New research from the University of Miami (UM) demonstrates that restricting consumption of shark products not only protects shark populations but would also have a positive impact on human health.
Researchers found high concentrations of toxins linked to neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s and ALS) in the fins and muscles of 10 shark species.
“Since sharks are predators, living higher up in the food web, their tissues tend to accumulate and concentrate toxins, which may not only pose a threat to shark health, but also put human consumers of shark parts at a health risk,” lead author and UM research assistant professor Neil Hammerschlag said in a news release.
While shark products aren’t that popular in the U.S., consumption of fins, cartilage, and meat are high in Asia. Sharks are considered a delicacy in many Asian communities and are used in traditional Chinese medicine in others.
“Our results suggest that humans who consume shark parts may be at a risk for developing neurological diseases.” said senior author and Professor of Neurology, Deborah Mash .
“People should be aware and consider restricting consumption of shark parts. Limiting the consumption of shark parts will have positive health benefits for consumers and positive conservation outcomes for sharks, many of which are threatened with extinction due in part to the growing high demand for shark fin soup and, to a lesser extent, for shark meat and cartilage products,” said Hammerschlag.
To learn more:
- Read the UM news release: Study Finds Shark Fins & Meat Contain High Levels of Neurotoxins Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
- Read the full study: Cyanobacterial Neurotoxin BMAA and Mercury in Sharks
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