MENU
 

It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


 

Ask Dr. Gourmet



If mercury in fish is linked to Alzheimer's disease, how much fish should I eat?

I heard on the news that eating fish (because of the mercury in it) is now proven to be a link to Alzheimer's disease. They didn't specify how much or how many times [the people affected] eat it per week. I am thinking they would mean what the average person might eat: 2-3 times a week. The other days we usually eat other meats. Have you any opinions on this factor.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Roasting Salmon

I have always taken the issue of mercury in fish very seriously.

It is quite clear that excess intake of mercury in humans leads to many health conditions. This includes both short term health effects such as fatigue, irritability and short term memory loss. Long term effects have been well established and include the short term effect as well as muscle and nerve problems, mood and behavioral disorders, kidney, heart, liver and digestive problems.

Many fish have been contaminated with mercury. The key is to be moderate in your consumption, having fish two or three times a week and not eating one variety too often. It does appear that the benefit of fish consumption outweighs the risk, but you do need to choose carefully, selecting fish that is lower in mercury. Here's more information: Dr.Tim Says... One Fish, Two Fish, Mercury in Your Fish.

I do eat fish and I eat a wide variety trying to not repeat a particular fish more than once in a given month. I also avoid those fish that are very high in mercury.

For more information here's a sample of research on short term memory loss and mercury:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1009214/

This is the abstract of Dr. Mutter's article:

http://www.j-alz.com/issues/22/vol22-2.html

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet