T Nation

Mercury Contamination in Tuna

OK, so we’ve all heard of it
And we all love tuna.
The esteemed Dr Lowry just said “mercury contamination risk isnt all that high”…
(since theres almost certainly some contamination in all tuna, people giving their opinions like this might want to define what they see as ‘contamination’)

For those of us at a stage of nutrition where we try and use glass and ceramic bowls over plastics, and avoid microwaved foods, something like mercury ‘contamination’ is a bit of a bugger. Especially if we eat enough tuna for a cumulative effect to become a ‘risk’ (again, each should define their own level in this regard…)

So what have you all heard? what evidence have you seen? How does it affect how much tuna you buy? etc etc…?

just curious, of course, but im hoping some of you guys have more informed opinions on this than i do, so i might be able to form my own…

I’m by no means an expert, but from what I understand, if you’re worried about mercury you’re better off to go with the WHITE tuna, as opposed to LIGHT tuna. Apparently the Albacore(white) feeds on different foods and is found farther offshore and is much less likely to be contaminated with the dreaded Hg. It tastes better too! Hope this helps!

I heard that the “chunk light” tuna has 1/3 less mercury because it come from smaller fish.

[quote]Bater wrote:
I’m by no means an expert, but from what I understand, if you’re worried about mercury you’re better off to go with the WHITE tuna, as opposed to LIGHT tuna. Apparently the Albacore(white) feeds on different foods and is found farther offshore and is much less likely to be contaminated with the dreaded Hg. It tastes better too! Hope this helps![/quote]

It’s the other way around. ALbacore = high Hg, light = low Hg. Relatively speaking, of course.

I have heard the same thing as DEV. The Albacore has a higher mecury contamination due to its size (and thus consumption of other fish) and lifespan. This tends to be true for many higher members of the food chain when it comes to environmental contaminents. The experts not in the business of fear mogering or with something to sell (eg Lowery, Berardi, etc) will tell you mercury contamination is not a big concern provided you are using Tuna in moderation. Of course, salmon, sardines, etc offer similar or greater benefits (Protein/Calorie rations, EFA profile, etc) with even lower mercury contamination rates.

I’ve heard that cholorella, a supplement available at most healthfood stores helps bind mercury and other toxic metals fascilitating their excretion from your body.

Also, if the primary reason you like tuna is for the price and convenience, you’re honestly better off going with sardines. The better varieties that aren’t skinless or boneless are a lot richer in omega 3 fats and the bones are a superb source of calcium.
And sardines, being a much smaller species of fish are a great deal safer than tuna from a mercury contamination perspective.

I stand corrected, thanks guys. I guess I’ve been wasting my money buying the white!

Amalgam Dental fillings are far worse. They’re 50% mercury. Anyway, sardines or canned RED wild salmons are better alternatives than canned tuna which end to be low in fat.

[quote]Tungsten wrote:
Amalgam Dental fillings are far worse. They’re 50% mercury. Anyway, sardines or canned RED wild salmons are better alternatives than canned tuna which end to be low in fat. [/quote]

ive got so many amalgam fillings im the first planet from the sun.

[quote]wufwugy wrote:
Tungsten wrote:
Amalgam Dental fillings are far worse. They’re 50% mercury. Anyway, sardines or canned RED wild salmons are better alternatives than canned tuna which end to be low in fat.

ive got so many amalgam fillings im the first planet from the sun.[/quote]

grooooooooooooaaaaaannnnnnnnnnsssss

i need to go to sleep, it took me an entire minute to get that joke

Correct me here, but doesn’t one have to ingest large amounts of tuna for a long period of time to get any sort of detramental affects from eating too much tuna?

I want to say it is in the range of well over a pound of tuna, and over a period of a few months.

Mercury poisoning is nothing to mess with. I never, ever eat Tuna!

There is a wide variety of foods you can eat without taking the “tuna risk.” Why would anyone want to ingest a known poisonous substance, whent they don’t have to?

Each individual’s ablity to remove mercury from the body varies greatly due to genetics. Some are greatly affected or rather immediately and some will take a lot longer to see any effect but mercury poisoning isn’t something you want to deal with!

Another source of mercury is vaccines. These days the babies get shitload of them so that’s something to think about…

hmmm, as i just finished a tuna sandwich, i came to this topic.

i’m not too worried about any contamination, even though i eat about 4 cans a week.

if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be on the store shelves.

[quote]KiloSprinter wrote:
hmmm, as i just finished a tuna sandwich, i came to this topic.

i’m not too worried about any contamination, even though i eat about 4 cans a week.

if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be on the store shelves.[/quote]

It’s called politics. Do you honestly think FDA is gonna do about that? FDA recommends that pregnant women NOT to eat canned tuna…

[quote]KiloSprinter wrote:

if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be on the store shelves.[/quote]

o.k, but with that reasoning, does it mean cigerettes and alcohol aren’t to bad for you?..

[quote]KiloSprinter wrote:
hmmm, as i just finished a tuna sandwich, i came to this topic.

i’m not too worried about any contamination, even though i eat about 4 cans a week.

if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be on the store shelves.[/quote]

Cigarettes couldn’t be bad for you either because they are also on the store shelves.

I eat about 9 cans of chunk light tuna a week and I am good so far. I eat it for convience and price. Guess I am finished.

—There is a wide variety of foods you can eat without taking the “tuna risk.” Why would anyone want to ingest a known poisonous substance, whent they don’t have to? —

Isn’t it a bit sad or depressing that we are on a message board discussing how much tuna is safe to eat? A toxic pollutant has seriously contaminated our food chain and instead of doing something about it, we talk about switching to anchovies.

Instead of being upset and trying to cure the “disease” of mercury pollution, we cure the “symptom” by silently moving along to another foodstuff.

What needs to be done to improve this situation? I’m going to have to look into donating to groups that are fighting polution/polluters.

If its not mercury poisoning from fish, its mad cow from beef, if its not mad cow from beef, its salmonella in chicken and eggs, if its not salmonella in poultry, its toxic pesticides in fruits and vegies, and if its not the pesticides, its septicemia or some other disease from some cheap mexican farmer, taking a shit on the crops and calling it fertilizer. Its always something. I NEED TO EAT!! No, mercury poisoning isn’t fun, but considering the amount of mercury in the formerly popular mercuricrome (to those of you who remember using that on your cuts when you were younger) and other household products, no offense, I’m not going to lose sleep over eating a scallop. There are other things, where the odds are a bit greater, that may do mmost of us in.