Mercury in Fish: The Risks and Benefits of Fish

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

You probably have already heard about the many benefits that you can get from eating tuna. I have even discussed these benefits a few times here — and will surely do so again, as more studies come out touting the benefits of tuna. However, I often hear people questioning the risks that come along with eating tuna, which is what I would like to address today.

 While we hear about the positives, quite often there is additional negative talk about the mercury found in fish. This debate mainly centers on tuna, which is a fish that many of us eat on a regular basis.

 While high levels of mercury can cause neurologic disruptions and kidney problems, it takes quite a bit to reach this level and the only real danger seems to be for women who are of childbearing age.

 The problem, in fact, is the effect that mercury has on an unborn fetus. The rest of us are not as susceptible, but should still use common sense when eating tuna. While I am not advocating that you eat tuna seven days a week, 365 days a year, as a general rule, you don’t have to worry too much about mercury concerns from your fish — so long as you are not pregnant.

 According to the National Resources Defense Council, “In adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation, and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision loss, and numbness of the fingers and toes. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to mercury may also lead to heart disease.”

 However, if you limit the amount of fish with high levels of mercury that you eat to safe quantities, then these side effects are not likely to occur.

 The benefits of tuna and other omega-3 fish are extraordinary. Fish can help curb the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure, reduce the pain from arthritis, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk or reverse the progression of certain cancers, help to maintain blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of dementia, and reduce feelings of depression.

 Some studies have also found that omega-3s can help treat or reverse conditions such as ulcers, migraines, emphysema, psoriasis, Lyme disease, lupus, and panic attacks.

 The ticket is to be smart about your fish intake. You should eat more of the kinds of fish that have lower levels of mercury — but do continue to eat fish in order to ensure that you are obtaining enough omega-3s.

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