Fish That Is Low In Mercury - (2023)

What Fish Are Low In Mercury

Low mercury fish

Those who need a low-mercury fish diet may choose from the following options: anchovies, clams, crabs, Herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, scallops, sardines, shrimps, tilapias, squids, and trout. More choices are available and you can safely eat up to three food servings weekly of these low-mercury assortments. However, keep each portion at 12 ounces at most.

Fish may be one of the healthiest kinds of meat you can include in your diet. But not all fish is safe for you to eat. This is because fish vary in type and composition. Thats why you need to moderately consume some kinds of fish especially those that contain significant amounts of mercury. Lets discuss more of this topic below.

What About Canned Tuna

Tuna is widely popular. Next to shrimp it’s the type of fish that’s most often consumed in the U.S., so it is important that women understand the benefits and risks of consuming it.

The FDA told Consumer Reports: “It’s important to note that this advice is targeted to certain women and young children. As a result, we took a cautious and highly protective approach in determining which fish belonged in each category, including a peer review of the data, and are comfortable with the limits we are providing.”

However, our experts disagree with the inclusion of canned and some fresh tunas on the FDA’s “best choice” and “good choice” lists. Their analysis of the FDA data revealed that although canned light tuna has on average only a third of the mercury found in white or albacore tuna, 20 percent of the samples tested contained almost double the average amount of mercury listed by the agency for that species. In other words: On average, mercury levels for canned light tuna are low, but individual cans may contain high amounts of the toxin. And there’s no way for pregnant womenor any consumerto tell which cans contain the potentially dangerous levels.

The same Consumer Reports analysis found that eating 4.3 ouncesless than one canof albacore would put a 132-pound woman above the EPA’s safe consumption limit for mercury for a week. A 44-pound child would exceed that limit by eating just 1.5 ouncesabout a third of a can.

Should You Take Fish Oil Every Day

You can take fish oil every day. However, taking high doses of fish oil over time may promote immune system suppression because of the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fats .

Its important to check the dosages of EPA and DHA in your fish oil before you purchase so that you dont buy one that could lead to this effect.

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Why Mercury Is A Problem

Mercury is a heavy metal found naturally in air, water, and soil.

Its released into the environment in several ways, including through industrial processes like burning coal or natural events like eruptions.

Three main forms exist elemental , inorganic, and organic .

People can be exposed to this toxin in a number of ways, such as breathing in mercury vapors during mining and industrial work.

You can also be exposed by eating fish and shellfish because these animals absorb low concentrations of mercury due to water pollution.

Over time, methylmercury the organic form can concentrate in their bodies.

Methylmercury is highly toxic, causing serious health problems when it reaches certain levels in your body.


Mercury is a naturally occurring heavy metal. It can build up in the bodies of fish in the form of methylmercury, which is highly toxic.

Does Fish Always Contain Mercury

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No. However, most fish including shellfish will have trace amounts of mercury. Some will have low content. Others will register moderate levels of mercury. But there are types that contain high amounts of mercury. The FDA warns against consuming too much fish that contain moderate to high levels of mercury.

You may wonder what specific type of mercury is present in fish. Its methylmercury. Mercury is present in the air first, then falls on land and water areas. As bacteria and microorganisms interact with mercury, it is then converted into methylmercury.

Unfortunately, marine life will absorb it in their bodies. Carnivorous fish, or, fish that prey on other fish, will have higher amounts of methylmercury. Likewise, large fishes and those types that have already been living for a long time will have a large buildup of methylmercury in their systems.

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Six Types Of Seafood That Are Naturally Low In Mercury

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One of the best ways for you to lower your risk of heart disease is to eat seafood. The American Heart Association says that by eating 3.5 ounces of fish or shellfish at least two times a week, you’ll get an adequate amount of the omega-3 fatty acids that can help lower your triglyceride levels and inhibit the build up of plaque in your arteries. However, some types of seafood — especially large fish such as king mackerel or swordfish — contain a mercury concentration that can be potentially harmful to young children and unborn infants. Pregnant women and children should avoid these types of seafood and focus on eating up to 12 ounces weekly of fish and shellfish that are naturally low in mercury.

Dangers Of Mercury Exposure

Mercury in tuna is a health concern because of the risks associated with mercury exposure.

Just as mercury builds up in fish tissues over time, it can also accumulate in your body. To assess how much mercury is in your body, a doctor can test mercury concentrations in your hair and blood.

High levels of mercury exposure can lead to brain cell death and result in impaired fine motor skills, memory and focus .

In one study in 129 adults, those with the highest concentrations of mercury performed significantly worse on fine motor, logic and memory tests than those who had lower levels of mercury .

Mercury exposure may also lead to anxiety and depression.

A study in adults exposed to mercury at work found that they experienced significantly more depression and anxiety symptoms and were slower at processing information than control participants .

