Earlier this year I reviewed Dr. Jane Hightower’s Diagnosis: Mercury, the story of her making the connection between a mysterious illness and mercury-contaminated fish.
Patients who’d eaten enough toxic fish to have a mercury blood level above 5 micrograms per liter came to her with a long list of complaints, including:
upper arm muscle atrophy
These symptoms would scare almost anyone. For a professional athlete who depends on being at peak performance, however, they’d be devastating.
In this recent interview with GQ Magazine, famed French soccer player Mathieu Flamini reveals how becoming vegan saved him from the consequences of a fish-heavy diet.
He decided to stop eating red meat, Mathieu says, after discovering that it was “… having a negative impact on my muscles… increasing my muscle injury.”
He replaced the burgers and steaks with fish — until he saw a documentary mentioning the fish/mercury poisoning connection.
It worried him so much, he says on Hector Bellerin’s More Than a Footballer podcast, that he decided to have his blood tested.
His doctor’s report a few weeks later was alarming. “‘You’re scaring me… I mean, your mercury is 10 times higher than normal! You are… intoxicating yourself. You have to stop eating fish right away.’”
Looking back, he tells Bellerin:
“…I used to eat a lot of meat, because… I was still like in this state of mind [that] eating a lot of meat [was] going to build more muscle! All that is also outdated… something we used to believe 10 years ago… I’m sorry to say, but that is bullshit!”
Keep in mind that Mathieu is a 36-year-old athlete who’s played a soccer game on the world stage every three days for the past ten years. Knowing he had to choose the best diet for quick recovery and mental sharpness, which did he pick?
A plant-based diet! “I’ve stopped animal protein, fish, and I’m just eating fruit and vegetables. It gives me so much energy.”
Vegan Mathieu also credits his new way of eating with faster recovery times between games. Best of all, he’s “stopped being injured!”