Pollutants in Salmon & Our Own Fat

Pollutants in Salmon & Our Own Fat
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Farmed Atlantic salmon, the kind of salmon most commonly found in restaurants and supermarkets, may be the single largest source of toxic dietary pollutants.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

This nationwide study, linking industrial toxins and diabetes, was published in 2006. Since then, Harvard researchers reported a link between persistent pollutants, like hexachlorobenzene, and diabetes in their Nurses’ Health Study. This is supported by an analysis they did of “six other…studies” published since 2006 that showed the same thing. They conclude that “past accumulation and continued exposure [to] these persistent pollutants may be a potent risk factor for developing diabetes.”

Where is hexachlorobenzene found? In a U.S. supermarket survey, salmon and sardines were most heavily tainted with hexachlorobenzene, with salmon “the most contaminated food” of all—especially farmed salmon, perhaps “the greatest, source of dietary [pollutants],” averaging nearly ten times the PCB load of wild-caught salmon.

But, wait a second. Since many of these [chemicals] were banned in the 70s, the levels inside people’s bodies have been going down, whereas the rates of diabetes have been shooting straight up. So, how could pollutant exposures be causing diabetes?

“This puzzle may be explained by the epidemic of obesity in the U.S.” They showed that “the association between [these toxins] and diabetes was much stronger among obese subjects compared [to] that of lean subjects. As people get fatter, the retention and toxicity of [pollutants] related to the risk of diabetes may increase.”

So, we’re not just exposed eating the fat of other animals; our own fat can be “a continuous source of internal exposure because [these persistent pollutants] are slowly but continuously released from [our own fat stores into our] circulation.”

And, they don’t call them persistent pollutants for nothing. These chemicals have such a long half-life that people “consuming regular (even [just] monthly) meals of [farmed] salmon…might [not only] consume high concentrations of [pollutants], but some of these [chemicals] might take between 50 and 75 years to clear from the body.”

What about the mercury in fish? Diabetics do seem to have higher mercury levels in their body. Here’s the mercury levels in hair samples from healthy people; here’s the levels in patients with diabetes or hypertension. But, mercury alone does not seem to increase diabetes risk. It may be the simultaneous exposure to both dioxins and mercury that increases risk. So, “[i]t should concern us that the [safety] limits for [dioxins and mercury individually] may underestimate the…risk” when they’re consumed together in seafood.

And then, once we get diabetes, higher pollutant levels “may be associated with [a] higher risk of [diabetic] complications.”

So, while the pharmaceutical industry works on coming up with drugs to help mediate the impact of these pollutants, a better strategy might be to not get so polluted in the first place.

Unfortunately, because we’ve so polluted our world, we can’t escape exposure completely. We’ve got to eat something. But, some foods are more contaminated than others. “[E]xposure to these pollutants comes primarily from the consumption of animal fat,” with the highest levels “found in fatty fish,” like salmon. “[F]armed Atlantic salmon” [may be] the single largest…source of [these pollutants].” And, that’s the kind of salmon you “most commonly find in [supermarkets] and restaurants.”

You hear about advisories warning “pregnant women…to avoid the consumption of food containing elevated levels of [pollutants and mercury].” But, since these toxins “bio-accumulate in the body for many years,…restricting the exposure to these pollutants only during pregnancy would not protect the foetus or…future generations against the harmful effects of these hazardous chemicals.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Photos by Mavis via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

This nationwide study, linking industrial toxins and diabetes, was published in 2006. Since then, Harvard researchers reported a link between persistent pollutants, like hexachlorobenzene, and diabetes in their Nurses’ Health Study. This is supported by an analysis they did of “six other…studies” published since 2006 that showed the same thing. They conclude that “past accumulation and continued exposure [to] these persistent pollutants may be a potent risk factor for developing diabetes.”

Where is hexachlorobenzene found? In a U.S. supermarket survey, salmon and sardines were most heavily tainted with hexachlorobenzene, with salmon “the most contaminated food” of all—especially farmed salmon, perhaps “the greatest, source of dietary [pollutants],” averaging nearly ten times the PCB load of wild-caught salmon.

