4

votes

fish is really safe?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 31, 2012 at 3:57 AM

I'm having trouble understanding why everyone is pretty cool with eating fish. I dislike any type of fish/seafood, so regardless, I won't be eating it, but I'm very curious. Is mercury really not an issue? What about all the other toxic chemicals dumped into our oceans? There are giant floating garbage heaps out there, does that really have no effect on the health of the fish?

I believe Alton Brown said he avoids tuna because it absorbs lots of toxins during its long lifespan. And I saw an interview, on The Colbert Report I believe, with the author of a book (title has slipped my mind) who said only a few species of fish are relatively safe to eat - carp, tilapia, and one other I forget, because every single fish, whether it's farmed or caught wild, has high levels of mercury and other toxins. That it's unavoidable. So when people would give me crap for not liking fish, I cite these reasons as backup. But since I've discovered paleo, I've learned that a lot of things I believed to be true (saturated fat is the bad one, whole grains are good!) are simply not true.

Now I could understand if you're eating wild fish from some sparkly pristine area off the coast of Iceland, it's perfectly fine. The oceans are filthy, but I'm sure some places are still unpolluted. I just doubt that's where the majority of fish comes from, and eating farmed fish seems like a very very bad idea.

So anyone care to enlighten me why it's safe to eat fish? Do the positives (omega-3s and such) simply outweigh the bad (toxins)?

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on December 31, 2012
at 01:30 PM

stuff in this thread of interest too (I see the link I psoed above is there too... http://paleohacks.com/questions/143886/how-much-fish-can-i-eat#axzz2GbqBtaBn

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on December 31, 2012
at 12:52 PM

+1 for selenium. Selenium seems to bind to mercury inside us and keep it inert. And some types of fish are fairly high in selenium, so the mercury issue is kind of a wash. And yeah, I guess some people stick to fish that are lower down on the marine food chain, like sardines and not the larger predator fish. (They tend to be less expensive than the fancy stuff, too, which is helpful.)

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on December 31, 2012
at 04:23 AM

One thing about toxins in general- Humans, like other animals, are resilient and have ways of dealing with toxins. Some of us react strongly to some (MSG, for example), but for the most part, we have so many ways of detoxifying automatically all the crap that comes in us. And for the record, I eat canned fish at least twice a day, and have been for half a year, and I don't show any signs of toxicity.

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6 Answers

6
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 31, 2012
at 04:15 AM

Selenium protects against mercury toxicity from my understanding. Also, dolphins eat exclusively seafood and are mammals like us but don't get mercury poisoning. The levels of mercury in the ocean are basically naturally occurring and aside from avoiding large fish most smaller fish and especially shellfish seem to be safe/beneficial. But maybe all those pacific islanders who consumed tons of seafood for hundreds of years were immune to mercury, lol, not possible.

This is probably more relevant pre-bp oil spill and pre japan radiation fallout.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on December 31, 2012
at 12:52 PM

+1 for selenium. Selenium seems to bind to mercury inside us and keep it inert. And some types of fish are fairly high in selenium, so the mercury issue is kind of a wash. And yeah, I guess some people stick to fish that are lower down on the marine food chain, like sardines and not the larger predator fish. (They tend to be less expensive than the fancy stuff, too, which is helpful.)

3
E9140ef0ca0a76ea14b9ebccad234608

(615)

on December 31, 2012
at 12:57 PM

I think this link will cover alot of your concerns.

http://chriskresser.com/is-eating-fish-safe-a-lot-safer-than-not-eating-fish

He mentions selenium, basically if a fish has higher levels of selenium than mercury its safe to eat

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 02, 2013
at 07:30 PM

Also, Alton Brown took a stand against eating blue fin tuna because it was not sustainable with respect to current fishery practice. He is not anti-tuna because of mercury.

1
Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

on December 31, 2012
at 01:22 PM

I tend to eat fish a couple of times a week and lean towards those that have relatively little mercury according to average recordings (ie those generally at the bottom of the chain, from the wild). The site linked below features a lot of interesting analysis and highlights that selenium content of fish is not protective against the mercury (as I once thought and people like Chris Kresser wrote about...), and that mercury content in fish is extremely variable; even the same species can range widely in terms of toxin content.

http://suppversity.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/mercury-in-fish-not-harmless-regardless.html

For myself the nutrient content outweighs the potential negatives in importance. I am not eating copious amounts of it, and by taste havn't really wanted to. I view it as a 'supplemental' food and tend to eat it once or twice a week (often depends on whether I got at the right tiem for the fishmonger to give me carcasses...)

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on December 31, 2012
at 01:30 PM

stuff in this thread of interest too (I see the link I psoed above is there too... http://paleohacks.com/questions/143886/how-much-fish-can-i-eat#axzz2GbqBtaBn

0
F04628ac394d6e34afbad250d43517ba

on January 02, 2013
at 07:18 PM

All fish contain mercury, but not all contain high levels of mercury. There is huge variation among fish species, and even within the same species depending on size / age of fish and where it was caught. U.S. FDA average values for the following fish are all on the order of 0.01 parts per million, or ppm: clams, shrimp, salmon, mussels, oysters, ocean perch. 0.01 ppm is really, really low! Just a little higher (but still lower than 0.1 ppm, which is still pretty low in my opinion): haddock, hake, anchovies, herring, flounder, sole, scallops, pollock, crab, squid, whitefish. Lot of fish species in the 0.1-0.5 range--the more fish you eat that aren't in the first two groups, the more you should research them at FDA, EPA, or other web sites. Generally, though, eating a couple meals per month (for women & children), or a couple meals per week is probably going to benefit you more than hurt you--especially if you stick to the low- to mid-range mercury fish. Finally, some fish that I'd call really high in mercury approach or exceed 1 ppm: orange roughy, swordfish, shark, tilefish are all particularly high. Some marlin & sushi grade tuna is quite high too. One part per million sounds small, but it's 100 times higher than the 0.01 level I mentioned for the first group. Put another way, you'd have to eat 37.5 pounds (600 ounces) of salmon (0.01 ppm) to get the same mercury exposure as just 6 ounces of shark or swordfish (1 ppm).

0
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 31, 2012
at 09:48 AM

Ok, I am like almost everything intolerant with tons of health/digestive issues (+ test confirmed SIBO, etc.)

This is what I am able to tolerate:

grass-fed meat

liver (even not grass-fed)

ox tail meat and broth

pastured chicken

duck + very small amount of duck fat

raw egg yolks if I separate them very carefully

some vegetables (very few)

I have tried shrimp, cod, halibut, sturgeon, Norwegian salmon (raw), Alaskan salmon (canned), tuna, sardines in olive oil, fresh water trout, clams, scallops. I cannot do fish. I am not allergic to it, but I am sensitive up to a point I can no longer consume it.

I don't know why. It seams that my bacteria is getting very picky or it is somehow compromising my immune system.

One thing for sure: meat is SO MUCH easier for me than fish. I don't know why.

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