EDF Mercury Expert Kritee, PhD answers a reader’s question:
Reader Question: Does drinking green tea remove mercury from the body? I read an article about a group of indigenous people that ate mostly fish and had low mercury levels. Their only drink was green tea, and it was believed the green tea was cleansing them of mercury. Since that’s all they drank, and they drank that everyday, they had no mercury accumulation. Is there any truth to this?
Kritee: This is exaggerated. Diet does have an effect on how much mercury ends up passing through our gut into our bloodstream. People have done studies to show that chemical compounds in green tea called catechins, minerals such as selenium, and thiols from herbs like coriander can bind mercury and can protect a little from mercury’s toxicity, but none of these can act as absolute protectors. Sometimes home remedies like these can release mercury from one part of the body only to accumulate it another part of the body and make it more soluble in the blood and thus more dangerous to our overall health. They should not be consumed mindlessly and someone with deeper knowledge of how mercury chemistry functions in the body should be consulted before trying to treat oneself.
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