Choosing the Best Fish Oil

Mercury & Fish: How Risky Is It?

written by Vin Kutty

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fish oil mercury

‘It’s not what you say; it’s what people hear.’

Every politician knows this.

But the FDA did not. And so fish-phobia started in 2004.

Thank you, FDA.

In 2004, FDA released an advisory that warned pregnant women to cut back on some types of fish. Read the whole advisory here.

Even though the FDA’s heart was in the right place, the TV-watching public got a different and unintended message: Avoid fish – it has mercury.

Of course, evening TV news scared viewers with lead-ins like “Does that fish on your plate have dangerous Mercury!?

That’s simply too bad.

The result was that more than half of all pregnant women began avoiding seafood like it was poison. Fetus and growing infants need a lot of DHA to properly develop their brains and eyes.

Now, we know better – that the benefits of getting Omega-3 far outweighs the risk from ingesting traces amounts of mercury.

More than 60% of the brain is fat. And most of that is DHA.

A Generation of Dummies

Thanks to this fish-phobia we’ve created a generation of children who are Omega-3 deficient since conception.

Could we have created a generation of dunces? I really hope not.

The Cost of Fish-phobia:

Children of women who avoided seafood during pregnancy had kids with 8 less IQ points.

That’s a lot!

But mercury also lowers your IQ points, you say. True. Kids of mother’s who ate mercury-laden foods had 1 less IQ point.

So if you’re pregnant, eat seafood or take molecularly distilled Omega-3 supplements.

Fish oil supplements have many orders of magnitude less mercury than fish itself. This is because methyl mercury, the kind of mercury we’re talking about, is not soluble in fats and oil. So it is naturally eliminated while the oil is extracted from fish.

In the meantime, use this guide below to choose the right types of fish.

Mercury Levels in Fish & Seafood





Arctic CodBassBluefishKing Mackerel
AnchoviesCarpGulf MackerelMarlin
CatfishAlaskan CodGrouperOrange Roughy
ClamCroakerSpanish MackerelShark
Crab (US Grown)HalibutAtlantic SalmonSwordfish
CrawfishLobsterChilean SeabassTilefish
FlounderMahi MahiYellowfin TunaBig Eye Tuna
HaddockMonkfishBlue TunaAhi Tuna
HerringPerchAlbacore Tuna
Atlantic MackerelSablefish
SalmonSkipjack Tuna
SardineSea Trout
Pacific Sole

Source: Natural Resource Defense Council, 2006.

Selenium Helps Your Body Remove Mercury

Taking enough Selenium will help your body naturally eliminate mercury. Brazil nuts are excellent source of dietary selenium. *

Conveniently, seafood is a good source of selenium. So is beef liver and turkey. Or you can take 200 mcg of Selenium as a supplement.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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