Monday, July 28, 2008

Farmed Salmon & Tilapia Cautions

Farmed fish has gotten bad press for having too many toxins from the farming process. According to a Cornell University study, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts Environmental Division, toxins in farmed salmon may be as much as 10 times higher than in wild salmon.

Of note, contamination levels vary according to the location of fish farms, with Chilean farmed salmon scoring lower in toxins than Scottish farmed salmon, which had the highest toxin levels! Scottish salmon sounds so cool (it's often marketed as "gourmet") but the research says otherwise!

Cornell researchers recommended:

"that consumers should not eat farmed fish from Scotland, Norway and eastern Canada more than three times a year; farmed fish from Maine, western Canada and Washington state no more than three to six times a year; and farmed fish from Chile no more than about six times a year. Wild chum salmon can be consumed safely as often as once a week, pink salmon, Sockeye and Coho about twice a month and Chinook just under once a month."

I so love salmon, and now I have to worry about which kind of wild salmon I'm buying too!

Meanwhile tilapia, that popular not-so-fishy-tasting fish, just got some bad marks for boosting the inflammatory cycle -- due to high levels of omega-6 fatty acids (and low omega-3 levels).

It's true. Tilapia offers few of the inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids that fishier-tasting fish offer (think: salmon, mackerel and herring). According to Wake Forest School of Medicine researchers,

"Tilapia has higher levels of potentially detrimental long-chain omega-6 fatty acids than 80-percent-lean hamburger, doughnuts and even pork bacon."

Tilapia producers must be wincing - worse than doughnuts and even pork bacon - ouch! Tilapia has long been the butt of jokes among fussy chefs, who consider tilapia as an inferior fish to work with (bland, pedestrian, basically for people who don't like fish!). Now, the Wake Forest researchers have flamed tilapia as the anti-heart healthy choice.

I know, for many folks, it seems crazy hard to keep track of what's good, what's not, and how to balance it all out. Just know that if you eat farmed fish, you may want to boost your detoxification regime. If you eat tilapia, which is farmed fish, you also may need to supplement with omega-3s to balance out those omega-6s.

When it comes to reliable omega-3 intake, strange as it may sound, fish oil supplements are likely safer than most fresh fish, as toxins accumulate primarily in fish flesh versus in fish oil. Good supplements rely on molecular distillation processes to eliminate trace toxins from fish oil (our Fish Oil product is molecularly distilled).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that some studies have also shown that farm raised salmon does not have the Omega - 3 content of wild Salmon because they don't have algae in their food chain.