Mercury in Vaccinations vs. Tuna

Mercury in Vaccinations vs. Tuna
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Balancing the risks and benefits of fish consumption.

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There have been been dozens of these risk-benefit analyses lately, looking at the nutrient and contaminant tradeoffs for fish. Now, fish consumption provides nutrients, but all fish also provide methylmercury, a known neurotoxin. The more fish we eat, the more omega–3s we get, but the more fish we eat, the more mercury we get, too. Mercury is a cardiac toxin as well. So while fish omega–3s are decreasing our risk of a heart attack, the mercury in that same fish is increasing our risk of having a heart attack. So, studies like this look through the various species. Salmon has less mercury than tuna, but tuna has less dioxin. As I mentioned last year, the only truly healthy fish in the world would be made out of dark green leafy vegetables.

Once upon a time, routine childhood vaccinations used a mercury-containing preservative called thimerisol. I was always surprised by parents who fed their kids tuna—yet, didn’t want vaccinations, because they didn’t want to expose their children to mercury. Eating a single serving of tuna, which is about half a can, is equivalent to getting injected with how many thimerisol-containing vaccines? One…hundred! A single serving of canned tuna.

Sure, dietary exposure to mercury may harm child development, but if we cut down on fish, the argument goes, we may get fewer omega-3s. So these researchers get out their calculators, and in a city about the size of New York, if pregnant mothers ate lots of fish, because omega-3s like DHA are so beneficial to brain development, we would expect to see an improvement in 209,000 years of children’s lives (what are called quality-adjusted life years). But at the same time, the mercury in that very same fish would damage 203,000 of children’s life years. So they do the math; it comes out positive by a hair, and we hear on the news such and such medical authority says the benefits outweigh the risks; eat fish.

Now, of course, this does not take into account the dioxins, the PCBs, which tip the scale the other way. But more importantly, why accept any risk at all? By getting DHA from plant sources, we can get all the benefit, with none of the risks. All the benefit, without the hundreds of thousands of life years of brain damage.

This isn’t unlike the dairy and calcium thing. Every time they come out with yet another study linking dairy consumption with something bad—cancer, Parkinson’s—they get out of saying “stop drinking milk” by ending the article with something like: “But one has to balance the risk of cancer, or diabetes (or whatever) with the risk of not getting enough calcium.” As if the only source of calcium on the planet were dairy. Where do you think the cows get it from in the first place? Plants. And the same thing with omega-3s like DHA. Where do you think the fish get it from? Plants. And we can, too—tiny little plants called golden algae.

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 Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

There have been been dozens of these risk-benefit analyses lately, looking at the nutrient and contaminant tradeoffs for fish. Now, fish consumption provides nutrients, but all fish also provide methylmercury, a known neurotoxin. The more fish we eat, the more omega–3s we get, but the more fish we eat, the more mercury we get, too. Mercury is a cardiac toxin as well. So while fish omega–3s are decreasing our risk of a heart attack, the mercury in that same fish is increasing our risk of having a heart attack. So, studies like this look through the various species. Salmon has less mercury than tuna, but tuna has less dioxin. As I mentioned last year, the only truly healthy fish in the world would be made out of dark green leafy vegetables.

Once upon a time, routine childhood vaccinations used a mercury-containing preservative called thimerisol. I was always surprised by parents who fed their kids tuna—yet, didn’t want vaccinations, because they didn’t want to expose their children to mercury. Eating a single serving of tuna, which is about half a can, is equivalent to getting injected with how many thimerisol-containing vaccines? One…hundred! A single serving of canned tuna.

Sure, dietary exposure to mercury may harm child development, but if we cut down on fish, the argument goes, we may get fewer omega-3s. So these researchers get out their calculators, and in a city about the size of New York, if pregnant mothers ate lots of fish, because omega-3s like DHA are so beneficial to brain development, we would expect to see an improvement in 209,000 years of children’s lives (what are called quality-adjusted life years). But at the same time, the mercury in that very same fish would damage 203,000 of children’s life years. So they do the math; it comes out positive by a hair, and we hear on the news such and such medical authority says the benefits outweigh the risks; eat fish.

Now, of course, this does not take into account the dioxins, the PCBs, which tip the scale the other way. But more importantly, why accept any risk at all? By getting DHA from plant sources, we can get all the benefit, with none of the risks. All the benefit, without the hundreds of thousands of life years of brain damage.

This isn’t unlike the dairy and calcium thing. Every time they come out with yet another study linking dairy consumption with something bad—cancer, Parkinson’s—they get out of saying “stop drinking milk” by ending the article with something like: “But one has to balance the risk of cancer, or diabetes (or whatever) with the risk of not getting enough calcium.” As if the only source of calcium on the planet were dairy. Where do you think the cows get it from in the first place? Plants. And the same thing with omega-3s like DHA. Where do you think the fish get it from? Plants. And we can, too—tiny little plants called golden algae.

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 Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For more on mercury contamination in fish:

And check out my other videos on fish

For more context, see my blog post: Mercury Testing Recommended Before Pregnancy.

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

29 responses to “Mercury in Vaccinations vs. Tuna

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  1. i wish i had found this before i fell pregnant – am 8 months along now but better late than never! Am really enjoying your website – thankyou.




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  2. Saw you speak at the NHA convention, really enjoyed your style of delivering a very important message. I’m here at the Regency health spa detoxing from sugar and aspartame.




