Andrew Weil, M.D., stands out as a voice of reason within a misguided, drug-focused medical paradigm that downplays wellness and prevention.
As well as authoring many bestsellers about diet and health, Dr. Weil is the Founder and Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at Arizona State University.
He and the Arizona Center staff educate practicing physicians about the role of good nutrition in optimal health and disease prevention … subjects barely addressed in most medical schools’ curriculum.
We were very glad to see his latest entry on the Huffington Post, titled “Pregnant? Eat Fish!”, which is an expanded version of a Q&A on his own website (“Can I Eat Fish While Pregnant?”).
We encourage you to bring Dr. Weil’s alert to the attention of any pregnant or nursing mothers you know.
As Dr. Weil writes, “Research now suggests that the benefit to a baby's neurological health from omega-3s appears to far outweigh the potential for harm from small amounts of mercury in fish tissues.”
He goes on to cite the research backing this statement … findings we’ve reported, along with research explaining why the abundance of selenium in ocean fish renders the presence of traces of mercury virtually irrelevant to human health.
The only exceptions are the very few species exceptionally high in mercury, which the U.S. FDA and EPA advise pregnant/nursing women to avoid entirely (shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel).
But as Dr. Weil points out, the best available evidence shows that children and pregnant or nursing mothers should be eating at least 12 ounces of seafood per week, not up to that amount, as the EPA and FDA still advise.
Dr. Weil also addresses concerns about released radioactive particles from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and as he says, this accident does not appear to seriously threaten the safety of commercially available fish.
(See “No Worries for Vital Choice Seafood”.)
You can learn more about the value and safety of seafood for babies and young children – and leading researchers’ urgings to raise the recommended minimum seafood intake by children and pregnant or nursing mothers – from articles in the “Omega-3s & Child Development” and “Mercury Issues” sections of our newsletter archive.
U.S. EPA. What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
March 2004. Accessed at http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/outreach/advice_index.cfm
Weil A. Pregnant? Eat Fish! The Huffington Post. April 28, 2011. Accessed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/pregnant-eat-fish_b_853914.html
Weil A. Can I Eat Fish While Pregnant? April 15, 2011. Accessed at http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400910/Can-I-Eat-Fish-While-Pregnant.html