New study shows chemical in seafood is toxic to kidneys

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 10:39 am | Updated: 2:50 pm, Mon Feb 10, 2014.

A new study shows that a chemical in seafood known to cause brain damage is also toxic to the kidneys, but at much lower concentrations.

The neurotoxin domoic acid can be found in fish, clams, scallops and mussels, and is responsible for causing Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. The heat resistant and very stable toxin is becoming more noticeable in the coastal regions. Since the acid is expelled from the body through the kidneys, researchers looked to see if it might also have damaging effects on the organ. Then, they gave mice doses of domoic acid and found that the kidney was much more sensitive to the acid than the brain.

"We have found that domoic acid damages kidneys at concentrations that are 100 times lower than what causes neurological effects,” study author, P. Darwin Bell, PhD, was quoted as saying. “Although the findings still need to be validated in humans, the researchers want to see heightened awareness and monitoring of domoic acid levels in all seafood. They also say the FDA may need to reconsider the legal limit of domoic acid allowed in food because of its kidney toxicity.”

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