Mercury Levels in Fish

By now you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t eat too much fish because it’s high in mercury.  But like many people, you might also be wondering, what does mercury do to me and why is it found in fish?

Here’s the deal:

Mercury is a metal that exists naturally in the environment.  But we humans do things that negatively impact the environment, such as factory farming, burning coal, and using mercury in manufacturing.  This increases the amount mercury that flows through the air, water, and soil.

When in water, mercury changes its form and becomes methylmercury. Fishies absorb this mercury just like we often inhale bad chemicals when we breath in oxygen.

All fish and shellfish have some level of mercury, but it’s typically not a huge deal because fish also have so many health benefits.   However, if you eat fish ALL the time, or choose varieties that are higher in mercury (see chart below) it can be potentially harmful.

The good news is, mercury will leave the body over time in the urine, feces, and breast milk.  The bad news is if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding that mercury could have detrimental effects on your little one.

Mercury can also have nevetive effects on us grown ups.  Remember when Jeremy Piven had to drop out of a Broadway show?  Yeah, mercury poisoning is a real thing so read up below and be in the know…

fish_mercury

Chart from Canton Becker

NOTE: Mercury is only an issue with wild caught fish even so, this option is WAY better than farm raised fish.  Fish that are farmed are fed a completely unnatural diet, including dyes to make their flesh appear more vibrant and they are kept in confined spaces where they can’t get enough exercise.

Always, always, always avoid farm raised fish!!!

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