Finally, mercury buildup is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. This may be due to mercurys role in fat oxidation, a process that can lead to this illness .

In a study in over 1,800 men, those who ate the most fish and had the highest mercury concentrations were two times likelier to die from heart attacks and heart disease .

However, other research suggests that high mercury exposure is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease and that the benefits of eating fish for heart health may outweigh the possible risks of ingesting mercury .

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Yes Pregnant Women Can Eat Salmon And Other Low Mercury Fish

Many Americans do not eat adequate amounts of fish. However, the FDA recommends eating 8 to 12 ounces of fish low in mercury per week. That amounts to about 2 to 3 servings of fish per week, which can be eaten in place of other types of protein. Make sure to choose a variety of fish lower in mercury, such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna , cod, and catfish. Consumption of white tuna should not exceed 6 ounces per week.

What Fish You Buy Is Key To Avoiding Mercury

Mercury-contaminated Fish | Consumer Reports

What Fish You Buy Is Key To Avoiding Mercury

Sunday January 22, 2006

What Fish You Buy Is Key To Avoiding Mercury

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – Shipped from Singapore, the swordfish entered the United States without being tested for the toxic metal mercury.

When a fillet from that fish reached a display case at a supermarket in Illinois, it carried no government warning labels, even though federal officials know swordfish often is so contaminated that young children and pregnant women should never eat it.

When tested in a Chicago Tribune investigation, the fish showed mercury levels at three times the legal limit.

Despite decades of knowing high mercury levels can cause learning disabilities in children and neurological problems for adults, the government’s mercury testing, warnings and rules enforcement appear inadequate.

And while regulators have issued numerous warnings for fish caught recreationally, they have rarely done so for seafood sold in supermarkets, where most people buy their fish.

But while it makes no difference where you shop – supermarkets, health food stores and gourmet fish shops often use the same suppliers – consumers can reduce their risks by choosing to buy certain kinds of seafood.

Small or short-lived species, such as sardines, shrimp, crab and tilapia, generally have low amounts of mercury. Wild salmon, which eat plankton and small fish, are low in mercury, as are farm-raised salmon, which are fed fish meal containing little mercury.

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Why You Shouldnt Swear Off Fish

Its important to keep in mind that exposure to very high levels of mercury that would cause these health issues is rare, says Tiu. For most of us, the risk of eating mercury-exposed fish isnt a concern. In fact, studies show the benefits of eating fish generally exceed the risks for adults. Fish are a great source of protein, the best natural source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, and also provide iron and minerals like selenium, zinc and iodine.

In particular, fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring and trout are also high in docosahexaenoic acid , a type of omega-3 fatty acid linked to an improved memory and learning ability, lower rates of cognitive decline and even a reduced risk of heart disease. Fatty fish are encouraged in the Mediterranean diet, which is often ranked as one of the healthiest.

What Are The Top 15 Fish Low In Mercury

Top 15 Fish Low in Mercury 1 Salmon. Salmon is favorite because of its rich nutritional profile. 2 Catfish. Catfish is a group of fish with prominent whisker-like barbels. 3 Mullet. Mullet is found in coastal temperate and tropical waters. 4 Herring. Herring is a type of fish that move in a group. 5 Anchovies. Anchovies are small fish which are

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Mercury Levels In Fish

The mercury found in fish is methylmercurybut how does it get there? First, mercury is released into the air from environmental events such as volcanic eruptions or forest fires, or from human-made activities like burning coal, oil, and wood. After mercury hits the air it eventually settles onto the land and into the water, where bacteria and other microorganisms convert mercury into methylmercury. Then, fish and shellfish in the water begin to absorb it.

Fish that eat other fish tend to have higher levels of methylmercury. Large fish have more mercury for the simple reason that they usually live longer. They have more time to build up higher levels of mercury in their bodies.

See the lists below for general mercury levels of many common types of fish and how often to safely consume each type, according to the National Resource Defense Council and the FDA.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends checking local advisories for the mercury content of fish caught in your area using their website.

Which Types Of Fish Are Low In Mercury

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It seems widespread that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart health however, clients are often concerned about the amount of mercury in fish leading to birth defects or learning disabilities. Mercury is a toxic, global contaminate that does not break down in the environment and can build up in living things. Todays blog will explore this concern in greater detail and highlight the types of fish that are low mercury.

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Is Tuna Bad For You

In fact, the latest scientific research shows that eating tuna is hazardous to your health. Here are the top 10 reasons to let tuna off the hook. 1. Brain Rot! Tuna fish accumulate toxic mercury in their flesh as a result of industrial pollution, and the side effects of mercury poisoning include finger curling,

Reference Doses And Safe Levels

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that 0.045 mcg of mercury per pound of body weight per day is the maximum safe dose of mercury. This amount is known as a reference dose .

