Confirmed: Mercury Cancels Out the Health Benefits of Fish Oil
Omega oils have seen a lot of attention for their benefits to brain function and fish oil is a major source of the nutrient. But there is a problem with eating fish as environmental pollutants have caused marine life to become laden with chemicals by the time they reach maturity for fishing.
Mercury is one of the biggest chemical threats to humans as it is incredibly harmful to the brain, causing degradation of the neurons thereby crippling the minds functional capacity.
So the fish have the omega oils that are great for the brain while at the same time containing mercury which will diminish brain function. Thankfully there are alternatives to its sources that don’t rely on fish- check the list at the bottom of the article and encourage environmental practices that reduce mercury pollution.
Lately, a shadow has perched itself over the fish oil industry. While no one disputes the benefits of a diet rich in omega fatty acids, Rachel wrote about a number of studies pointing to myths associated with fish oil. Most recently, a new study was released that confirms that any benefits that come from fish oil are cancelled out but excessive mercury in the system.
According to Environmental Health News, methyl mercury is transferred to people who eat the fish, which is especially concerning for pregnant women whose children are exposed while developing in the womb.
The study, published in Environmental Research, said this:
“Of the five nutritional components evaluated, only the beneficial effects of DHA – as measured by the children’s test scores – were negatively impacted by increased mercury exposure. The nutritional benefits of DHA were significantly reduced and then disappeared altogether at the higher exposures.”
Bottom line: DHA, an omega fatty acid chain has many health benefits but when paired with mercury-laden fish oil, those benefits are cancelled out by the side effects of mercury poisoning.
Why We Still Need Omega Fatty Acids
No one’s disputing the benefits of the omega fatty acids found in fish oil. These are truly important to the body. They regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and the body’s response to injury and infection. Likely one of the most important benefits is that it greatly reduces inflammation associated with heart disease. But paired with the mercury found in a wide variety of favored fish species like tuna, grouper, or mackerel the mercury exposure makes it not worth the risk.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids Minus the Mercury
Omega 3 is made up of three acids EPA, DHA, and ALA. ALA can be found in hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. DHA and EPA are found in algae, spirulina, blue-green algae, and chlorella.
By Sara Novak
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