Fish Fog

Have you found yourself having a mild decrease in memory? Perhaps your reaction times are a bit slower, or it’s difficult to keep multiple streams of thought working at the same time. These symptoms may have many causes including excessive multitasking, hormone imbalances, sleep disturbances, or nutritional deficiencies. There is another possible cause related to dietary behavior – fish fog.

Fish fog is caused by elevated levels of mercury most usually coming from fish. People who have more than a single serving of fish in a week (particularly swordfish, albacore tuna, mahi mahi, sushi, and other deep sea fish) may be at higher risk for fish fog.

If these symptoms bother you then you should have both your blood levels of mercury checked and, as necessary, the provoked mercury levels in your urine checked. Usually if the blood levels of mercury are measurable at all, even if they are not “high” by conventional standards, we suggest the urine mercury test. Remember there is no safe level of mercury in the body. The blood sample will represent levels that would have been introduced into your body over the past two to three months. The urine test, utilizing a chelating agent to “provoke” the excretion of mercury, gives us an idea of the total body burden of mercury.

The primary treatment is avoidance of the source. Currently the safest fish to eat is wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Sardines, anchovies, and herring are also safe. Eating young fish and smaller fish are considered safe as well. No more than two servings of fish should be eaten in a given week. Often this means that you need to take fish oil as a supplement for nutritional balance.

Once we have understood the magnitude of the mercury issue, we may suggest chelation to help secrete stored mercury. Chelation often begins with oral agents, but may advance to intravenous agents. Nutrition will definitely be part of a plan to enhance the removal process as will detoxifying botanicals and supplements. Yoga and massage are often helpful as well.