Many individuals consider fish a superior source of protein to animal products or poultry. But like meat, fish is low in antioxidants and phytonutrients and contains cholesterol. It is also high in methionine, an amino acid that appears to aid in cancer tumor growth, and may contribute to longevity-related oxidation in the body.
Fish is a leading source of industrial pollutants such as mercury, dioxins, neurotoxins, arsenic, DDT, putrescine, AGE’s, PCB’s, PDBE’s, alkylphenol endocrine disruptors and even prescription drugs that end up in rivers and streams. Smoked food products amplify cancer-related dangers, with smoked salmon being the worst of all tested smoked foods.
Medical Conditions Linked to Fish Consumption
Fish consumption has been linked to a wide range of conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, atrial fibrillation, lower IQs among children, smaller infant brain size, shortened telomeres, which are a sign of aging, lower sperm counts, lower testosterone, more symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, and earlier puberty.
Fish consumption is also responsible for parasitic fish worm allergies, gold dust retinopathy, mad fish disease, food poisoning from fish toxins, chemical obesogens that may cause obesity, neurotoxic substances that are magnified when farmed fish are fed animal products, fish-induced keriorrhea, a form of amnesia, cataracts, ciguatera poisoning and the fecal contamination of sushi.
Is there a safe alternative?
Eating organic or even wild caught fish may not significantly lower industrial pollutant exposure. Analysis of fish oil capsules has revealed toxic contaminants, which may counteract the benefit of the omega-3 fatty acids. So advice to eat oily fish or take fish oil capsules to lower risk of heart disease, stroke or mortality is no longer supported by the balance of available evidence.
Plant-based diets that depend on plant-derived omega-3 supplements provide the benefits without the contaminants. Long-chain omega 3s, found in golden algae, are bioequivalent to fish DHA; they’re also a far more sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly way to get one’s omega 3s.
Image Credit: SvetlanaK / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.
Topic summary contributed by Rob and Dawn
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