But, wait a second. Since many of these [chemicals] were banned in the 70s, the levels inside people’s bodies have been going down, whereas the rates of diabetes have been shooting straight up. So, how could pollutant exposures be causing diabetes?

“This puzzle may be explained by the epidemic of obesity in the U.S.” They showed that “the association between [these toxins] and diabetes was much stronger among obese subjects compared [to] that of lean subjects. As people get fatter, the retention and toxicity of [pollutants] related to the risk of diabetes may increase.”

So, we’re not just exposed eating the fat of other animals; our own fat can be “a continuous source of internal exposure because [these persistent pollutants] are slowly but continuously released from [our own fat stores into our] circulation.”

And, they don’t call them persistent pollutants for nothing. These chemicals have such a long half-life that people “consuming regular (even [just] monthly) meals of [farmed] salmon…might [not only] consume high concentrations of [pollutants], but some of these [chemicals] might take between 50 and 75 years to clear from the body.”

What about the mercury in fish? Diabetics do seem to have higher mercury levels in their body. Here’s the mercury levels in hair samples from healthy people; here’s the levels in patients with diabetes or hypertension. But, mercury alone does not seem to increase diabetes risk. It may be the simultaneous exposure to both dioxins and mercury that increases risk. So, “[i]t should concern us that the [safety] limits for [dioxins and mercury individually] may underestimate the…risk” when they’re consumed together in seafood.

And then, once we get diabetes, higher pollutant levels “may be associated with [a] higher risk of [diabetic] complications.”

So, while the pharmaceutical industry works on coming up with drugs to help mediate the impact of these pollutants, a better strategy might be to not get so polluted in the first place.

Unfortunately, because we’ve so polluted our world, we can’t escape exposure completely. We’ve got to eat something. But, some foods are more contaminated than others. “[E]xposure to these pollutants comes primarily from the consumption of animal fat,” with the highest levels “found in fatty fish,” like salmon. “[F]armed Atlantic salmon” [may be] the single largest…source of [these pollutants].” And, that’s the kind of salmon you “most commonly find in [supermarkets] and restaurants.”

You hear about advisories warning “pregnant women…to avoid the consumption of food containing elevated levels of [pollutants and mercury].” But, since these toxins “bio-accumulate in the body for many years,…restricting the exposure to these pollutants only during pregnancy would not protect the foetus or…future generations against the harmful effects of these hazardous chemicals.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Photos by Mavis via flickr

Doctor's Note

If you missed the first two videos in this three-part series, I reviewed the existing links between seafood and diabetes risk in Fish & Diabetes. And, I explored the concept of our own body fat as a reservoir for disease-causing pollutants in Diabetes & Dioxins.

More on hexachlorobenzene in Food Sources of Perfluorochemicals.

Our body has a tougher time getting rid of some toxins than others:

The best way to detox is to stop toxing in the first place.

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

60 responses to “Pollutants in Salmon & Our Own Fat

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  1. If Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) are such a risk, are there any naturally occurring foods that can help to “chealate” these compounds from our bodies, or is the only recourse available to us one of avoidance to keep from exasperating the problem?

    Most people haven’t spent their lives eating an organically grown WFPB diet. While it’s never to late to adopt such a diet, it would be great if something could be done to address our existing toxic loads.

    1. No foods itself clean the body, the body does it itself, the easier and faster to digest food you eat( ripe fruits being the best) the more your body have energy to clean itself, thats why water fasting is the most powerfull~

      1. I have tried a short water fast, four days, but that was years ago, unsupervised and difficult because I continued on with my normal work routine which from what I’ve read is the wrong way to go. Rest is best.

        There is a lot of scuttlebutt about an observation by a Japanese dentist that cilantro increases the excretion of mercury, but the only research study that I could find that made mention of it said that there was limited evidence to support the hypothesis which is a bit disappointing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654245/

        I’ve been putting fresh chopped organic cilantro and lemon juice in my salads because I like it, and I figured it couldn’t do any harm. I was so hoping that there would be something that was natural and efficacious as a cleanser, but I guess eating lots of organic greens, fruits and vegetables are as good as it gets.

