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Mercury in sardines of concern?

by 387 · March 09, 2014 7:25 AM

I heard that sardines are lower on mercury because they are lower in the food chain. But let's say I eat 250g of Atlantic Portuguese sardines per day, every day. Am I getting more than the daily allowable limit for mercury?

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6
12362 · February 28, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Mercury bioaccumulates through trophic levels. Sardines are low on the food chain - so their consumption is safe. Here is a link to a website that has a calculator to see how much mercury you are getting from your fish:

http://www.gotmercury.org/article.php?list=type&type=75

Assuming that you are 150lbs (just a random number) and the 250g = 8.82 oz, you are getting 8% of your daily allowable intake of mercury.

And just to explain what a daily allowable intake is - it is the maximum amount of mercury that a human can ingest without any observable effect reported. Please note that most of the toxicological studies done have been on rats though, so err on the side of caution!

Please remember to add up each type of fish that you are eating though!

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3576 · February 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

It's impossible to say what you're getting in mercury unless you test every single batch of fish you eat. But here's what you've got in your favor:

  1. The fish you're eating are lower on the food chain and
  2. You're an adult. Adults are better at processing mercury than kids are (pregnant women are advised to cut back on predator fish consumption because, well, they're carrying kids).

If you're not eating tons and tons of tuna or salmon or swordfish, if you're not going around handling free mercury from a broken thermometer or something, and if you otherwise try to avoid mercury as much as possible, you should be OK.

Here is more information about the fish family sardines belong to. They eat plankton, pretty much.

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222 · February 11, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Relevant: http://chriskresser.com/is-eating-fish-safe-a-lot-safer-than-not-eating-fish

How selenium keeps you safe from mercury toxicity in most fish.

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8004 · May 31, 2012 4:25 PM

As has already been pointed out, sardines are relatively low on the marine food chain and don't accumulate as much mercury as predatory fish.

If you're concerned though, take a little selenium now and then. Selenium has been shown to be protective against mercury. (Yummiest way to very easily get some? Brazil nuts!)

I don't have a link to the studies handy at the moment, but I read a few in a graduate level course on vitamins and minerals. It's the real deal.

Af49bced416926d9f88e47a7e705d99d
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20 · May 31, 2012 at 12:24 PM

i don't think bpa free is necessarily much better than a can with bpa. who knows what else is in the can, which is highly heated with the sardines inside. sigh, i wish i could have canned sardines as an easy fix but there are just too many things about it that are unhealthy it seems. we can't get them fresh around here.

0352d9b69cc6e3a17a634c74ae92566f
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0 · March 09, 2014 6:45 AM

Im a student at Milwaukees school of freshwater science and a research scientist studying the effects of mercury found that selenium prevents some of the toxic effects of mercury, but not all. It won't do a thing at all against some of the effects according to the study. I just cant remember which effects...woops. It does however do a good job preventing the others. (I can't find the paper on it, so I wont say it's a fact, just something to consider). I'm assuming sardines are fine regardless, because I like to eeeat um and their itty bitty. In addition to being low on the food chain they have a relatively short life span and less time to accumulate toxins. Other thing to consider about mercury is with the current understandings most of the concern is with effects on unborn and young children. If you plan of having kids it may be appropriate to consider long before mercury can accumulate in fats if you eat it too often

0352d9b69cc6e3a17a634c74ae92566f
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0 · March 09, 2014 6:45 AM

Im a student at Milwaukees school of freshwater science and a research scientist studying the effects of mercury found that selenium prevents some of the toxic effects of mercury, but not all. It won't do a thing at all against some of the effects according to the study. I just cant remember which effects...woops. It does however do a good job preventing the others. (I can't find the paper on it, so I wont say it's a fact, just something to consider). I'm assuming sardines are fine regardless, because I like to eeeat um and their itty bitty. In addition to being low on the food chain they have a relatively short life span and less time to accumulate toxins. Other thing to consider about mercury is with the current understandings most of the concern is with effects on unborn and young children. If you plan of having kids it may be appropriate to consider long before mercury can accumulate in fats if you eat it too often

0352d9b69cc6e3a17a634c74ae92566f
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0 · March 09, 2014 6:45 AM

Im a student at Milwaukees school of freshwater science and a research scientist studying the effects of mercury found that selenium prevents some of the toxic effects of mercury, but not all. Some research has found that selenium does not prevent the learning and behavioral toxic effects in zebra fish caused by mercury. Granted the study I'm referencing was studying zebrafish not humans. I personally wouldn't eat tuna more than recommended and count on wild rice to counter act everything if I was a woman planning on having kids any time soon. These are research findings and that doesn't make it fact, but something to consider. Sardines however are at the bottom of the food chain and have relatively short lifespans, so less time to accumulate toxins. I think they're a great fish to eat.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2009.09.004
paper

266a0bde80c6dd7cf67939153241a19f
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0 · February 11, 2013 9:41 PM

Consuming seaweeds or cilantro with fish aids in mercury detoxification.

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39204 · February 28, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I would think that the BPA contained in the cans would be a far greater concern. Wild Planet has BPA-free cans, however.

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