Just a few days after writing the entry on Dr. Weil’s avoiding beef because cows are large and at the top of the food chain and instead eating fish I came across an interview with Jyrki K. Virtanen, PhD, RD, a nutritional epidemiologist from the University of Kuopio, Research Institute of Public Health, Finland working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Virtanen, who is studying the effects of mercury on cardiovascular disease, was asked what can be done to prevent mercury accumulation in our tissues?
Since the major source of mercury, especially the most harmful form methylmercury, for humans is fish, the natural reaction would be to avoid eating fish. However, since fish is a very important source of nutrients and considering its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, this would not be a wise decision. In fact, most people do not include fish in their diet often enough. The best is to avoid regular consumption of large, old predatory fish which eat other fish and that way accumulate mercury over the years.[my italics]
Dr. Virtanen was asked later in the interview: Are there any dietary or nutraceutical approaches to reducing mercury body burden?
I would say the best option is to avoid the regular consumption of old, large predatory fish, especially from waterways with known high mercury content. A drop in the dietary intake of mercury would lead to a drop in the body burden of mercury over time.
So maybe Dr. Weil would be a little more heart health conscious if he ate beef, which is low on the food chain, than by eating, say, tuna, a large, predatory fish, full of mercury.
My wife has given me grief for bashing Dr. Weil because I did once learn something of real value from him. So, in the interest of fairness, I’ll fess up. I read Dr. Weil’s first book, Spontaneous Healing, and learned about craniosacral therapy therein. In one of the early chapters he wrote about a Dr. Fulford who used craniosacral therapy to treat a host of disorders. I had never heard of craniosacral therapy so I checked it out. It is an alternative therapy that many mainstream physicians don’t buy into. Since I learned about it, I’ve seen the dramatic results of this therapy not in myself (I’ve never been treated) but in a number of others I’ve recommended it to, including my grandson. Had I not read about it in Dr. Weil’s book, and had he not intrigued me enough to find out more about it, I would probably still be unaware of an extremely efficacious treatment modality. For that I offer him my profound thanks.
I have ordered Dr. Weil’s new book and will read it as soon as it arrives. I’ll post a full report when I’m finished.