        1. Increasing the amount of sweat the body excretes seems like it correspondingly increases the release of heavy metals, according to this systematic review in the journal of environmental and public health: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/184745/

          This may be one of the beneficial factors of exercise. Also, sweating in a sauna (shown to help heart failure patients http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2359619/) or taking a daily hot bath may help.

          Anything that supports the body’s excretory systems like drinking more filtered water, eating more fiber (or broccoli: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-best-detox/) increases the rate of toxin removal.

          1. Great post! The second study I could not link but the first is super interesting! Thanks so much for sharing!

            1. Joseph, is the data and science on wild caught alaskan salmon relevant to all the studies and videos Dr. G has given us over the years, as far as reasons to avoid fish? Is wild caught salmon really a big issue over PCB’s, etc.? I can not find any data ( i have tried) suggesting that wild caught salmon should be of concern, health wise, but am open to avoiding it completely if someone can show me anything negative about it. Sure, it has some pollutants in it, but they seem almost insignificant if wild caught salmon is only eaten in moderation. Thank you for any enlightening you can do on this for me and others.

              1. mich run: Some thoughts for you: Even if you can find salmon that is guaranteed to be contamination-free (which I don’t believe exists – but for the sake of argument…), then you are still left with a product that is filled with cholesterol, saturated fat and animal protein. That’s a combination of nutrients with with plenty of scientific evidence saying that it is not generally healthy. As you may know, many of the hundreds and hundreds of videos and studies mentioned on this site go to supporting the idea that animal foods, regardless of contamination level increase disease risk.

                So, if you are going to eat fish moderately, then it is a question of defining what it would mean to practice moderation for fish eating. People have very different understandings of that term and how to apply it to various foods. In my opinion, the only definition which makes sense is that amount which does not promote disease or for which we are comfortable with the disease risk. When it comes to fish, I think about the traditional Okinawan diet, which has produced some of the healthiest people on the planet. The traditional Okinawan diet had less than 4% animal products (meat, dairy and eggs). Out of the 4%, 1% was fish (likely uncontaminated fish back then I would think). So, maybe some salmon making up 1-4% of your calories (assuming no other animal food intake) would be a good definition of moderate. In other words, it would be a very, very small amount to be eaten occasionally.

                What do you think?

                1. I think you have mentioned some really good points. But I also think that there are cultures that ingest more than 4 % of calories of “clean fish”, and seem to fair fine (in spite of fish, perhaps.) But, for someone who might want to occasionally eat fish, I can not find data that suggests that small servings, occasionally, of wild caught alaskan salmon pose any significant health issues regarding PCB’s, other toxins, or heavy metals. All the negative and harmful data seems to be on higher consumption, whether farmed raised or not, and where in the world they are caught, even if wild fish. The data simply can not be found, at this point, BUT……I WOULD LOVE if someone knew of negative data out there for the small serving, occasional eater of wild caught alaskan salmon, data that suggests avoiding. If so, I will completely avoid this, as might others, but for now the data shows no reason to.

                  1. If information regardless of how limited but which provide definitive conclusion is suggesting risk factors why would want to eat it at all?
                    Thanks for this information. I’ve suffered with diabetes for a number of year and has always exercised rigorusly. Tip top athlete all my life even after acquiring this dreadful illness. However, learning of this information sheds new light for
                    me to start my own research & practice. My goal has always been
                    on reversing this issue.

                2. I found it hard to believe that only 4% of the Okinawans diet was comprised of fish considering they live on an actual island. So when I read that the 4% came from our government’s stats based on what they were supplying Okinawa after WWII, this made sense. I mean, can you imagine a plate full of vegetables and a little rice (96%) and then, what, 2 bites of fish when the Okinawans are free to fish? It didn’t and doesn’t make sense to me.

          2. I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for over 4 years, and there was a time when I would go every day. I got to the point where I started becoming sensitive (ie allergic) to certain foods, more and more. Could definitely no longer drink any alcohol. And even if vegetables weren’t washed properly before cooking I would get a reaction. It felt like my body was becoming intolerant to life. My theory is that I became so “clean” that there was no tolerance at all of the mildest toxins, things we live with everyday. Everyday I would sweat everything out in a Bikram class.

