The area of concern includes the Caribbean Sea, Hawaii, and coastal Central America. The toxin has the highest concentrations in fish visceral and sex organs.
Ciguatera toxin is harmless to fish, but poisonous to humans. Eating ciguatera-contaminated tropical or subtropical fish is the main way that humans are exposed to the toxin.
The toxin activates voltage-dependent sodium channels causing symptoms in human (and other mammals) gastrointestinal, cardiac, and nerve tissues. There are about 50,000 reported poisonings worldwide per year, but rarely cause death; children have more severe symptoms (see below).
Eating ciguatera toxin contaminated fish result in the following symptoms: Severe cases of ciguatera poisoning may result in shortness of breath, salivation, tearing, chills, rashes, itching, and paralysis.
Some investigators have suggested vomiting should be induced if the victim is awake and alert and has eaten ciguatera toxin-containing fish within the last 3 to 4 hours. Activated charcoal may absorb the toxin if done 3 to 4 hours after ingestion.
Amitriptyline (Email, Ended) and gabapentin (Neurontin, Raise, Horizon) may help reduce neural pain symptoms Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and hydroxyzine (Atari, Vistaril) may help relieve itching. NSAID's and acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) may reduce pain Avoid alcohol, fish, nuts, and nut oils after exposure to ciguatera toxin because they may trigger recurrent symptoms.
The burning, itchy rash did not appear till the next morning…by that time the upset stomach part was subsiding, but these other problems…what was going on? As to the other bizarre symptoms, he said that he had no idea and that I should concentrate on stopping the diarrhea.
The reason that my doc had no idea is that this is a fairly unknown disease in the U.S. except for South Florida, BUT, it’s getting more prevalent in our country as more fish species are being imported and waters around the world are becoming warmer. Other culprits besides black, yellow fin and dusty grouper are: barracuda, amber jack, king mackerel, cuber snapper, dog snapper and hog fish.
If you would like to read more information about ciguatera written in a more scientific way, you can read this from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also this warning from the World Health Organization. Here is a very comprehensive essay by Professor J. Learn, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Australia on the neurology of ciguatera.
Sunday Supper Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe It’s incredibly important to get ample omega-3 fatty acids, and certain fish can serve as potent sources.
But due to issues like mining, sewage and fossil fuel emissions, heavy metals like mercury are winding up in the water and building up in our fish. Unfortunately, low-level mercury poisoning from contaminated seafood is a real threat and can lead to devastating effects on health.
In fact, the shift to eating more farmed fish like tilapia is leading to highly inflammatory diets, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers say tilapia is one of the most widely consumed fish in America.
Sustaining high levels of inflammation in the body can worsen symptoms of autoimmune disorders and may be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. If you must eat this fish, avoid tilapia from China, where farming practices are particularly worrisome.
In 2014, Oceana, the largest ocean conservation group in the world, conducted an investigation using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service. They found that commercial fishermen in the U.S. throw about 2 billion pounds of “by catch” overboard each year.
According to the report, if you’ve eaten U.S. halibut, there’s a good chance it came from this damaging fishery. Without further protection and enforcement of existing efforts, we may forever lose one of the biggest, most interesting fishes in the world.
Now common on menus around the U.S., Chilean sea bass overfishing has left this species in serious trouble. Furthermore, harvesting the fish from Chile is also plagued by poor management and by catch problems.
Eel Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch places eel on the “Avoid” list on its sushi guide because it’s slow to mature and has been overfished in many parts of the world, bringing some populations to collapse. In the Delaware River, for instance, eels are an integral part of spreading mussel populations that serve as natural water filters.
Aside from the issues with overfishing, eels tend to readily absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCs) and flame retardants. What’s more, studies show that farmed salmon is more likely to contain harmful contaminants like PCs, which are pollutants linked to insulin resistance, obesity, cancer and stroke.
In 2009, Italian researchers discovered that 4-hexylresorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discoloration in shrimp that could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women. Shrimp farm ponds are also treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides such as malachite green, rote none and organic compounds, all of which can have detrimental effects on health.
Plus, an Associated Press investigation uncovered a slavery network in Thailand dedicated to peeling shrimp sold around the world. In 2007, Thailand alone exported about $1.24 billion to the United States, according to Food and Water Watch.
Although Alaskan king crab legs legally can only be called that if they’re harvested from Alaska, widespread mislabeling is the norm. Generally known as “slime head” within the scientific community, seafood marketers had other ideas for this fish and gave the species a more appetizing name.
Beyond that, the orange roughly is also known to have higher mercury levels, which can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts. But apart from that, most shark species, which are slow to mature and don’t have a lot of offspring, are severely depleted.
Often referred to as Hon Mauro on sushi menus, this simply means blue fin tuna, which should be avoided at all costs. A better sushi choice would be fatso/skip jack tuna caught through Pacific troll or pole and line methods only.
Aside from the obvious population collapse and extinction threat, this is also a large predatory fish that harbors higher levels of mercury. In fact, the mercury in this fish is so high that the Environmental Defense Fund recommends women and children avoid it altogether.
That’s certainly the case with king mackerel, as the Food and Drug Administration warns women and children to outright avoid it. You may want to avoid Spanish mackerel, too, which has also been shown to harbor elevated mercury levels.
Luckily, Atlantic mackerel is high in omega-3s, low in mercury and is rated a top choice in terms of health and sustainability. In 2015, an investigation found that more than a third of 19 restaurants in Atlanta sold fantasies (also known as “Vietnamese catfish”) as grouper.
In addition to being rich in heart-healthy fats, salmon is a great source of protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium. Atlantic mackerel This oily fish is also high in health omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein, niacin, selenium and vitamin B12.
Finding safer seafood can be challenging and requires you to consider many factors, including sustainability, nutritional value, mercury levels and the risk of contamination with pollutants, pesticides or harmful chemicals. Finally, when you do eat fish, opt for things like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Pacific sardines and Atlantic mackerel.