Your daily reference dose for mercury depends on your body weight. Multiplying that number by seven gives you your weekly mercury limit.

Here are some examples of reference doses based on different body weights:

Body weightReference dose per day Reference dose per week
100 pounds

Since some tuna species are very high in mercury, a single 3-ounce serving may have a mercury concentration that equals or exceeds a persons weekly reference dose.


Tuna is high in mercury compared to other fish. A single serving of some types of tuna may surpass the maximum amount of mercury that you can safely consume per week.

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Guidelines For Eating Fish That Contain Mercury

To enjoy the benefits of eating fish while minimizing exposure to mercury, you should:

  • Eat mainly types of fish low in mercury and
  • Limit your consumption of types of fish with typically higher levels of mercury.

Fish are important in a healthy diet. They are a lean, low-calorie source of protein. However, some fish may contain mercury or other harmful chemicals at sufficiently high levels to be a concern.

Federal, state and local governments issue fish consumption advisories when fish are unsafe to eat. The advisories may suggest that people avoid eating certain kinds or certain amounts of fish.

  • Some advisories apply to specific water types .
  • Some may focus on groups of particularly sensitive people .
  • Some advisories include notices of “no restriction” to tell us that certain fish are safe to eat.

The degree of exposure to mercury depends on both the amount and the type of fish eaten. If you are concerned for your health or your family’s as a result of a potential exposure to mercury, get in touch with your health care provider. She will be able to tell you if the degree of mercury exposure is a concern, and what to do about it.

When Is The Best Time To Take Fish Oil

Safety Alert: Mercury In Fish

The best time to take fish oil is when its most convenient and easiest for you to remember. Fish oil doesnt offer immediate benefits, so whats most important is that you take it consistently .

However, if you experience side effects from fish oil supplements, such as nausea or acid reflux, you may find the supplement easier to tolerate by splitting it into two smaller doses throughout the day.

Whether you take it in the morning, in the afternoon, or at night, experts recommend taking a fish oil supplement alongside a fat-containing meal for optimal absorption .

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Should You Opt For Canned Farmed Or Fresh Fish

Whether you prefer canned, farmed or wild-caught fish depends on your personal budget, taste and environmental preferences. There are safe options for each in terms of mercury, but it depends on the type of fish. Remember, larger fish with longer life spans tend to carry lots of mercury theyve accumulated from eating smaller fish lower on the food chain. On the other hand, smaller fish tend to be lower in mercury, says Kostro Miller.

In particular, when youre shopping in the canned fish aisle, pay attention to the type of tuna youre getting, says Dr. Ring. There are two main kinds of canned tuna: chunk light and solid or chunk white . Mercury levels in albacore tuna are almost three times higher than in smaller skipjack tuna, so opt for skipjack tuna or another lower-mercury option like sockeye or pink salmon from Alaska, she says.

If you tend to eat freshly caught fish, check local advisories from the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure your catch is safe to eat. If there is no advisory, limit yourself to one serving a week.

I’m A Woman Who Could Have Children But I’m Not Pregnant

If you regularly eat types of fish that are high in methylmercury, it can accumulate in your blood stream over time. Methylmercury is removed from the body naturally, but it may take over a year for the levels to drop significantly. Thus, it may be present in a woman even before she becomes pregnant. This is the reason why women who are trying to become pregnant should also avoid eating certain types of fish.

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Why Is Tuna High In Mercury

Mercury is found in the worlds oceans and high levels are usually because of human pollution. Fish that eat other fish can have high levels of mercury build up in their system. Many people eat a tin of tuna every day for lunch believing they are being healthy, however tuna is very high in mercury and should be avoided.

What Are The Dangers Of Eating High

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The dangers of eating high-mercury fish and seafood often depends on several factors:

  • The type of mercury
  • Dosage and duration of exposure

According to the World Health Organization , we have all been exposed to mercury in one way or another. Majority of us have had long-term exposure to low levels of mercury, while others experience constant exposure to high levels of mercury. The people who are most vulnerable to the effects of methylmercury are those who rely primarily on seafood for their sustenance.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, seek medical help right away. They could be the symptoms of mercury poisoning:

  • Loss of peripheral vision or blindness
  • The feeling of pins and needles around the mouth, hands, and feet
  • Impaired hearing and speech
  • Difficulty walking and muscle weakness

Another high-risk group is that of fetuses and children under 6 years of age. If a pregnant mother consumes high-mercury seafood, the compound may reach the babys system. When that happens, the methylmercury negatively affects the babys developing brain and nervous system. Additionally, some reports indicate that mercury exposure can damage the fetus heart and blood vessels.

After the birth of a baby that has been exposed to high levels of mercury, parents may notice health problems like:

  • Developmental delay and/or intellectual disability

Very young kids who consume high-mercury fish and seafood can also suffer from the health conditions mentioned above.

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