            Then because of other reasons, I slowed down my yoga practice. Gradually my sensitivities went away and I was able to drink again (even though now I mostly don’t because it still doesn’t sit well with me). So because I’d like to enjoy life’s pleasures, I’ve scaled back my yoga practice. I guess I wouldn’t mind being super clean again, except that it was just so difficult to even know what to eat. Does Dr. Greger share his own diet at any point?

    2. The best course is to reduce the intake to as low as possible and let the body… the liver and kidney primarily… do their jobs. Unfortunately some of the POP’s have long half lives and will take awhile.

    3. There do seem to be some things that can help with excretion but because its early days yet (this problem is quite new) not a lot is known about the efficacy of various treatments. Its mostly anecdotal evidence.

      Anything which aids the liver and other excretory organs is bound to be good. Examples such as milk thistle or dandelion. For heavy metals, Chlorella is supposed to chelate them, as is corriander (cilantro) and citrus pectin (although it is said that corriander doesn’t bind tightly enough to heavy metals, so it could redistribute them rather than take them away). Alpha Lipoic Acid also comes up with Drs like Dr Chris Shade.

      Water high in Silica is thought to be useful for getting Aluminum out of the brain.

      Zeolite, and bentonite clay, as well as activated charcoal which bind things up in the digestive tract.

      Also, a promising type of treatment involves niacin flushing coupled with gentle exercise and sauna to get these pollutants out of the fat cells and out of the skin. Google Dr Yu. Rebounding in general is excellent for the lymphatic system.

      As mentioned before – these are not defined treatments, and I’d say its all still experimental. Theres a lot of money to be made by companies promising to get these toxins out. They play on peoples fear. However, I do think that some supplementation/ protocols may be necessary here as its not a natural problem to be facing. Fasting is really effective – perhaps juice fasting would fit better into your working life?

  2. I was very surprised to find out from the USDA nutrient database that Atlantic farmed and wild caught salmon has significantly more DHA and EPA than most wild caught or farmed Pacific salmon. Do we have data on the content of these pollutants in farmed or wild caught Pacific Salmon? I use algae-derived omega-3 supplements, but my kids just can’t do it, and I’m trying to find the best alternative for them.

    1. John: I’m not convinced that any DHA/EPA supplementation is needed in the context of a healthy whole plant food diet. I’m not saying it isn’t helpful. I’m just saying that I’m not sure there is definitive evidence one way or the other.

      But Dr. Greger does recommend some supplementation. So, I have a thought for you: I know an adult woman who tried swallowing one of those algae derived omega-3 supplements and it got stuck in her throat. (Had to call 911 and everything.) Those pills are definitely big. If that’s the size of the pill is what you mean by, “my kids jsut can’t do it”, I have a thought for you.

      That woman I mentioned who also can’t swallow the pills happened to get a brand which comes in soft-gell covering and the inside is flavored lemon. While the pill isn’t designed to be chewable, you can easily make a small slit in the covering with a knife. And then it is easy to suck out the insides. From what I have been told, the inside doesn’t taste absolutely great, but it isn’t horrible either. So, there is one safe idea for you. (Safe in that it doesn’t involve fish.)

      Another idea: At one point, I thought I saw some chewable algae based DHA pills out there. It’s been a long time since I looked. So, I don’t know if they are still available. But maybe you can find such a thing.

      Hope that helps! (If you try one of these ideas, please let me know what happens. I’m very interested and keeping my fingers crossed for you.)

        1. I buy the nordic natural algae gel caps with the liquid inside. I would call their size, small. But because I don’t want to eat the caramel colored gel cap, I bite into it and chew it a little, then spit out the gel. The taste is slightly lemony and very, very mild. (If it ever tastes fishy it’s likely gone rancid). The suggested serving size is about 550mg of DHA/EPA, but that’s for two pills. So if you take just one pill a day it’s about what Dr. Greger recommends.

  3. If this link is accurate then asking someone to loose weight is to ask them to flood their system with pollutants.
    What strategy can obese people like myself use to avoid that problem?

