Many people consume fish because of the mistaken idea that it is good for you.  While this can be true, in many situations this is just not the case.  There are several concerns when it comes to fish intake that you need to be aware of.

First is the difference between farm raised and wild caught.  Do NOT eat farm raised.  Period.  It is higher in omega 6 fats because they are usually fed corn and soy based diets, in stark contrast to wild caught salmon that eat a diet of algae, krill, zooplankton and small fish.  Many people think they are eating salmon because it is high in good fat, but unless they are ensuring that the fish is wild caught, they are mistaken.

It is clear that farm raised fish are higher in pesticides and other contaminants, which, without saying anything further, is a BAD thing.

The beautiful pink color of wild caught salmon is due to the carotenoids from the algae and zooplankton, most specifically astaxanthin.  These carotenoids have powerful health effects on their own.  In farm raised it is frequently a dye.  Again, NOT a good thing.

It is clear to me that few understand that there is a difference.  At restaurants, when querrieing the server, it is rare that they know whether a fish item is farm raised or wild caught.  Many don’t seem to know that there is a difference.  Even some of the higher dollar restaurants I have been to charge premium prices for farm raised fish.  If more customers where asking, the wait staff would know the answer right off the bat instead of having to ask the chef.

Finally, a concern present with both farm raised and wild caught is the mercury content.  See, animals in general do not get rid of heavy metals very good.  As a result, it bioconcentrates up the food chain.  So, as the fish gets bigger and eats more smaller fish, its levels of mercury goes up.  Thus, the larger fish like tuna, shark and halibut are known to have some of the highest levels of mercury.  It’s why chunk light tuna has less mercury than albacore, which is an older fish.

So sticking with low mercury fish is something to consider.  Disappointing for me because I prefer the solid consistency of fish like mahi and halibut.  Good thing this article throws some ideas out there..

In this particular mouse study, the use of isothiocyanates, such as those found in broccoli, lowered both the accumulation of mercury in the liver as well as the potential for toxicity in these cells.

So, if you’re going to sit down to a nice piece of grilled halibut, make sure it’s got a heaping side of broccoli…

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James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.