Health Briefs


The Most Toxic Item on The Menu: Atlantic Salmon

Understanding PCBs and Diabetes

by Dr. Doug Cutler

The Most Toxic Item on The Menu: Atlantic Salmon, Image:

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) like Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) have been shown to increase obesity, metabolic syndrome, mitochondrial dysfunction and diabetes.

Studies from the United States and Japan show that individuals with high levels of PCBs were at risk of blood sugar dysfunction 5 to 8 times higher than people with low levels of PCBs. A long-term study here in Michigan showed women with higher levels of PCBs had twice the rate of diabetes than women with low levels of PCBs.

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What is the greatest source of exposure to these environmental toxicants? Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), the most toxic item on the menu and what I consider to be the most toxic food on the planet. High in PCBs, chlorinated pesticides, antibiotics and disease prone, nothing healthy about it!

The next time you visit your favorite restaurant or grocery store, know that all Atlantic salmon is farmed raised, so if it is labeled on the restaurant menu as Atlantic salmon or simply “salmon” you know it is farmed. Other names for farmed salmon include Norwegian, British Columbia, Chilean and some spring/Chinook salmon. If it isn’t labeled, you can’t always be certain without asking the retailer or restaurant.

What about wild Alaska salmon? Eat up! Even though all fish have some levels of toxicants, wild salmon have lowers levels of total PCBs, but the PCBs are more water soluble so far less toxic than the PCBs found in farmed raised salmon.

Dr. Doug Cutler practices at Cutler Integrative Medicine in Southfield, MI. For questions, call 248-663-0165 or visit

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