    1. To some degree or another just about everyone has a great deal of toxins in our body. I think the best strategy to deal with this is to flood our bodies on a daily basis with a wide variety of powerful nutrient rich fruits, vegetables, spices, teas (green, white, rooibos, lemon balm, mint), seeds, nuts, roots (such as ginger and turmeric), mushrooms and legumes. If you haven’t read “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, consider doing so. It provides a great overview of the science behind this strategy.

    1. It is difficult to say that the conclusions are entirely accurate. There is an abundance of evidence showing just how harmful fish consumption is. The said benefits of the omega 3 in some studies are masked by the contaminants. I encourage you to view some of the videos in the link below.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/index.php?s=fish

      In addition, there are more contaminants in fish other then the mentioned dioxins and mercury. If the only reason to consume fish is for the DHA, I find this to be a poor reason to do so. If you are invested in consuming dietary DHA from the sea, algae derived DHA is bio-equivalent and toxin free.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-omega-3-supplements-2/

      1. I disagree. The UN FAO report covers literally hundreds of different peer-reviewed science papers about this topic and shows that the benefits far outweigh the risks.

        I choose to put my trust in those hundreds of papers, and the thousands of scientists involved in them, than in this blog.

        And what other contaminants are you talking about besides dioxins and mercury that pose any concern to human health? PCBs? POPs? Those are counted as dioxin-like substances in this report. What else is there?

        I have watched a number of the videos on this site about farmed fish, since that is my interest, and find they all follow the same pattern.

        – Show some fast cuts of selections of science papers, with no context
        – Do not refer to the actual conclusions of the paper
        – Analogy with something scary, i.e. Agent Orange coupled with tragic photos of deformed children
        – Huge assumptions about what actually happens in fish farms
        – Conclude with dire warnings against farmed fish.

        That’s all fine and good if that’s the opinion of Dr. Michael Greger, but it is presented as fact. The problem is these claims are simply not true, and not backed up by the science.

        For example, if fish cause diabetes, as one of your videos claims, why does the American Diabetes Association recommend people eat more seafood! http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/tips/2012-08/seafood-a-smart-choice-for.html

        I am concerned that this site is being dangerously irresponsible in presenting scientific information to the public.

        1. Grant, at a very basic level most Westerners consume too few fruits and vegetables, and too many animal products. My Mom died of cancer and my Dad has cancer now and is undergoing chemotherapy. Likewise, I have many friends with Diabetes, some are going blind, my cousin has had both feet amputated.

          I do not know what your motivation is? Perhaps you are one of those people who just like to argue and criticize.

          My Mom died a very painful death, I was there by her bedside. We all have friends and family we care about.

          This website saves lives. If you are not willing to change, that’s your choice. However please respect the efforts that people make to prevent the suffering of others, people and animals…Peace.

          1. I’m sorry to hear about your losses, Devin, and admire your courage. I do agree that our western diet does not contain enough fruit and vegetables.

            My motivation is to correct wrong information about seafood and health, which is unfortunately being presented on this website and which I think is actually detrimental to peoples’ health.

            1. Grant I see that professionally you work for a large Salmon company. I won’t hold that against you. Science evolves. If you accept that science evolves you have to accept that certain studies may conflict with previous studies. The 2013 study that I cited on Prostate cancer and fish consumption, concludes “Recommendations to increase Omega 3 PUFA intake should consider its potential risks”…You can disagree with the conclusion, however you cannot disagree with the fact that this conclusion was made by the authors of the study. It’s not wrong. It’s not even right. It’s science in flux.

              I love Canada. I am grateful for your flax seeds. Thank you. I wish you peace and happiness.

              1. Yes, I work for a large salmon farming company, as I proudly declare in my Disqus bio. I do agree that science evolves, and at the end of the day, it is a self-correcting process. What is factual and proven always wins out in the end.

                Peace and happiness to you as well!

                1. “It is difficult to get a man to understandsomething, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” –

                  Upton Sinclair

        2. The thing is that Dr. Greger does list his sources and a person can check them out themselves. One article Dr. Greger lists entitled

          The role of persistent organic pollutants in the worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus and the possible connection to Farmed Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar).

          states,

          “Chlorinated pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls, in particular, have been strongly linked to the development of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and T2DM. In addition to reviewing the evidence associating POPs to these conditions, this article explores the possible contribution of farmed Atlantic salmon – a significant and common dietary source of POPs – with blood sugar dysregulation conditions.”

