PREVENT ALS! The #1 Diet Hack That Really Works – Best for Older Adults

By on July 15, 2017
Eaten king mackerel, ahi tuna, or swordfish lately? Watch out, say researchers: You could face a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Research recently presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2017 Annual Meeting alleges that fish with high mercury levels, such as king mackerel, could increase the risk of ALS by more than 50 percent.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the loss of all voluntary functions, causing people to eventually enter a vegetable state, leading to death. Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is well known for being a long-term survivor of the disease.

Researchers stress that consumers eat fish with a low mercury content instead to reduce this risk.

“For most people, eating fish is part of a healthy diet,” says Elijah Stommel, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher. “But questions remain about the possible impact of mercury in fish. Some large prospective dietary studies suggest that omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may significantly reduce ALS risk.”

The study examined 518 people, 294 of whom were diagnosed with ALS, to determine how dietary fish intake affected their risk of ALS. They tracked the volume and type of fish they consumed, as well as where they bought it from. To measure their mercury levels, researchers collected toenail samples from the participants. They then used a process called inductively coupled plasma mass spectometry which measured sulfur keratin, a biomarker of mercury contamination.

Ranking them in quartiles based on their mercury exposure, researchers found that people in the top quartile were 50 percent more likely to develop ALS. Furthermore, 61 percent of participants diagnosed with ALS had the top 25 percent highest mercury intake, suggesting the two factors were related.

Researchers stress that consumers shouldn’t avoid consuming fish, however. It does highlight the need to avoid food laced with mercury; some breeds of fish naturally carry more mercury. Switching to low mercury breeds of fish may be the best option for consumers at this point.

“Although the study’s findings do not negate the many health benefits of fish, individuals should consider choosing species with lower mercury content, such as salmon and sardines,” researchers say.

What This Means For You

To keep your risk of ALS low, now’s the time to clean up your diet. Instead of enjoying king mackerel, ahi tuna, or swordfish, try opting for low mercury fish instead, such as salmon and sardines. To further minimize your risk, limit your intake to two to three servings per week, especially if you are planning to have a child.

Readers: What do you think? Are fish really a big health concern?

Mercury in Fish Tied to a Higher ALS

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