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Press Release: New Study Finds Mercury Pollution Is a Serious Health Risk for Those That Eat Fish

Sebastopol, CA- Although consumption of fish is widely touted by medical and nutrition experts as good for the heart and overall health, in large part due to its content of essential fatty acids, more and more medical studies are raising concerns due to toxic levels of mercury in fish. Both USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle featured this in November 2002 articles that highlighted yet another scientific study warning of the dangers of mercury in fish. The good news is that there is a healthy alternative to provide the essential fatty acids and other key nutrients recommended by leading medical experts that is becoming widely available in the U.S.: Organic Hemp Oil.

The recent fish mercury study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, demonstrates the occurrence of dangerous human mercury blood concentrations associated with fish consumption. “We found that if people eat fish, the mercury (level in their blood) goes up. They stop eating the fish, the mercury goes down,” said the author of the study, Dr. Jane Hightower, a doctor of internal medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. The subjects of the study were eating a diet high in canned tuna, salmon, swordfish, sea bass, halibut and tuna steaks. A CNN article recently reported that some fish, such as “farm-raised” fish, often contain significantly higher levels of toxins than wild fish.

Mercury pollution is an emerging environment and health problem caused by many man-made sources including coal-burning power plants and waste incinerator emissions. Mercury accumulates in the food chain, with large fish typically containing the highest amounts. Mercury can harm the human brain and the entire nervous system, contributing to behavioral problems and impairments of the immune and reproductive systems and cardiovascular disease. Federal agencies have been warning pregnant women to reduce ingestion of fish due to the potential for toxic contamination that may impair development of the baby’s brain functions. With the federal government blocking regulations to reduce toxic emissions from power plants, this health crisis will only increase in importance to Americans.

The study results have created a serious dilemma for medical experts that have supported fish consumption as a key component of a healthy diet. The findings highlight the need for toxin-free alternative foods that can substitute for the nutrient profile of fish. “Organic hemp oil is a clean and healthy fish alternative for consumers concerned about the high level of mercury and other toxic contaminants in fish,” notes John W. Roulac, Founder and President of Nutiva, America’s leading hemp food brand. “Hemp oil’s essential fatty acid profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil,” he adds. Nutiva uses certified organic, non-GMO Canadian hempseed that is grown without the use of harsh pesticides and herbicides, and therefore is free of dangerous chemical residues.

WHY “EFAS” FOUND IN HEMP & FISH ARE SO IMPORTANT FOR THE MODERN DIET

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are components of fat that humans need to be healthy, however, our bodies can’t produce them and therefore they must be obtained through the diet. EFAs come in 2 families, called omega-6 and omega-3. Medical professionals including the renowned Dr. Andrew Weil recommend hemp oil due to its ideal omega-6 to omega-3 EFA ratio. In the respected book Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, nutrition expert Udo Erasmus states, “The best-balanced plant source of EFA’s is hemp seed oil.” While health officials with the World Health Organization, Canada, Japan and Sweden recommend a 4:1 ratio, hemp oil’s 3:1 ratio is the closest of any naturally occurring oil.

It is estimated that 90% of Americans do not consume enough omega-3, known as the “good fats” doctors recommend as part of a balanced diet. Hemp oil is one of the few seed oils containing significant quantities (20%) of alpha-linolenic acid, an important omega-3 EFA. Hemp oil is also the source of a rare super omega-3 EFA called stearidonic acid (SDA) that is the “first metabolite” in the omega-3 family and therefore easy for the body to process. Omega-6 EFAs are frequently added to foods through the use of common vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, and safflower, however, many people are unable to properly utilize omega-6 oils because enzymes needed to metabolize these oils are hampered by stress, environmental toxicity or aging. Hemp oil is a unique plant source of the rare and valuable super omega-6 EFA called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that is easy for the body to process and it bypasses the enzymatic blocks to allow proper omega-6 utilization. GLA is the key regulator of T-lymphocyte functions in the immune system and is involved in cell metabolism and growth.

There are other vegetable-based alternatives that also deliver EFAs. Flax oil is widely recognized as a valuable nutritional supplement, primarily because it contains more than 50% omega-3. But unlike hemp, it has somewhat overpowering taste and hemp oil is more stable and has double the shelf life of flax. Hemp’s emerald green oil has a “nutty” flavor and is great for use in salad dressings, pasta, veggies, sauces, dips and smoothies.

NUTIVA – NOURISHING PEOPLE & PLANET

Nutiva uses the finest non-GMO organic ingredients and donates 1% of sales to groups that promote sustainable agriculture. Founded in 1999, Nutiva offers nutritious hemp and flax food bars, hemp oil and capsules, and shelled hempseed. More than 1,200 natural food retailers, including Whole Foods Markets and Wild Oats, offer Nutiva’s products nationwide. For more information, please call 1-800-993-4367.

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