Carcinogenic Putrescine

Carcinogenic Putrescine
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Biogenic amines such as spermine, cadaverine, and putrescine are chemical compounds of decay that may have adverse health effects. Which foods are most contaminated: beer, blue cheese, feta cheese, kimchi, miso, sardines, sauerkraut, sausage, soy sauce, tempeh, tuna, or wine?

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I’ve talked in the past about the biogenic amines, like spermine and cadaverine, that can be formed in decomposing tissues. But a new review on the human toxicological effects of these substances in our diet suggests that putrescine may have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.

Putrescine is a chemical compound of decay that contributes to the smell of putrefying flesh, and the fishy odor of certain vaginal infections. But it’s found even in non-spoiled fish, meat, cheese, and fermented foods. We can’t stay away from it, though, unless we know which foods have the most.

Here’s a dozen commonly eaten foods they tested: beer, blue cheese, feta cheese, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, sardines, sausage, soy sauce, tempeh, tuna, and wine. Which do you think has the most? Sardines were runner-up, but the highest levels are found in tuna.

To stay away from putrescine, we should stay away from canned fish.

There’s a recommendation that we should try to stick under 40mg in a meal. So just a couple bites, a quarter of a serving of tuna, and we’re over the limit. But it would take two servings of sausages, or like ten beers, to approach the limit otherwise.

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 MaryAnn Allison.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to istockphoto; Patty Knutson; Simon Allardice via flickr and Michiel1972, Hohum, JJ Harrison, Sujit kumar, Mariuszjbie at Wikimedia commons. Images have been modified.

I’ve talked in the past about the biogenic amines, like spermine and cadaverine, that can be formed in decomposing tissues. But a new review on the human toxicological effects of these substances in our diet suggests that putrescine may have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.

Putrescine is a chemical compound of decay that contributes to the smell of putrefying flesh, and the fishy odor of certain vaginal infections. But it’s found even in non-spoiled fish, meat, cheese, and fermented foods. We can’t stay away from it, though, unless we know which foods have the most.

Here’s a dozen commonly eaten foods they tested: beer, blue cheese, feta cheese, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, sardines, sausage, soy sauce, tempeh, tuna, and wine. Which do you think has the most? Sardines were runner-up, but the highest levels are found in tuna.

To stay away from putrescine, we should stay away from canned fish.

There’s a recommendation that we should try to stick under 40mg in a meal. So just a couple bites, a quarter of a serving of tuna, and we’re over the limit. But it would take two servings of sausages, or like ten beers, to approach the limit otherwise.

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 MaryAnn Allison.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to istockphoto; Patty Knutson; Simon Allardice via flickr and Michiel1972, Hohum, JJ Harrison, Sujit kumar, Mariuszjbie at Wikimedia commons. Images have been modified.

Doctor's Note

Check out my other videos on carcinogens as well as my videos on putrescine.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Mercury Testing Recommended Before PregnancyHarvard’s Meat and Mortality StudiesDiet and Cellulite; and Tarragon Toxicity?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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