          This was in the actual conclusion, contrary to what you claimed he does. He did state that it was farmed fish that was particularly harmful. Even many people who are not Vegan would agree that farmed fish is not so beneficial. I think your charge of bias against Greger is baseless. He lists his sources, which makes it very easy to check out what Greger states.

          1. I think that Dr. Greger, and any honest scientist or physician would agree that everyone is biased to some degree, based upon their own preconceptions and life experience. Of course Dr. Greger is biased, just like the rest of us, and he too, to his credit as with Grant, discloses his potential soucres of conflict of interest by stating his affiliation with PETA. Therefore, we can decide for ourselves how much those conflicts of interest might be influencing his own biases.

            1. Hi John, just to accurate. Dr Greger is Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States not PETA.

        3. “Research shows that the health benefits of consuming a variety of
          seafood 2 times per week outweigh the health risks associated with
          mercury found in fish in other groups.”

          diabetes.org shows no source and not list other toxins (hexachlorobenzene and others). And this bottom of site:

          “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook
          Barbara Seelig-Brown
          Now: $17.05
          Original Price: $18.9”

          Greed and money.

          “this site is being dangerously irresponsible”

          This site is free and good.

          1. You are accusing the American Diabetes Association of “greed and money” because they feature a cookbook. This website includes a “DONATE” button on nearly every page. Is that “greed and money” as well?

        4. A big difference between association and causation. The basic science supports that the “glucose” processing problem in type two diabetes is caused by the fats in the diet… both animal and plant fats. The fats in the blood interfere with insulin causing insulin resistance and the fats in the cell turn off the genes that run the mitochondria which burn the glucose. So any food with high fat content will be associated with diabetes. Looking for a single cause in complex systems is fraught with many dangers. Dr. Campbell’s newest book, Whole, discusses this at length. From a clinical stand point putting patients with type two diabetes on a low fat whole food diet quickly stabilizes, improves, reverses and often cures the type two diabetes. Since all fish are high in fat… even if you can find some that don’t have persistent organic pollutants, mercury or arsenic I would still advise patients with type two diabetes not to consume fish. In my opinion this website along with other free websites which cite their science such as PCRM.org and DrMcDougall.com are the best sources of information on preventing and reversing chronic diseases.

        5. Hi Grant,
          “- Show some fast cuts of selections of science papers, with no context
          – Do not refer to the actual conclusions of the paper”

          Look under sources cited below the actual video. All the referenced articles are there.

        6. I think you are wrong to only rely on that study. Common sense should tell you that a farmed product is not as healthy as a wild product…just the simple fact that farmed fish are swimming in their feces and fed inferior food product should be enough. Some people only make decisions based on certain studies, sometimes we could just really use our brains.

    2. Grant, I would argue the science is evolving. The UN report that you cited was from 2010 and was based on older studies. An example as to how the science has subsequently evolved was the 2013 study on prostate cancer and fish consumption, whereby the researchers were surprised to find that those men with the highest fish consumption had a 43% increased chance of developing prostate cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute). Looking through the scientific literature I see a larger percentage of studies focusing on fish and toxic chemicals (mercury, arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, BPA etc..) and anticipate that dietary recommendations may eventually change.

      1. Interesting point, but which study are you referring to? This one? http://www.miginfo.de/molforumufiles/save/molforum1Z021622Z1uploadimageZ253720Z390673403.pdf

        But it’s not definitive.

        I found a couple others published in the same year which disagree with the conclusions of the above study, and found this one particularly interesting because it has a huge sample size (nearly 300,000 men) and considers a variety of factors, such as age, BMI, and activity level: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/177/6/504.full This study found, and mentions several others that also found, that fish consumption has an inverse association with prostate cancer risk.

