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Is overdosing with Tuna really a thing?

Can this really be possible? But... but... I love my tuna cakes way too much!

In a study published in the journal Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) questioned students about their consumption of tuna and their knowledge of potential mercury poisoning resulting from eating too much of the fish. Samples of their hair to test for mercury levels were also taken.

Credit: Crystal Jo/Unsplash

Credit: Crystal Jo/Unsplash

They found that 54 percent of students reported eating three tuna meals per week, which potentially exceeds the maximum dose of methylmercury deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A shocking 7 percent of participants in the study reported eating more than 20 meals containing tuna a week. Tests on some of the students hair revealed mercury levels in their bodies were higher than what is considered a level of concern.

Credit: Christine Isakzhanova/Unsplash

Credit: Christine Isakzhanova/Unsplash

The researchers were inspired to conduct the study after being shocked at hearing how much tuna some students ate. Their findings were reinforced by the study, which found that students lacked knowledge of mercury in tuna, as well as confidence in their knowledge, with over 99 percent of participants reporting low knowledge and low confidence in their survey answers.

Credit: Max Kleinen/Unsplash

Credit: Max Kleinen/Unsplash

The majority of students surveyed thought that it was safe to eat two to three times as much tuna as is recommended by the EPA, which is two to three servings per week. Tuna contains methylmercury, a substance more toxic than inorganic mercury, which can accumulate in the body. Too much of it can result in methylmercury poisoning, which can cause poor cognitive function, blindness, and impaired lung function.

Credit: Jonathan Forage/Unsplash

Credit: Jonathan Forage/Unsplash

The doses seen in samples collected from students were concerning, but not alarming. It doesn't necessarily mean that they would be experiencing toxic effects, but it's a level at which it's recommended to try to lower your mercury exposure. So overdosing with tuna is a thing, but it's highly unlikely for a person to consume so much of it, to cause an actual poisoning.

Credit: Youjeen Cho/Unsplash

Credit: Youjeen Cho/Unsplash

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Comments (22)

  • Facts! Any large fish, Tuna even sword fish, the same applies. Great article again!

      22 days ago
  • Over 20 meals of tuna a week, really ? There are only 21 meals on a week. Save a tuna and eat a cow once Ina while πŸ™„

      22 days ago
  • Tunas are at the top of their food chain, so they end up with all the accumulated toxins from the smaller fishes. I guess we're at the top of a food chain, too, so we've got to be careful. Great article!

      21 days ago
    • Syllogism corner by Fulana: I read "tunas are at the top of their food chain" and I said to myself: therefore, tuna is delicious. The other claim is humans are on top of the food chain. Therefore, humans are delicious πŸ€”.

        21 days ago
    • Your mind works in mysterious ways. πŸ˜‚

        21 days ago
  • Over 20 tuna meals? Some of those study participants are having tuna as breakfast, lunch and dinner πŸ˜…. I read about mercury in fish after reading the message in a tuna can. Everything should be eaten in moderation except dessert πŸ₯ΊπŸ€­

      22 days ago
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