Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Jeremy Piven Overdosed on Sushi


Holy tuna! So you know the high mercury levels that Jeremy Piven cited in his decision to abruptly quit his Broadway play? It was apparently the result of … too much sushi?

“He was eating sushi twice a day and taking some Chinese herbs,” Dr. Carlon Colker, Piven’s physician and the executive officer and medical director of Peak Wellness, tells E! News. “I tested his heavy metals and his mercury was amazingly, shockingly high.”

Colker said that Piven’s mercury levels were roughly six times the amount an average body can handle. Colker said he made the diagnosis, as well as the play-exiting recommendation, after weeks of the Entourage star complaining of fatigue, with symptoms coming to a head this week.

The good doctor said the recently minted Golden Globe nominee experienced a dizzy spell and was unable to remember his lines, a one-two combo that apparently so worried the doc, he sent the actor to receive medical care.

“He was literally paralytic. He couldn’t move after the shows.”

Colker was quick to note that his recommendation to leave the play after two months, as well as Piven’s decision, did not come about lightly.

“He is someone who has been acting for three decades, 17 hours a day. He’s really been an iron horse, so this is unusual for him. He really wanted to tough this out. It’s always been his dream to be on Broadway. But sometimes, the risks outweigh the benefits.”

The risks associated with mercury poisoning run the gamut from cardiac arrest, kidney failure, psychological problems and sometimes even death.

So there you have it, kids. Next time, think twice before downing a shitload of spicy tuna rolls at happy hour. Just stick to the martinis.

Has anyone ever heard of this problem? I’ve never heard of anyone overdosing on sushi before.

41 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’m going to just go ahead and read between the lines here. By overdosing on sushi, they’re basically saying he’s been getting way too much dirty Asian vagina lately…. and I’m taking the high mercury level to mean excuse to mean that he’s had an HIV scare, but I suppose it could just be a bad case of herpes.

    • Yeah. What tess said. It’s part of why pregnant women are advised to stay away from most sushi, or at least eat it pretty seldom during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  • Well, being pregnant, I’ve been warned no to eat too much tuna, swordfish/marlin or sushi due to the high mercury levels. So it seems legit to me.

  • This happens to guys who are on high-protein diets for working out—they eat just one little can of tuna every day, and after a few weeks their bodies shut down. Little by little your body can take care of the mercury, obviously, as most people eat tuna and live to tell about it. But too much of it can clog up your pipes and tubes.

  • Ari!!!

    My dad is in charge of safety or some crap like that in a mechanical plant so he has always told me random facts about mercury and asbestos.. etcetc…
    he is like ‘yeah, there is some merc in Fish. not enough to hurt you-unless you eat too much of it.’

    well im glad it didnt kill him (which it could have..) I dont know what I would do without him on another season of Entourage

      • Pending how much of it you eat at a time, that it is. 2-3 servings per week *is* pretty much the cap of how often you should eat the larger predatory fish like salmon and tuna. But keep in mind, an actual servings is right about the size of a computer mouse or deck of cards, so it’s not uncommon to get 2-3 servings in a single portion at a restaurant.

  • I have heard of this, its one of the reasons pregnant women shouldn’t have sushi (particularly tuna). I’m a sushi whore, but I limit myself to twice a week.

  • You can definitely get too much mercury from eating a lot of tuna, especially the kind they use for sushi. Eating it twice a day is kind of nuts. But not all kinds of sushi fish are high in mercury.

  • Have to say I was thinking along the line of KLIPPER.
    Remember on Sex and the City when Samantha wasn’t allowed to say p u s s y and they substituted the word sushi. Haha

  • I’m willing to put money on the fact that it wasn’t so much the mercury in his tuna, as it was the alcohol in his vodka. Much easier to “overdose” on the booze, than the fish. I’ll go all in and say that it was the combination of booze and actual rehearsal schedule that lead to the “mercury-poisoning diagnosis.” Sushi is fabulous.

  • one of my friends used to frequent a chinese buffet more than a twice a week for the inexpensive sushi (obviously not a brilliant idea…) The restaurant manager actually came to his table and asked him not to eat the sushi every time, saying that he could get sick from the high levels of mercury in the raw fish. i doubt the place would jeopardize business if it weren’t a legitimate risk.

  • Hi. Biologist here. Most recommendations are that you should eat fish high in mercury only rarely, definitely no more than once a week, and that pregnant women and small children should not eat it at all.

    Spread the word please. Mercury poisoning can cause serious damage to the nervous system and many birth defects. I dont usually send these things around, but I have talked to quite a few marine biologists, and most agree current FDA standards underestimate the mercury risk and the biologists support mandatory warning labels on fish known to have high mercury levels.

    Here is a good website with the full report on tuna and other kinds of ocean fish. Since fish is still a good healthy food, they recommend substituting light tuna for albacore tuna (but still off limits for pregnant women and children), and suggest tilapia and mackerel as grocery store alternatives.

    • Japanese people is a bit on the vague side. However, although sushi is considered a Japanese staple, as someone else said, not all fish used in sushi are high in mercury content, or likely to be high in mercury content. You’re looking at things like tuna, salmon, swordfish, the closer to the apex-predatory fish that tend to have the high mercury levels, because they get it from all the fish *they* eat. A tiny bit adds up pretty quickly when it’s in everything you eat. Plus, not all sushi actually has fish, raw or cooked, in it. I spent a few years as a child in Okinawa, and my mom still makes sushi on occasion, but rarely does she use fish. It’s usually vegetarian when she makes it. And no, we’re most definitely not a vegan or vegetarian family. It’s just what she likes to make.

      That said. Piven? Drugs of some or multiple flavors? That wouldn’t be unsurprising.

  • I haven’t heard of someone od’ing on sushi, but I heard an interesting story.

    This dude got out of prison and he took his best friend and his girlfriend out to celebrate his regained freedom, and drank alot and decided to go to a sushi bar. When the sushi came, they started eating and the dude started complaining to the waiter about the sushi not being fresh – all the while in a drunken rage infront of the chefs. Then he walked over to a fish tank they had for decoration, and reached in and pulled out a fish declaring, “Now THIS is fresh fish!” And he gulped said little fishy down.

    About less than two minutes later, he fell to the floor, dead. Turned out the fish he grabbed was a fugu fish. Aka, the japanese puffer fish that sushi is made from in a special way because of the poison sacks contained and they have to be cut in a certain way. Japanese chefs even have to have a license to serve the fish.

    But yeah, Beet, just thought you’d like to know that’s the only fish death i ever heard of.

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