Fish, Histamine and Mercury

fish and histamine intoleranceAs far as histamine is concerned, I am able to eat fresh fish, if I buy it the day it arrives at our local Whole Foods. For more information on that, read my post Histamine Intolerance and Fish. I haven’t been able to reliably eat frozen fish. Sometimes it works for me, most of the time it doesn’t.

Recently, I decided to try a brand of salmon that was frozen at sea. I purchased a 5 ounce portion from our local health food store and cooked it, from frozen, for breakfast. (Yes, I eat fish for breakfast–don’t judge me :-) .) I ate 2.5 ounces and within an hour I started to feel unwell. I ended up with a wicked headache for most of the day. Fortunately, that was my major symptom and it was pretty much confined to that day.

A few days later, I was at my local Whole Foods and bought some fresh, wild caught salmon that had arrived at the store that day. I froze what I didn’t eat and I’ve been able to eat that salmon just fine. So, it seems that the histamine content of really fresh fish is low enough for me to tolerate but the histamine content of frozen fish is too high for me to tolerate.

But, as it turns out, I won’t be eating any fish, even if it is fresh, for quite some time. Recently I saw my doctor and requested a blood test for mercury in addition to my annual lipid panel. Since I eat fish often, I wanted to make sure my mercury levels were doing OK. I thought for sure they would be because I primarily eat low mercury fish (sole and salmon). But, I do eat opah occasionally and that fish is higher in mercury. For more information, read my post on Mercury in Seafood.

My blood mercury came back at 25 mcg/L and normal values are <11!!!!  I was pretty shocked by this, given I wasn’t eating much of the fish that is considered high in mercury. Well it’s good to find that out (even though it was a shocker) and I can do something about it (stop eating fish)!

Hopefully, my blood mercury level will drop with time. If not, we will be looking for another reason for this abnormal lab finding!