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  3. They still have mercury in vaccines. Is that a concern? I assume you are a proponent of vaccines, that the protection outweighs the risks? (Even though vaccines are not technically vegan.)




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    1. No. The amount of methylmercury in vaccines is so low the harm can’t even be calculated. There have been plenty of studies and no evidence of harm has been found.




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    1. No. It has to do with the dose. Organic mercury is very well absorbed by the GI tract. The amount of injected mercury has to be compared to the amount in food such as fish. Also consuming fish which is the greatest source of mercury in the diet comes along with other contaminants such as dioxin, insecticides and even drugs. You might view videos on fish to see the extent of this problem. Mercury is best avoided.




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  4. Hi Doc,

    I was just wondering if you exercise any scientific skepticism when reading the literature for your videos? Do you wait a little while to see what comes out of the post-publication review of the articles? Just because there is a single study with a certain result does not mean that it reflects the direction of the literature. Just curious as to what methods you use.




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  5. Hi Doc

    I was just reading about thimerosal. The mercury in thimerosal is an inorganic ethyl mercury as opposed to the methyl mercury in tuna. Isn’t ethyl mercury processed more easily by the body. If that is the case, is it even fair to compare thimerosal and tuna?




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  6. Enjoying every topics as they are presented by Dr Greger with finest and a real passion. Any insight on tinnitus relief? Thank you for any suggestions that might reduced tinnitus by even a decibel. Claire




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  7. i have a vaccine related question…i am the caregiver for my sister who is mentally retarded. I am generally opposed to the flu vaccine for myself and any otherwise healthy individual. (i have been whole food, plant based for over 3 years). I believe that prevention is the way to go. Having said that, I feel very conflicted about not vaccinating my sister. She eats my diet when at home but spends time with other family, as well as in the community, where she engages in a SAD diet. She lost her spleen in an accident and that is what causes me worry. My question is wouldn’t the susceptibility she has to contracting the flu also indicate that she would be at higher risk of having a bad reaction to the flu vaccine??? She had a fairly recent bout (Jan 2014) with sepsis where she was in critical condition. Thank you for any light you can shine on the subject.




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  8. Dear Dr. Greger,

    Do you believe there are situations when vaccinations are advisable?

    Some people who identify with natural medicine claim that vaccinations often cause more harm than good, such as as leading to autism. While there have been scientific studies which maintain that vaccines are not a cause of autism: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X14006367.

    How does a lay person go about sifting through the perspectives and research in order to have an accurate understanding of this topic?




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    1. Vaccines have not been proven to cause autism. A recent study has concluded that the leading cause of autism is actually oxygen deprivation before birth, in the third trimester (which was my case; I had an umbilical cord wrapped around my neck). http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20110711/birth-complications-linked-to-autism

      But even so, I don’t see how autism could be worse than getting Measles or Smallpox. Lets weigh the risks here;

      Communication deficits, issues in social interaction, and repetitive or restricted behaviors and interests VS. Almost certain death.




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    1. Robert: re: low sound
      FYI: If you look to the right of the upper video, you can see that this video comes from “volume 2” of the DVD series. Videos from early DVDs have this low volume problem. Happily, whatever technical problem had been involved, has been figured out and all new videos have good volume.

      I just thought you would want to know that the problem affects more than just this one video, and is a known one.

      I’m glad you see some good value with this video. Me too!




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  9. To quote Dr. Jack Wolfson: “please show me the study that found 69 doses of 16 vaccines do not cause cancer, auto-immune disease, and brain injury.”
    Must get informed about vaccination from reliable sources, like:
    VaccineImpact.com
    There is a huge difference in harm when one ingests mercury and when it is injected directly into blood. It is sad and disruptive to see doctors without any expertise interpreting data.
    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/050473_Dr_Jack_Wolfson_medical_witch_hunt_vaccine_risks.html#ixzz3gwfgcDkm




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    1. I agree. What independent studies show that vaccinations are safe? I can tell you since their inception: NONE. End of story this is a follow the money story. The racket protection surrounding the Big Pharma is quite extraordinary.




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      1. Hi I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. I believe Dr. Greger will be posting videos regarding the benefits and risks of vaccinations in the near future (upcoming few weeks to months). Stay tuned to see what his science-based recommendations are! I’m very curious to see what he’ll have to say!




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  10. Drug manufacturers label their products will all the active and inactive ingredients. They do not similarly label their immunization agents. In addition, some immunization agents are made with the help of animals that are kept in captivity. The animals may be slaughtered. The animals may be made to suffer. Information about how the immunization products are made is often quite difficult to come by. Unless I have information that an immunization product is made only from plant products or mineral products, I have to assume that the product in not suitable for someone who wishes to avoid complicity in causing harm or suffering to animals, that is, not suitable for a vegan.




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  11. Dr. Please help. My son has been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia. its been about a month since our diagnosis. They want my whole family to get the FLU SHOT. I have not been vaccinating any of my kids for the past two years since i have gone vegan and honestly i need some professional guidance. i research but hardly anything shows for his disease and vaccinations or flu shot. please help. where do i turn?




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  12. Hi Doc,
    just wondering what you thought about this….. Do you think injecting a tiny little bit of mercury, in vaccines over 70 times, along with all the aluminum in them, plus polysorbate 80 that opens up the blood-brain barrier for that synergetic combination of thimerosal and aluminum is less harmful than eating tuna which goes through the natural elimination and detox system?




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