Why eating fish could be bad for you

If you look other places online, you will find that most health experts recommend that people eat fish.  They are loaded with nutrients that are beneficial for a lot of things.  In particular, they have omega-3 fatty acids in them.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of fats that are essential for human beings.  When I say essential it means that they must be obtained from diet.  We cannot synthesize them from other fats that already exist in our body.  They have been shown to have many heath benefits  to them.  Some are listed below.

  • Reduce varicose veins
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce blood triglycerides
  • Reduce heart attack rates
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Reduce cardiac arrhythmias
  • Reduce depression
  • Reduce the risk of stroke
  • Protect you from cancer
  • Reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reduce the risk of dementia
  • Increased immunity

All of these health benefits have been documented by studies.  I routinely recommend that my patients eat fish and take fish oil supplements.  If that’s the case, then how in the world could eating fish be bad for you?

The problem with eating any old fish is that many fish we consume are farmed.  Farmed fish are grown in large tanks and fed diets full of grain designed to fatten them up very quickly.  When fish are fed grain, they consume large amounts of another fatty acid.  This fatty acid is called omega-6.  While this fatty acid is also essential, in large amounts it can be dangerous.  It is the precursor of all of the inflammatory enzymes in the body.  Farm raised fish, therefore are actually pro-inflammatory! (For the dangers of inflammation see one of our earlier posts.)  Inflammation is behind many human diseases including heart disease and cancer.

What you must do is eat wild fish.  When you buy fish from the meat counter at your grocery store, they always delineate what fish are farmed and what are wild.  Always buy wild fish.  These fish are the ones that will have all of the protective benefits for your health that you are looking for.  The farmed fish may actually be detrimental to your overall health in the long run.  Any fish that you buy in the freezer section is almost always going to be farmed as well.  Always buy fresh fish and always buy wild.


Filed under Brain Health, Diet, Public Health

4 responses to “Why eating fish could be bad for you

  1. Katherine Durham Oldmixon

    I’ve been wondering about the relative health benefits of wild v. farm-raised fish, and so I appreciate this information. But don’t wild fish have higher levels of mercury than farm-raised fish?

    • While it is true that wild fish may have higher levels of mercury, there are certain species that are known to be low in mercury. Below is a list of low mercury fish.
      Crab (Domestic)
      Croaker (Atlantic)
      Haddock (Atlantic)
      Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)
      Perch (Ocean)
      Salmon (Canned)
      Salmon (Fresh)
      Shad (American)
      Sole (Pacific)
      Squid (Calamari)
      Trout (Freshwater)

      The health benefits are high for fish. You can also protect yourself by taking a mild metal chelator such as lipoic acid or N-Acetyl Cysteine if you are concerned. These are available over the counter and have other benefits as well.

      Thanks for reading our blog,
      Dr. Court

  2. Victor Medrano

    Scientists exploring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have made another disturbing discovery, according to a published report.

    The UCSD scientists returned from their trip to the Northern Pacific in August, bringing back tales, pictures and more than 100 samples from a blob of degraded plastic that is reportedly the size of Texas or bigger.

    Now, in addition to the large concentration of plastic, Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers have determined some of the fish in the area are eating it.

    “We did indeed find some indisputable pieces of plastic in their guts,” Pete Davison, a Scripps graduate student dissecting the fish, told the voiceofsandiego.org.

    The scientists told the nonprofit online news site that about 5-10 percent of the fish they studied –“mainly small swimmers common in the deep ocean, like lanternfish and hatchetfish” had consumed the tiny plastic particles. Those fish, in turn, are eaten by bigger, commercially fished species.

    “If tuna is eating a lot of lanternfish, it is indirectly ingesting the plastic that might be in the lanternfish’s stomach,” Davison said.

    Another disturbing fact: substances like PCB and DDT can be absorbed by plastic and leach into sea life, reported the voiceofsandiego.org.

    The North Pacific Ocean Gyre — a large spinning area of water 1,000 miles off California — took the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers five days to reach.

    Source: People Eat Fish That Eat Fish That Eat Plastic | NBC San Diego

    Does this change you view on wild fish ? Does the good out weigh the bad in this situation ?

  3. Pingback: Food that kills you, or food that helps you living longer | I am not a whinger, BUT…

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