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Roughly what frequency of fish, tuna, or salmon consumption would cause you to order a metal toxicity lab?

Tracey O’Shea: Okay, and then you said “Roughly what frequency of fish, tuna, or salmon consumption would cause you to order a metal toxicity lab?”

That’s a good question. There’s just a lot of factors here. I think one would be what type of fish are they consuming? Because tuna compared to salmon is going to have different levels of mercury, right? Tunas are much larger fish and [are] thought to be higher in mercury where[as] salmon is lower and [does] not [have] as much. That’s one thing to consider is what type of fish they’re consuming and, like you mentioned, how often, and then the other thing to consider is the patient’s ability to detox mercury. We’ve had patients [who] eat sushi every day, and I thought for sure their heavy metal testing would be off the charts, and for whatever reason, genetically or their detoxification system is great, on the Quicksilver Blood Metals Panel or the Quicksilver Tri-Test, I should say, their excretion ability is perfect. So even though they’re eating a bunch of mercury-containing fish, their levels really aren’t as high as expected because [their] ability to detox the mercury out of their body is good where there [are] other patients who don’t eat it very often, but their detoxification ability is impaired, and so the build-up of mercury is much higher for them, so I think it’s hard to use fish consumption frequency as the biggest driving force of when to test. So I would say that if the patient does not have any amalgam fillings or never had amalgam fillings, so they don’t have a risk factor of exposure to inorganic mercury, and they don’t eat any fish, even just, like, salmon once a week is probably fine, then it may not be high on your priority list of things to do. It may be phase 3 of testing. So if you’ve gone through all the more low-lying fruit nutrient imbalances, gut infections, methylation improvement, and then things still are not better, then I would then do metal toxicity testing because there are also other things to consider like lead for people who are in 30s, 40s, [and] 50s [because] there was a lot of lead exposure that was not regulated. I don’t want to get too deep into the woods on heavy metals because there’s a lot of different nuances and different ways to test, but in answer to your question, I think that you kind of have to use your clinical judgment here with frequency of consumption. I would say that if someone told me that they have sushi every day, and it’s tuna and it’s a high-mercury fish, I would definitely test. If someone is having salmon a few times a week and they don’t have any other risk factors for metal toxicity, then I probably would not put testing high on my list. I would still do it, I would still test, but it would probably be a little bit later down the road—once I’m sure that I have looked for and addressed some of the other low-lying fruits.

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