Nutrition Diagnostics - Is it Safe to Eat Seafood? The Dangers of Mercury

Is it Safe to Eat Seafood? The Dangers of Mercury

Owen Davis | 19 Aug '20

The Industrial Revolution has brought the ease of technology, allowing humans to live longer. Scientists fear that this kind of growth may have contributed to our pollution and set the course for global warming. If we are not careful, our waste has the potential to end the line of the human race.

It is a known fact, that mercury is one of the most devastating toxins found within our environment. Unlike other toxins, mercury has the ability to change its form, poison ecosystems and our food chain.  It is one of the most underestimated toxins. Sadly, our government is doing little to track and ban its use.

Over the last 30 years,  we have researched over 5000 mercury toxic clients.
Clients who have had amalgam. Clients who have consumed a lot of seafood. Clients from all 'diet tribes'. While each person is different, they all face the same challenges and the reasons for their toxicity can be attributed to the same thing; the toxins found within our environment, food and mouths.

How Does Mercury End up in Our Environment?

Mercury pollution comes from industrial waste, farming practices, crematoriums, energy-efficient light bulbs, dental waste and gold mining. Not many of us live near mines, farms or industries, so for city dwellers, the greatest mercury effluent will come from your local dentist or holistic dentist. Do a Google search on how many dental practices reside near you. Then route how close the storm water drains are to where you may collect your seafood. It is important that these industries dispose of mercury safely.

When inorganic mercury binds to living tissue, you end up with the most toxic form of mercury called methylmercury.  Methylmercury is a trojan horse that can enter any vital organ. Minamata Bay disaster is a prime example of methylmercury toxicity. In 1956, Chisso Corporation discharged raw mercury waste into the Minimata Bay via the Hyakken Harbour.

Did you know the biggest of source mercury that can pollute seafood comes from dental practices?

Also, be careful of disposing energy-saving light bulbs. They contain mercury.
Hg = mercury


Similarly, in 1970, Dryden, Ontario Canada, a pulp and paper mill discharged toxic waste into the river after producing chemicals to aid in the paper bleaching process. In both instances, the mercury dumped into the ecosystem was absorbed by the aquatic life, causing bioaccumulation. Eventually the seafood ingested by the local people resulted in mercury toxicity. The symptoms of mercury toxicity in both of these instances, fall under ‘Minamata disease’.

So profound and so devastating were the effects of mercury, that the Minamata Convention on Mercury was globally signed in 2013. The treaty was designed to protect human health and the environment from mercury. Learning from Minamata Bay Disease, is a prime example on why you should not consume seafood.

Is Seafood a Good Source of Nutrition?

We are told seafood is good for our eyes, hair, skin, brain and heart. It is high in unsaturated fatty acids and omega 3 oils and so on. However, it is also high in mercury - one of the most toxic and harmful substances known to human beings.

There have been studies indicating that the omega oils and the high selenium content in the fish - particularly caught in Seychelles, Africa - is protective. However, the methylmercury bound to the flesh of the fish still outweighs the selenium content.

Can You Buy Organic Seafood?

The short answer is no. While you can commercially certify food that is grown on land as organic, scientists are having great difficulty certifying food from the sea, lakes and rivers. We will pay good money to ensure our food comes certified organic, free of toxins, yet we do not even question the quality of our seafood.

Globally, the seafood market is a multi billion dollar industry - enough for any government to turn a blind eye or create counter research arguments.


There is a War on Plastic, Why Not Mercury?

The Australian government is investing to save our beautiful Great Barrier Reef and its accompanying aquatic life so that future generations can enjoy our tourism industry.

Before and after, bleaching of our Great Barrier Reef. Is it just global warning or heavy metal poisoning?


In particular, there have been global campaigns to rid the ocean of plastic bags which harm aquatic life. Plastic has such an impact on our environment that Australian supermarkets have now mandated that customers bring their own bags or buy plastic bags upon checkout.  


Perhaps the reason for this widespread attention on plastic bags, is that they are clearly visible and their effects on the environment. Images like this one (above) tug at the heartstrings, bringing plastic bags to the forefront of our minds.

There is, however, an equally insidious environmental threat, one that is potentially even more harmful to humans than plastic. One that cannot be seen, smelt or touched, called Mercury. If we recognise that asbestos is dangerous for the lungs, even though it cannot be seen, why is mercury still being ignored in our seafood?

Are You More at Risk to Mercury Found in Seafood Based on Your Genetics?