        1. I agree with mbglife’s reasoning against eating fish and eating algae-derived DHA/EPA instead. Obviously, for the average person on this planet which is really what the UN report is trying to address, eating fish may be a healthy alternative to eating a Western diet or other type of unbalanced non-plant based diet. However, I have yet to see compelling evidence that someone eating a phytonutrient-dense plant-based diet with algae-derived DHA/ EPA supplementation, would benefit from eating fish. Obviously, there are few studies on the topic, but I can come up with several compelling reasons not to eat fish, as others have mentioned above, and on balance, I feel the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. To his credit, I once asked Dr. Greger to provide me with compelling health concerns with eating pasture-raised, locally grown egg whites, in moderation, and he admitted he could not. I still don’t but I do provide that information to my patients.

    3. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that the FAO report is correct. But if you can get the same benefit of DHA/EPA from algae, which is where the fish get it in the first place, then isn’t that just a better approach. Plus, not re-references in this video is Dr. Greger’s past videos on parasites and other risks from eating fish. I just don’t see the reason for eating the fish, except for the flavor, which, speaking just for me, that’s just not worth it.

    4. I think there has never been a better time to eat low on the food chain. Considering the vast majority of the 100,000 synthetic chemicals in circulation have never been safety tested, I think it is safe to say that research looking at 1 or 2 containments can be considered a little limited.

      Of course, you have every right to choose fish if you think its the best choice. For me, I prefer the algae.

      I’d be interested in your opinion: seen as your in the Salmon industry, what do you think about the GMO salmon due to go commercial soon? Do you think its a good thing, or will it damage the industry?

    5. Just curious, I eat plenty of hemp seed and flax seed. I don’t eat fish anymore. I’m totally healthy. What is it I’m supposedly missing and suffering for not eating salmon? Eating mostly a whole plant diet. One other thing nobody is talking about is the fact that fish are going extinct from the oceans, and factory fish farms are creating huge amounts of coastal pollution and fish are still going extinct in the oceans because they need to catch SO many smaller fish to feed the salmon.

  4. With the information we have about the quality of nutrition of eating an all plant based diet, there is no reason to eat flesh.

  5. I wish I had a handy link at hand, but from some research I did some time ago, such plants like coriander help flush the heavy metals from the body. On another note, I wish I had all this knowledge when I used to be a pescetarian.

  6. regarding all the information and comments about salmon and other fish, and the suggestion that the proof is there that it is okay to eat it. I would like to say that I have a lot of faith in Dr.Greger and I believe that research and reports regarding the benefits of eating animal flesh are nearly always paid for by the food and pharmaceutical companies.

  7. Hi there,

    Question – I’ve read that zinc is important for preventing birth defects, and while it is found in plant-based foods, it is better absorbed by eating meat or seafood (for seafood – better salmon because of low mecury content). I eat a plant-based diet and am concerned that I may not be getting enough of the proper zinc because I don’t eat meat or seafood. I’m tempted to start incorporating it back into my diet. What is your take, Dr. Greger?

    Thanks so much for your help in this!

  8. As one of the Moderators for NF.org, I wanted to address your question about zinc. You’re certainly correct, Jaclyn, that zinc is important, but don’t jump to the conclusion that because seafood is high in zinc you need to incorporate that back into your diet. There are several vegetable sources of zinc that don;t provide the fat and other problems that animal protein includes. For reference check out this video by Dr. Greger:https://nutritionfacts.org/video/new-mineral-absorption-enhancers-found/ Dr Greger provides some reassuring research about the power of vegetables advising “In fact, the whole allium family of vegetables was recently found to have a “promoting influence[s] on the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc…” So enjoy your legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, all high zinc foods, knowing you’re enhancing zinc absorption. For example, just one oz of pumpkin seeds will give you 15 percent of your daily requirement for zinc. How easy is that?

  9. Could you please comment on sardines. Are they good for the joints. Which ones are safe, those from New Brunswick, or Morroco, or Portugal?

    How can “one ocean” say the Pacific or the Atlantic be safer when it comes to fish consumption now that we have had radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It’s just one ocean and one just does not get rid of the radiation contaminants once they are carried away by currents. I do not think that there is such as thing as a “curcumin” radiation remedy for ocean water on this side of the continent.

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