Article is [not] wrong to advise pregnant women to eat swordfish.

A TIME Magazine article lists swordfish as a natural source of vitamin D when reporting research that associated low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy and higher levels of body fat in her child.  However, pregnant women should not eat swordfish due to its high methylmercury content 

Nope. It’s EHN that is entirely wrong here. Pregnant women should not worry about the activist myths of immense mercury danger – it doesn’t exist unless you could eat several hundred pounds of commercially available oily fish each and every day. Mom & bub are both better off with a high fish diet. The great mercury scam is actually a facet of the attack on cheap and abundant energy (“dirty” coal), just as the fabricated fears over fracking are now. Misanthropic greenies do not want you to thrive.

A TIME magazine article highlights new research showing low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are associated with greater child body fat at age 6. Reporter Alexandra Sifferlin should not have included swordfish at the top of the list of foods that are natural sources of vitamin D for pregnant women.

Swordfish contain high levels of methylmercury. Pregnant women – who are the article’s target audience – should not eat the fish to avoid exposure to the toxic substance. Prenatal and early childhood methylmercury exposure is associated with impaired nervous system development. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “harmful effects [of methylmercury] that may be passed from the mother to the developing fetus include brain damage, mental retardation, lack of coordination, blindness, seizures, and an inability to speak.”

The warnings are not new. In 2004, a joint statement about mercury in fish and shellfish was released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. The advisory explicitly told women who are or may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children not to eat species with high levels of methylmercury, including swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish. Instead, these groups should eat fish with lower levels, such as shrimp, salmon, pollock and catfish. These fish varieties are also good sources of high-quality protein and other essential nutrients

The article provides a link to a U.S. National Institutes of Health vitamin D fact sheet, which contains important and useful information about the nutrient’s role in health, recommended dietary allowance and a list of 13 food sources. The list covers a variety of foods from fortified dairy and cereal products to canned tuna, sockeye salmon, and swordfish. While all of these products may be good sources of vitamin D, they are not all appropriate foods for Sifferlin’s target audience. Swordfish, in particular, was an unfortunate food to single out.

This TIME article should have put information about vitamin D in a context relevant to women of reproductive age. The role of prenatal health effects of vitamin D is still under investigation but the prenatal health effects of methylmercury are well established. In short, pregnant women should not be told to eat swordfish. Other fish with both a natural source of vitamin D and lower mercury content could have been highlighted instead.

EHN

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3 responses to “Article is [not] wrong to advise pregnant women to eat swordfish.

  1. I’d recommend removing the sword from the swordfish before eating it (the fish, not the sword), even if one’s not pregnant.

  2. Like most MSM, Time does not check their facts or do any real investigative reporting, or even objective reporting. I don’t buy the magazine, I don’t read it either, and I never see the advertisements. I stopped a long time ago because they are in every way just pure crap.

    • In the late 80s, the consultants convinced business to get rid of their middle management. In the press business, this meant cut editors. Much of what is printed now is not reviewed. Perry White is dead.

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