Another point that some scientists make, is that some individuals are more likely to be predisposed to mercury toxicity, through a gene called ApoE4. Mercury does not discriminate on the basis of genetics. Whether you have a faulty gene or not, eating mercury will always result in mercury toxicity.

Genes are of great academic and entrepreneurial interest. There is great profit in designing genetic tests to diagnose and treat.

This genetic lottery concept was formed by Disease Model Thinking or what we call health insurance. Sadly, too many health practitioners fall into this trap. A test is sold for a gene. A drug or supplement is then designed to be prescribed for that gene. In reality, genes do not define your health destiny.

Just as there is a biochemical pattern to disease, there is also one for health.
Understanding body chemistry will determine why some have more difficulty handling mercury than others. The more seafood that is consumed by an individual, the more mercury is stored in the body.

Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neuron Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - are these neurological diseases the result of a flaw in the genetic pool? Or could it be the silent killer called mercury? We think the latter.

Do Small Fish Contain Less Mercury Than Big Fish?

There is a general consensus that smaller fish contain smaller amounts of mercury than larger fish. This assumption is based on the fact that mercury is biomagnified in larger fish as they consume smaller fish (containing mercury). Theoretically, this should ring true, however it is not always the case. Have you considered yourself being a big fish that eats smaller fish?

In 2014, The Australian Government National Measurement Institute measured a collection of fish caught off the North Queensland coastline and the results may surprise you.

So this notion that bigger fish contain higher amounts of mercury doesn’t always ring true. To see the full results of the study, click here.

Is it Safe to Consume Small Amounts of Seafood?

A good way to look at this is through the lens of smoking. Smoking less is undoubtedly better than smoking more; however, that doesn’t mean you should be smoking.
The same is true for seafood. Eating seafood less is undoubtedly better than eating more; however, the point is that we should not be eating seafood at all if it contains mercury. Just as smoking, even in small amounts, is not good for you, neither are low doses of methylmercury found in seafood. The biggest difference between smoking and mercury, is that mercury bioaccumulates, meaning it binds and builds upon itself. The poison outways the benefits of eating small fish.

Biomagnification: How Mercury Climbs the Food Chain

Perhaps the best way to understand this is by looking at examples of other mammals who consume seafood - dolphins and whales. Studies on whale meat in Japan revealed astonishing levels of mercury. In fact, two of the 26 liver samples taken in one study, contained over 1,970 micrograms of mercury per gram of liver - nearly 5000 times the Japanese government’s limit for mercury contamination, which is 0.4 micrograms per gram. This is the result of biomagnification; a process wherein the concentration of a toxin gets higher the further you progress up the food chain. This may explain why high levels of mercury have been found in the brains of beached dolphins and whales.
To blame global warming, you have to also blame mercury found in petrol and oil.
The same is true for humans consuming seafood as we, like whales and dolphins, are mammals too.

What About Fish Caught in Pristine Waters?

Again, there is a general consensus that fish and seafood caught from ‘isolated’ waters that are far from civilisation and yet to be contaminated by the industrial activity of humans are safer for consumption. It may be true that the aquatic life in such areas contain less mercury than those living in more affected areas; however, that doesn’t mean they are not affected by mercury. The ocean is an interconnected whole, and with tides, currents and migrating aquatic life, it is not hard to imagine that mercury deposited in one area, may end up in another entirely. Once again, this is part of the reason why fish cannot have organic certification.

The Footprints of Mercury in Body Chemistry. Who is Most at Risk?

Mercury is toxic to all humans. No one is immune to it or its effects. Those who eat seafood regularly will accumulate mercury in their body faster, and will, therefore, be more at risk of toxicity and its symptoms. A healthy, well-nourished adult with a balanced diet is better equipped to deal with toxic exposure (having a greater ability to excrete mercury). However, children or any unhealthy person - particularly those suffering from any of the 6 subclinical defects - will struggle to deal with mercury.
As mercury has an affinity for blood, where ever blood pumps, mercury goes. Your brain and kidney are heavily dependant on blood, so unfortunately, this is where mercury often ends up.

The pregnant, nursing woman and developing child represents those most at risk. The foetus has no way to eliminate mercury that may cross the placental barrier, and is therefore, very vulnerable. It has been clearly documented that mercury in the developing infant, particularly males, due to mercury's affinity for testosterone, can lead to permanent and irreversible brain damage. Thus, it is highly recommended that all amalgam fillings be removed before conception and imperative that none be put in place during pregnancy and lactation. Pregnant, lactating women and children should avoid all seafood. RH-negative women should insist on vaccines that are thimerosal-free (mercury).

