A Fine Kettle of Fluoxetine

A Fine Kettle of Fluoxetine
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Excreted pharmaceutical drugs, such as Prozac, can end up polluting our waterways, and may bioaccumulate in fish flesh.

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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? Well, 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 New York safety standards.

The concern is bioaccumulation. Does it build up 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 at levels higher than that found in the surrounding water.

But, before one considers eating fish to improve their 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 Nurse’s Study—and their findings “do not support a protective effect of long chain [omega 3s] 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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? Well, 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 New York safety standards.

The concern is bioaccumulation. Does it build up 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 at levels higher than that found in the surrounding water.

But, before one considers eating fish to improve their 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 Nurse’s Study—and their findings “do not support a protective effect of long chain [omega 3s] 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to National Geographic and Alejandro Ramirez.

Doctor's Note

The earlier video I refer to in this one is Prozac Residues in Fish. Researchers have also found evidence of Prozac in poultry; see Prozac in Poultry Is Better Than Penicillin. Despite the contaminants, tap water is still likely better; see Bottled Water vs. Tap. A better way to avoid unwanted drugs may be to cut back on meat (see Drug Residues in Meat) and dairy (see The Acne-Promoting Effects of Milk), and transition to a more plant-based diet (see Say No to Drugs by Saying Yes to More Plants)—which, for reasons other than the ALA mentioned in the video, may also improve mood (see Improving Mood Through Diet). And, I didn’t mean to suggest caffeine is necessarily deleterious to health; check out What About the Caffeine? 

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

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