Mercury Poisoning from Tuna
Over the years, we’ve had to read a number of stories about non-B12-supplementing vegans coming down with neurological problems. And while it’s unfortunate that this man got mercury poisoning, it was a relief to see for once a story implicating animal products instead.
The January 24th issue of The Lancet has a case study of a 59-year old Singapore man who developed severe neurological problems due to eating tuna every day. He originally went to the hospital for lower back pain where the staff noticed that he was suffering from poor memory – he later couldn’t remember why he had gone to the hospital. His speech was slow, he stooped, and had problems walking.
Although his urine did not show mercury, his blood level was 28 μg/L; normal is less than 15 μg/L.
Sources other than the diet were ruled out (he did not have mercury fillings). He could not remember what he typically eats, but his cousin reported that he eats tuna every day and also bought Chinese herbal tea (which can contain mercury) from unlicensed traditional practitioners.
With treatment using the drug penicillamine, and eliminating tuna and the herbal tea, his mercury level got down to 19 μg/L. After five months, his symptoms had improved, but had not completely resolved.
I don’t suppose the Center for Consumer Freedom will be covering this story…
Source: Ho RCM et al. Amnesia, political ambition, and canned tuna. Lancet 2009; 373: 352.