For over 30 years, we have identified clients who are most at risk of reacting to a toxin like mercury. These are people who eat the foods of commerce and who have poor metabolic control. The evidence lies in a fasting chemistry. Levels like those in the chart below can indicate a poor metabolic control in chemistry.

A poor protein status and iron status creates the greatest risk for (methyl) mercury toxicity. A low iron state is often common in those who subscribe to vegan, vegetarian, mediterranean or pescatarian diets. Often, these people are more prone (especially pescatarian as they are consuming seafood more frequently) to suffering from mercury toxicity. Sometimes they can exhibit a pale grey/yellow skin tone of the cheeks and palm of the hands. It is pertinent for those who follow the aforementioned diets to review a complete body chemistry for the Toxic Footprints of mercury.

What we have also found when the body has been poisoned by mercury and then exposed a second time, a secondary immune response can occur where the body goes into over drive, creating a new autoimmune disease. One who experiences a seafood allergy must also consider mercury poisoning as a secondary immune response.

How are Clinicians Underestimating Mercury?

Mercury can displace minerals in the body that are necessary for cellular health. Such minerals are necessary for cognitive function and energy. The depression and fatigue you experience, is it really caused by biochemical imbalances/ faulty gene, or is it mercury toxicity?

Instead, of blaming a deficiency or turning to the compound pharmacist, practitioners may need to consider mercury's effects on copper and zinc ratios, high copper levels in hair, methylation sequencing errors, MTHFR faulty genes or pyrrole/porphyrin disturbances.

Many practitioners use Hair Mineral Analysis to identify mercury. This is a limiting method compared to blood and urine chemistry. Hair analysis only looks at methyl mercury excreted in hair, whereas blood and urine chemistry identifies the footprints of all heavy metals distributed throughout the whole body. If your chemistry is out of balance, then you cannot excrete mercury, and thus, it will not be seen in hair or in the footprints of chemistry. This is all to say that those who do not present with mercury markers may still be mercury toxic. If you just focus on biochemical pathways, instead of mercury's footprint, you will miss this elusive butterfly.

The Symptoms of Mercury Toxicity

Published research has shown that mercury, even in small amounts, is more toxic than lead, cadmium and even arsenic. It is considered a heavy metal on the periodic table.
There is no definitive test to show someone's mercury load without the use of cremation. The alternative is to measure the foot prints of mercury.

Beta-2 Microglobulin is a light chain polypeptide of molecular weight.
Measuring it can determine many disturbances. The most important use is to determine damage or recovery of the blood / brain barrier (choroid plexus) in toxicity and detoxification. Reviewing B2M Serum and Urine may give clues to mercury's passport.


B2M is made in the choroid plexus - the major part of the brain's kidney that keeps heavy metals like mercury out of the cerebrospinal fluid. When it shows up in blood, the filter is being contaminated with mercury, showing the toxin has crossed into the Central Nervous System.

The impact of continuous seafood consumption can be seen in body chemistry with an elevated Serum B2Microglobulin above 1.5 mg/L. In our experience, client’s who exhibited a S-B2M above 2 mg/L typically suffer with mood, mind and memory challenges.

Some of the common symptoms of mercury toxicity from seafood consumption are:

A 3 millions dollar study by The University of Calgary showed the link between mercury toxicity and brain neuron degeneration.

Did you know Abraham lincoln was given a drug called blue mass that contained mercury. This made his depression worse.

Also, an evil man named Adolph Hitler (supposedly a vegetarian who may of had mercury fillings) contracted syphilis at some point from a prostitute. In those times the remedy was a mercurial antibiotic called Salvarsan. Both men in history may not have been very rational if poisoned by mercury or if consumed large amounts of seafood.

Hollywood Now Recognises There is Mercury in Seafood

Both motivational speaker, Tony Robbins and actor, Jeremy Piven, have both publicly spoken about their battle with mercury toxicity as a result of seafood consumption. Further information on the effects of mercury toxicity can be seen in the widely documented cases of Minamata disease.

If you remember in the early 90's, Tony Robbins was very spiritual. Tony and his wife promoted an alkaline vegan diet, 'Go green baby, go raw, be strong like a gorilla, eat like a gorilla'. When Tony started to lose muscle and lack energy he started to incorporate fish in his diet.

