Will you die if you eat a polar bear’s liver?
If you’re hungry in the Arctic, you might want to think twice before tucking into that polar bear pâté.
Polar bears are top carnivores that bioaccumulate the vitamin A produced by marine algae lower down the food chain. Because vitamin A isn’t water-soluble, it can’t be easily flushed from the body and is stored in the liver instead. Bears and seals have generally high levels of vitamin A in their livers but polar bears have the most of any animal.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A in humans is 0.9mg, and you can get that from eating just one-tenth of a gram of the liver from a well-fed polar bear. The entire liver contains enough vitamin A to kill as many as 52 adults! If you spread it out and ate just enough to get your RDA every day, that liver would last you 143 years!
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