Mussels - fertility friend or foe?

I got a great question from one of the ladies in my online fertility coaching group about a recommendation I made last week.

"Although I love mussels a lot, do you think is it safe to eat them? I've read articles about how poisony they could be because of the sea pollution.  What do you think?"

Shellfish are surprisingly a great source of fertility boosting nutrients such as zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, copper, Vit B-12, magnesium, and protein.

Since shellfish are filter feeders, people think of physical filters, the type we use like an air filter in the car or vent ducts.  Physical filters accumulate the stuff we don't want and are then thrown out.  

However, shellfish aren't physical filters.  They process toxins by converting the harmful compounds to inactive derivatives and expel them.   It’s true that if they reside in waters rich in heavy metals and industrial contaminants (like PCB or dioxins), some of those metals and contaminants will show up in the meat, but that applies to any sea creature. In fact, shellfish are some of the safest, least contaminated farmed seafood whenever they’re tested.

A part of the concern might stem from mussel poisoning due to toxic planktonic organisms along some coastlines. For instance, mussels should be avoided along the west coast of the United States during the warmer months. This poisoning is usually due to a bloom of dinoflagellates (red tides), which contain toxins. The dinoflagellates and their toxin are harmless to mussels, even when concentrated by the mussel's filter feeding, but if the mussels are consumed by humans, the concentrated toxins cause serious illness, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning.  But ethical farmers wouldn't sell these anyway.

So, go ahead, and eat shellfish (as long as you're not allergic to them).  People generally don't eat them on a regular basis.  They're more of a "treat" so enjoy them when you can.  And take advantage of all their surprising fertility enhancing nutrients.

As part of the online fertility coaching program opening up in November, I'll unpack some of the other surprising fertility-enhancing foods you probably never thought of.  Don't go anywhere lest you miss the grand opening!

Julie Chang,
Natural Fertility Eggspurt

The Real Deal:

  • Natural Fertility Coach
  • Licensed Fertility Acupuncturist for 18 years
  • Master in Traditional Oriental Medicine, Magna Cum Laude
  • B.S. Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, UCLA

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