Side note, controlling pH through diet is more complex than we think. pH stands for the power of hydrogen. There are so many different pH's in the body and 7 buffering systems to control pH. To simplify things when you do not have enough haemoglobin or red blood cells you have an inability to carry oxygen and there for alkalise or create energy. Haeme iron containing foods are critical in correcting iron stores and thus controlling pH and energy.  It is also crucial when handling mercury.

This diagram may explain why those who have a poor iron status who eat seafood have a hard time making energy and excreting mercury.

Note: Mercury displaces coproporphyrins in the Urine Porphyrin Fractionation test

With time Tony Robbins became even more fatigued and mercury toxic.
The moral of the story before you try any diet always reference your body chemistry.

Mercury reference in the film Knocked Up. Please excuse the coarse language.

Victoria Beckham and Robbie Williams both have been diagnosed with mercury toxicity from eating too much fish. Robbie Williams was reported to have nearly died from eating fish twice a day!

Source: Getty Images - Getty


The Intern - 33:26 minute mark 
Jules: Oh. I think I forgot to eat today.
Ben: Should I pick you up some sushi?
Jules: No, I eat too much mercury. I'll be fine. I'm good. I'm also kinda nauseous, so...

A Framed warning  found in a high class restaurant in Californian (American).

What is Being Done to Reduce our Mercury Footprint?

As seafood is touted to be an excellent source for the eyes, brain and inflammation, mercury seems to put a dampener on this claim. The big problem with fish is that they are in an ocean that is becoming more and more contaminated with mercury. The mercury gets into the plankton, which, in turn, is eaten by the very tiny fish, and then each successive size of fish concentrates the mercury a bit more. There is little mechanism for elimination of mercury in a fish, so the amount of concentration in the fish depends on how big the fish. The bigger the fish, the higher the total concentration of methylmercury — bioconcentration.

Most individuals can protect themselves against mercury by avoiding unnecessary exposure. That means using only composite dental fillings (never amalgam), avoiding vaccines that contain mercury (thimerosal or other trade names) and medications for conjunctivitis (mercuric acetate), mercurochrome or calamine lotion, skin lightening creams .... the list goes on .

Many unnecessary uses of mercury combined with the burning of coal and other fossil fuels (the most significant source of air-borne mercury) can contaminate our food chain and pollute our environment to an extent that threatens the health of everyone.

Of all the heavy metals mercury is the most toxic. Thus, if we are to protect our own health as well as that of future generations, it is imperative that we and the scientific community pass legislation soon at the state, local, federal and international levels for reducing or halting the indiscriminate use of mercury in all of its various forms; especially the conscious act of implanting mercury directly into people like you and your seafood.

It is your choice to avoid mercury. Removing dental amalgam from a holistic/ biological dentist just cuts off the supply to mercury and does little for detoxification. Consuming seafood after amalgam removal, will cause "mercury toxicity". Do not compound your burden.

If you would like to measure your mercury body burden, find out more with our Immune Rebuilding Program.

Owen Davis (left) and Daniel Davis (right) with Dr Hal Huggins. February, 2007. Huggins alliance 'The 40 Famous Chemistries Symposium'.

For Further Reading on Mercury and its Effects, See the Following:

Learning from Minamata Bay Disaster
Dolphin and Whale meat poisoned with Mercury
Extreme levels of Mercury in Whale meat
The Dental Amalgam Toxicity Fear: A Myth or Actuality
Using Tree Rings to Track Atmospheric Mercury Pollution in Australia: The of Legacy of Mining in Tasmania
The 22 Signs and Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning
Global methylmercury exposure from seafood consumption and risk of developmental neurotoxicity: a systematic review
Fish consumption, mercury exposure, and the risk of cholesterol profiles: findings from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010-2011
An association of blood mercury levels and Hypercholesterolaemia among Korean adolescents
Altered pairing behaviour and reproductive success in white ibises exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of methylmercury
ABC Catalyst: Mercury
Mercury exposure raises cholesterol levels
CDC Study: "Infant and Environmental Exposures to Thimerosal and Neurophysiological Outcomes at Ages 7 to 10 years"
Mercury Toxicity: Genetic susceptibility and synergistic effects
Gender differences in the disposition and toxicity of metals
Chronic inorganic mercury exposure induces sex-specific changes in central TNFα expression: Importance in autism?
Genetic Aspects of Susceptibility to Mercury Toxicity: An Overview