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Toxin in seafood causes kidney damage in mice at levels considered safe for consumption

by Torrey Smith, ND

Shellfish toxin from algae blooms can cause serious kidney damage at levels 100 times LOWER than the levels that cause the more well known neurological effects.   Domoic acid toxin is cleared by the kidneys so especially those with kidney problems need to be cautious about seafood.      Also,  those with iron overload from the genetic defect hemochromatosis need to avoid Vibrio infection which occurs mostly in warm water shellfish such as mexico in the summer.  

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Toxin in seafood causes kidney damage in mice at levels considered safe for consumption

Date: from science news 

February 7, 2014

Source:

American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

Research indicates that humans who consume seafood may be at an increased risk of kidney damage possibly leading to kidney failure and dialysis.

A chemical that can accumulate in seafood and is known to cause brain damage is also toxic to the kidneys, but at much lower concentrations. The findings, which come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), suggest that officials may need to reconsider what levels of the toxin are safe for human consumption.

The world's oceans contain algae that produce certain chemicals that can be harmful to humans and other living creatures. Many of these chemicals are considered neurotoxins because they cause damage to the brain. The neurotoxin domoic acid, also called "Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning," is a very stable, heat resistant toxin that is becoming more prominent in coastal regions, likely due to environmental changes. It can accumulate in mussels, clams, scallops, and fish, and the FDA has set a legal limit of domoic acid in seafood based primarily on its adverse neurological effects.

Because domoic acid is cleared from the body by the kidneys, P. Darwin Bell, PhD, Jason Funk, PhD (Medical University of South Carolina), and their colleagues looked to see if the toxin might also have detrimental effects on these organs. By giving mice varying doses of domoic acid and the assessing animals' kidney health, the team found that the kidney is much more sensitive to this toxin than the brain.

"We have found that domoic acid damages kidneys at concentrations that are 100 times lower than what causes neurological effects," said Dr. Bell. "This means that humans who consume seafood may be at an increased risk of kidney damage possibly leading to kidney failure and dialysis." While the findings need to be verified in humans, the researchers would like to see increased awareness and monitoring of domoic acid levels in all seafood. They say that the FDA may also need to reconsider the legal limit of domoic acid in food due to its kidney toxicity.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

1.     P. Darwin Bell, PhD, Jason Funk, PhD et al. Characterization of Renal Toxicity in Mice Administered the Marine Biotoxin Domoic Acid. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, February 2014

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I came to Avante about 8 months ago when I was looking for a doctor after moving to Alaska, my husband and I saw Dr. Jana.  We were pleased with the office and esp. the care we received from Dr. Jana. It feels good to leave a doctors office not loaded down with lists of new medicines but  positive thoughts of lifestyle changes that will produce better health.
I started seeing Tina at the first of November and two days after the first acupuncture treatment I was in the least amount of pain in over 25 years.  Believe me I have tried many different medical treatments some with more success than others.  I am so encouraged to look forward to more mobility and greater health! I feel younger and more energetic. Thank you Avante.  I also love the patient portal and have found that the staff always responds to my online questions.

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