« November 2007 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Pass the selenium
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
November 01, 2007
Millions of dollars have been spent worldwide over the past
two decades researching the health benefits associated with
seafood consumption. Despite all of the studies, the message
consumers continue to hear is to avoid seafood because it's
high in methylmercury. Now there are two landmark studies (see
Newsline, p. 8) that could debunk the groundswell of
mercury-in-seafood misinformation that has many pregnant and
nursing women avoiding an essential protein.
Dr. Nicholas Ralston, a researcher at the Energy and
Environmental Research Center at the University of North
Dakota, has published two studies that show selenium in seafood
counteracts the negative effects of methylmercury. We first
heard from Ralston when he was a panelist at the SeaFood
Business Summit, "Methylmercury: Combating the scare" at the
2005 International Boston Seafood Show.
We next reported on
selenium in the December 2005 Top Story "Medical miracle:
omega-3." Now that Ralston's research has been finished and the
findings officially published, it's time to get the news out
to the rest of the world.
The only problem with the selenium story is that it may fall
on deaf ears. The industry took a beating when news outlets
reported the results of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy
Babies Coalition recommendation early last month (see Newsline,
p. 8) that pregnant and nursing women eat a minimum of 12
ounces of seafood each week. It wasn't the industry's fault the
news outlets didn't ask the basic question of whether the
industry had any financial connection to the recommendation.
Look at any industry with a lobbying arm and you'll find the
same scenario: It takes money and the right people
to get your
message heard. Unfortunately, that negative impression likely
doomed the Healthy Mothers advice and could overshadow the good
news within these selenium studies.
The industry needs to overcome this latest PR fiasco and
start talking about selenium. This research has the potential
to upset decades of health recommendations that have only gone
halfway in support
of increased seafood consumption. Start
talking with scientists, nutritionists, government policy
makers and anyone else about Ralston's studies: It's high time
the anti-mercury story was told.