Shark fin soup may contain toxins leading to Alzheimer’s disease, study says

By on Feb 24, 2012 in Animals, Food, Health, World Comments

The notably expensive shark fin soup may contain toxins that can harm humans and may lead to diseases such as Alzheimer‘s, according to a new research conducted in the United States.

Bottled shark fins
Image Credit: Marcus Yam/The New York Times

As noted at Live Science on Thursday, February 23, 2012, a recent study showed that consuming shark fin soup is not only causing the fish to be extinct but can also cause sickness to its consumers.

According to the report, the latest analysis of shark fins from the waters of Florida revealed that it has high concentration of β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxin that has been linked to Lou Gehrig‘s and Alzheimer‘s disease.

“The concentrations of BMAA in the samples are a cause for concern, not only in shark fins soup but also in dietary supplements and other forms ingested by humans,” Deborah Mash, co-author of the study, was quoted in a statement.

Mash, who is also director of the University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank, and her co-authors used seven species of sharks in their study, which includes blacknose, blacktip, bonnethead, bull, great hammerhead, lemon and nurse sharks.

The study, which was published at journal Marine Drugs, revealed that the BMAA concentrations that were found in their samples ranges from 144 to 1,838 nanograms per milligram, which were noted to be similar with the ones found in the brains of patients with Lou Gehrig‘s and Alzheimer‘s disease.

Meanwhile, a separate report at said that studies show that shark has among the highest levels of toxic mercury, which can be very hazardous to the consumer’s health, in contrast to some claims that it has a lot of health benefits.

With this, the report noted that various organizations around the world, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), have recognized mercury as a dangerous neurotoxin especially to pregnant women, women who plan to become pregnant, and even to children.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported earlier that New York state legislators filed a bill banning the sale trading, possession and distribution of shark fins possible in 2013, in which California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are now implementing.

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