Popular podcaster Joe Rogan said he had arsenic in his blood after eating too many sardines.
He told Elon Musk in a recent podcast episode that he was eating three cans of sardines a night.
A dietitian said sardines in moderation are a cheap, convenient source of protein and healthy fats.
Podcaster, comedian, and UFC commentator Joe Rogan said eating too many sardines caused him to inadvertently "poison" himself with arsenic, a contaminant that can potentially cause serious health symptoms and even cancer.
In a recent episode of his podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience," featuring guest Elon Musk, the conversation turned to environmental contaminants, including mercury poisoning from eating tuna.
"You can get arsenic from sardines, too," Rogan said "I found that out the hard way."
Rogan told Musk that he initially thought someone was poisoning him when blood testing revealed he had arsenic in his blood.
While there was something fishy going on, it wasn't a mysterious assailant. Rogan said his doctor identified low levels of arsenic in his blood, and ultimately determined that Rogan's nightly sardine habits were the culprit.
Research has previously found sardines can be prone to arsenic contamination, and a case study documented arsenic poisoning in a 45-year-old man who had symptoms like headache and sensitivity to noise and light after "heavy consumption" of sardines.
Rogan said he had gotten into the habit of eating "three cans" of sardines a night as an easy meal after coming home late from the comedy club.
"That's a lot of sardines, man," Musk replied.
The polarizing podcast host is no stranger to getting into the dirty details of some of his eating habits. Rogan has previously experimented with the "carnivore diet" focused on eating nothing but meat (sometimes with fruit and/or honey). He shared with followers that his initial experience involved explosive diarrhea.
He said that he successfully recovered from sardine-related health scare by cutting back on the fish.
"I got my bloodwork done a couple of months later and it was gone," Rogan said.
Sardines are a good source of protein and healthy fat, a dietitian says
Once relegated to a pungent punchline in comic strips and sitcoms, small, oily canned fish like anchovies and sardines are having a major cultural moment.
Driven by eye-catching TikToks and even a viral luxury store in Times Square, the tinned fish trend is prompting a new generation to revisit the simple pleasure of seafood in a can.
Bianca Tamburello, registered dietitian at FRESH Communications, previously told Insider that she's been eating tinned fish since before they were cool, and they've become popular for good reason.
"I really love the trend," she said. "At the beginning of the pandemic, the first thing I bought was tinned fish because it's cheap, has a long shelf life, and lots of health benefits."
Along with being a good source of protein, sardines and other tinned fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve heart health and lower inflammation.
Influencers tout convenience and affordability as other major benefits of enjoying the tinned fish trend.
To safely enjoy seafood of any variety, the FDA recommends eating it in moderation and avoiding varieties prone to high levels of contaminants, including mercury and arsenic.
Sardines, along with salmon, shrimp, and light tuna, are considered a safer choice for eating two to three times per week. Seafood such as mahi mahi, halibut, and snapper are recommended to eat once per week.
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