group of Australian researchers that compared the amount of inflammation triggered by domesticated animal meat to wild kangaroo meat.

They found that eating kangaroos did trigger an inflammatory response, but not as much as the store-brought meat. This would suggest that venison, for example, would cause less inflammation than chicken, but the way in which the deer is killed makes a difference. See my 2-min. video Filled Full of Lead for the results of a study that raised food safety concerns about conventional ammunition.

Note, lead has also been found in protein powder supplementsayervedic medicine supplements, and other animal products. Like mercury in tuna, no level of lead consumption can be considered safe.

For more depth, the inflammatory effects of animal foods are explored in my 3-part video series:

Most whole plant foods are anti-inflammatory. See, for example:

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

4 responses to “Lead Poisoning Risk from Venison

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  1. Dr. Greger. I love this blog post, because 1) it reminds me of information I had before and had mostly forgotten, and 2) helps make sense of the information. The individual videos are great, but these blog posts help pull it all together and provide an even higher level of understanding for the big picture and even for the points of the individual videos. Much appreciated. Thanks!

  2. Interesting. Below are a couple of webpages from State of Michigan, which recommends that “children under 6 years of age and women of childbearing age avoid eating venison that has been shot with lead bullets, as these
    are the projectiles that fragment the greatest and may be found a distance from the wound channel.on dangers of Pb in wildlife”. Venison killed by arrow or no-lead ammunition is less likely to be contaminated with lead, though I suppose small amounts could be ingested in highly contaminated areas? Birds with a crop for grinding or storing food are most at risk, because ingested lead bits are retained.,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26676–,00.html,4570,7-153-10363_10856_10905-197557–,00.html

    Some hunters and anglers are required to use non-lead ammunition and jigs/sinkers.

  3. The image above should be an adult buck, which is what is mostly hunted. No one shoots fawns (illegal, actually), so it’s a misrepresentation and probably was used to solicit an, “Awwww…don’t shoot Bambi!” emotional reaction. Not in good taste for a science-based website.

  4. Beyond lead in venison, I would be very interested in Dr. Gregor’s thoughts on the spread of chronic wasting disease. It is spreading relentlessly across the United Stars. Dr. Gregor was very knowledgeable about the BSE epidemic. CWD appears to be even harder to contain and some experimental work with macaques has shown the possibility of it crossing the species barrier to humans. Thoughts, Dr. Gregor?

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