How Tony Robbins Almost Died By Eating Fish

It seems everyone is eating more fish these days. From the pescatarian diet to the Mediterranean diet, many different meal plans promote fish consumption as a great way to get more protein. And doctors have plenty to say about the health benefits of eating fish: seafood contains many essential vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and, of course, protein (via Healthline). Studies have even shown that increased fish consumption can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack, improve depression symptoms, and protect against autoimmune diseases.

But consumption of fish can have its risks, too, a point Tony Robbins made in an interview with Men's Journal. Robbins, an author and motivational speaker, built his own life-coaching business in the 1980s, according to Britannica. Over his career, he's held seminars, worked on infomercials and DVDs, written five books, and even hosted a 2010 TV show. But even he doesn't know the answers to everything, something made evident by his diet-related brush with death.

The dangers of eating too much fish

Robbins had decided it was time for a dietary change. In lieu of his usual vegan diet, he started eating more fish, especially tuna and swordfish, according to Men's Journal. It didn't take long for the diet to start affecting him — but not in a good way. Robbins found himself sick with a severe case of mercury poisoning. "I almost died," he said of the incident, which turned him off fish.

Unfortunately, his experience is all too common. Eating seafood is the most common cause of mercury poisoning, according to Healthline. This is because industrial waste runoff can result in high levels of mercury in lakes or other water sources, which in turn leads to high levels of mercury in fish. Some fish are especially likely to contain mercury, including the tuna and swordfish in Robbins' seafood-heavy diet. Other types of seafood, like salmon, shrimp, and anchovies, are safer, but even these shouldn't be eaten more than once or twice a week.

If you're worried you might have mercury poisoning, keep an eye out for symptoms like lack of coordination, muscle weakness, and vision changes. Mercury has particularly worrisome complications in kids or pregnant women, so be especially careful about any changes in behavior.