Are there toxic heavy metals in your food?

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Last week, I was listening to the Tim Ferris podcast with Tony Robbins. As always, it was a really awesome podcast, with Tony sharing so much information and reminding us how to become a better person — for ourself, and for the people around us. Towards the end of the interview, Tony talked about his own health problems. He was suffering from unexpected and unexplainable fatigue and memory problems. He was advised to check the metal levels in his body, and learned that he had exceptionally high levels of some metals. He was suffering from mercury poisoning.

Tony had always followed a healthy diet and lifestyle. He does regular exercise. I even remember him talking one time about how his many hours of intensive work on stage is like running a marathon — and I believe that!

So what happened, how did his body become poisoned with this toxic metal? His answer may surprise you: he ate a lot of fish, especially tuna and swordfish.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment, but it can also be found in the air through industrial pollution. We are already living in a highly toxic environment, filling our oceans, air and water with chemicals from our personal care products and industrial pollutants. The symptoms of mercury poisoning may include poor balance, memory problems, muscle weakness, insomnia, hair loss, chronic fatigue, and having a hard time concentrating.

The FDA recommends that pregnant or breastfeeding women, and young children, avoid eating fish with high mercury levels. But what about everyone else? The problem is that when you eat small amounts regularly, and you’re not doing anything to cleanse your body of them, they quickly add up and increase the toxic burden on your body.

Mercury poisoning actually comes not only from fish, but also from other foods such as high fructose corn syrup, and of course from dental amalgam. The largest sources of mercury contamination in our environment are coal fired power plants — the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that U.S. coal fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury each year.

The fish with the highest levels are swordfish, shark, ahi tuna, marlin, orange roughy, tilefish, wing mackerel, sea bass and bluefish. The Turtle Island website has a useful calculator, which lets you check how much mercury is in your fish. The Seafood Watch website has some great information on the best choices in your state. And the EPA website is also packed will useful information.

So what steps can you take now?

The best first step is of course to stop putting these toxins in your body. Then, have a test to determine your current metal levels. The next step, if you have elevated levels, is to see a specialist who can help you speed up the detoxification process.

We are all responsible for our choices, so lets make this choice consciously.