How do you get your Omega 3 fatty acids if fish is contaminated?

If you’re beginning to find out about the health benefits of Omega3 essential fatty acids you’ll find out that 2 primary Omega3 fats, namely DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), are found primarily in fish oil. And of course fish oil comes from fish. So the obvious conclusion if you wish to increase your intake of Omega3 essential fatty acids is to increase the amount of fish in your diet.

However although Omega3 oils are found in fish there are also some powerful reasons to avoid eating too much fish. One of these risks is Mercury contamination of fish, and for this reason the FDA recommend that many of us should avoid eating too much fish because of contamination with Mercury as well as other toxins.

So today lets look at Mercury contamination of fish, and consider whether fish is your best source of Omega3 fatty acids, or whether taking Omega3 supplements is a better alternative.

A 2009 study was one of the first to seriously examine Mercury levels in our marine environment and in our fish.
Mercury in Fish

The conclusions of the study were concerning. It was found that 40 percent of Mercury exposure in people in the US came from tuna consumption, and that levels of Mercury in the Pacific were rising. The study found that Mercury levels in the North Pacific were 30 percent higher in 2006 than they were in 1996.

The Mercury was present in the form of methylmercury. It was found that the Mercury came primarily from 2 sources, from Asia and also from the atmosphere. It has been known for some time that atmospheric emissions of Mercury can contaminate the oceans, and this is now being combined with other Mercury sources.

Mercury is a serious toxin and can contribute to developmental problems in the fetus and the infant and has other serious health implications as well.

It was found that the methylmercury formed in mid depth water in the ocean and sank to the bottom with the help of algae, and that small organisms then picked it up, and it was then transported up the food chain to the large predators such as sharks and tuna. And of course it is these fish that we eat.

The FDA has issued warnings in the past about Mercury contamination of fish, although it has also suggested that the negative effects of Mercury intake may be outweighed by the positive effects of the Omega3 oil content of the fish.

However it seems clear that the levels of Mercury, as well as other toxic chemicals, in our fish are rising.Fish oil and mercury

Therefore there is a bit of a conundrum for those seeking to increase their Omega3 essential fatty acid intake. Do we eat more fish and risk increasing our intake of Mercury but also increasing our intake of Omega3 fish oil, or do we eat less fish to reduce our intake of Mercury thereby reducing our intake of Omega3?

Or is there another way?

This is of course an individual decision and there are no government guidelines telling us the best way to increase our Omega3 intake. However there are some considerations which should be taken into account.

The first is this. Fish is expensive, and getting increasingly more expensive over time, and fish is a declining resource. It seems quite clear that our oceans are over fished, and only recently there has been a reduction in the legal tuna catch for a number of nations involved in the tuna industry for this reason.

For these reasons, and also because of the risks of Mercury intake, people may choose not to increase their intake of fish if there is a better way to increase their Omega3 intake safely and cost-effectively. Why diminish a declining resource when there is a better way, particularly if you don’t like eating expensive fish that much?

Certainly there is a better way. There are clean and high quality Omega 3 supplements, or what are also known as fish oil supplements, that are a cost-effective way to increase your intake of Omega3 without eating more fish. The best Omega 3 supplements are contamination free and tests show no detectable levels of Mercury at all. For this reason it is both cost effective and safe to take the best Omega3 capsules daily.

However if you like eating fish, and are prepared for the expense of eating more, together with the risks of increasing your Mercury intake, then eating fish is a good way to increase your Omega3 intake. But be extremely careful about which type of fish you choose to eat.

Of course it varies from person to person, however Omega3 supplements are the fastest-growing nutritional supplement in history, and so it would seem that the majority are voting with their wallets by buying Omega3 capsules rather than eating more fish. Fish intake levels in the US are still way too low to provide an adequate level of essential fatty acids in our diet.

To find out more about Peter

Tagged with:

Filed under: Contamination Of Omega 3 Supplements