It isn’t a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that fish caught in many bodies of water are contaminated with mercury. While one could argue how clean or unpolluted their waterways are from which their fish is caught, it is still wise to err on the side of caution and be aware of varying levels of mercury that have been found in different types of fish so you can make the best decisions for your health.
This is not meant to be the perfect solution to eating fish or even seafood in general, but rather, a step in the right direction to largely avoiding one of the most harmful toxins to the human body – mercury. Since it is nearly impossible to avoid mercury altogether, I’ve also provided some easy solutions to “capture” any mercury present in your seafood when consumed, so it can potentially be eliminated through your body’s waste systems so there is little to no damage incurred now or in the future (which would occur if it was left inside your system).
You could also just avoid fish at all costs, but you would be eliminating an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein, and other nutrients that are essential to the growth and development of the body and brain. So if you want to ensure you get these benefits without being overly contaminated with mercury, you need some guidelines.
Let’s start by looking at the varying levels of contamination found in fish commonly consumed today.
Fish highly contaminated with mercury
The EPA warns that nearly all fish are contaminated with mercury. However, generally speaking the larger the fish and the longer the lifespan, the more mercury has accumulated. This is proven to be true with the most contaminated fish being tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, and shark.
With tuna being one of the most popular fish choices in the grocery store, this is a cause for concern. This is why there are recommendations to eat tuna no more than once per week, and pregnant women should avoid it altogether, or very sparingly.
Fish and seafood moderately contaminated with mercury
In this category, there is a slight allowable increase of recommended consumption with the highest amount of servings being no more than six times per month. These moderately contaminated fish include bass, croaker (White Pacific), lobster, perch (freshwater), snapper, sea trout, carp, halibut (Atlantic, Pacific), mahi mahi, salmon, and stablefish.
Some of these may come as a surprise to you, but the good news is there are ways to offset these moderate mercury levels if you have come to love eating any of the above fish.
Fish and seafood that are the least contaminated with mercury
These sources are the safest to eat, so should be considered above all others with reference to frequency of consumption. This “whitelist” of fish include anchovies, clam, croaker (Atlantic), hake, mullet, plaice, sardine, shrimp, tilapia, whiting, butterfish, crab (domestic), plunder, herring, oyster, pollock, scallop, sole (Pacific), and trout (freshwater).
Of course, you ALWAYS want to choose WILD CAUGHT fish, and avoid anything “farmed”, due to farming practices that pollute the fish in other ways that are not desirable for the health of the human body. This especially rings true for tilapia.
A special note: There has been alarming levels of mercury found in some pet food treats derived from fish, with some products being as high as 1,000 pub mercury (1 ppm). Know the type of fish in those treats, and where it is sourced to avoid severely contaminating your pet.
How to “capture” any mercury that is present in your seafood
Now for the good news…there are ways to capture mercury during digestion so it can be safely eliminated before it is absorbed into the body! This can be done through food and supplementation.
As noted by Mike Adams, the Founder and Editor of Natural News who has created a lab to measure various levels of mercury contamination in foods:
“In the lab, mercury is well known as a ‘sticky’ element that sticks to everything, including sample tubing on laboratory equipment. This stickiness makes mercury easy to capture in the gastrointestinal tract using natural foods that contain insoluble fibers, such as fruits and vegetables.”
This means nearly all whole food containing natural fibers have some affinity for capturing elemental mercury, including cereals and fruits. Some of the most effective foods for capturing mercury include:
Grass powders (such as alfalfa)
Simply working these foods into your fish dishes or taking them alongside your meal could potentially help you eliminate any mercury present in your seafood. Of course, the effectiveness will be affected by the transit time of your bowel movements, so be sure to eat plenty of fiber with your meal!
If you want an easy way to capture 100% of elemental mercury, leaving next to none available to absorb during digestion, get the Health Rangers “Metals Defense” formula.
Hopefully this has given you a handy guideline to make healthier choices around your fish and seafood, and even ways to make it a relative non-issue. It’s an absolute must for seafood aficionados!
Sources for this article include: