When You Eat Poison Blowfish, This Is What Happens To Your Body

According to Savor Japan, poison blowfish (also known as fugu), is a delicacy that has been eaten in Japan for hundreds of years. Notoriously poisonous, it’s been banned throughout history and it’s said that the Japanese royal family is prohibited from eating it. Nowadays, it’s a luxury that people pine to get a bite of.

Per Spoon University, dishes of poison blowfish can go up to $200. It can be eaten as sashimi or in soup. The high price comes from the fact that it must be prepared by a licensed chef (via BBC). Training to be a fugu chef can take a few years and is quite the challenge. However, it’s undeniably worth it as an incorrectly prepared blowfish can kill (per Delishably). This is due to tetrodotoxin, a dangerous poison, per the CDC.

Found in the fish’s liver, ovaries, and skin, the neurotoxin gets to work after being consumed (via NPR). According to Ranker, it has enough poison to kill 30 people. In addition, it is said to be 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide.

The poison blowfish causes paralyzation

Let’s say the chef does indeed prepare the poison blowfish incorrectly. What now? According to Delishably, tetrodotoxin immediately attacks the nervous system. First, a numbness or tingling around the mouth occurs, then paralysis, then death (via BBC). But let’s back up to what happens before the end. 

Per Ranker, while the tingling sensation spreads, it’s likely that nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea will come next. From there, the loss of motor and autonomic functions will occur, putting the victim in a zombie-like state. The worst part? Although the body will become fully paralyzed, the mind remains conscious through it all.

As the CDC explains, what actually kills is respiratory arrest. The poison paralyzes the breathing center which causes the throat to swell, thus leading the heart to stop. The onset of the poisoning can occur either in the first few minutes after consumption or hours later. 

What can be done if one believes they’ve eaten a poisonous batch of fugu? Vomit profusely and drink plenty of water. There is no known antidote. However, victims who live through the first 24 hours usually recover. If ever in Japan and someone offers this as a meal, perhaps take all of this into consideration.

70 thoughts on “When You Eat Poison Blowfish, This Is What Happens To Your Body

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