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The Daily Tonic: The Prescription Drug Pandemic, Marvelous Mayo, And More

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

This has been a little bit of a theme lately, but the statistics seem to suggest that the only thing Americans love more than baseball, hot dogs, and fireworks… are prescription drugs. 

There are nearly 5 billion medications prescribed annually in the U.S alone, and the average American takes about 12 prescriptions per year. I am no expert, but that seems excessive. Now, while the amount of drugs we take is concerning, that is not exactly the topic we are covering today. 

You see, not all of those drugs actually get consumed by us humans. Unfortunately, a lot of these pills end up in our waterways. Remember every scene from every movie where the main character is trying to dramatically get rid of some pills? No one ever throws them in the trash or finds a way to dispose of them responsibly. They always flush them down the toilet or send them down the drain.

And it just so turns out that that is actually what happens in real life as well.

Do prescription pills in the water mean we shouldn’t eat fish?

According to a recent study out of Florida, these drugs are ending up in the water with more frequency. As a result, our fish are ingesting them, too. The study took samples from 93 bonefish in Florida and found that every single sample collected contained traces of pharmaceutical drugs.

That’s right—every single sample collected. The researchers also took samples from 125 animals that bonefish prey on, such as shrimp, crabs and smaller fish. Again, every sample contained an average of 11 pharmaceutical contaminants.

So what kind of drugs are getting into these fish’s diets? The usual suspects of American consumption—antidepressants, blood pressure medication, and painkillers mostly. 

Now before you write off fish as another food you have to worry about, let’s get to the nuance of this discussion. While it is far from ideal for these drugs to be getting into our waterways and into the fish, there is no evidence that the levels of these contaminants make it dangerous for us to eat fish. 

The key takeaway? Wild caught fish can be a great way to add high quality protein and fat into your diet from a nutritious whole food source. Some people may try to use this latest study to scare you away from fish and towards ultra processed alternatives, but that is simply not the answer.

Should we do something about the 5 billion prescriptions we fill every year? Yes. Should we educate people on how to dispose of these drugs correctly? Yes. Should you now avoid fish in your diet? No.

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