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Conditions > Toxins in fish oil
Toxins/Impurities or lack of in Fish & Fish Oil
Removing Toxic Mercury From Fish Oil While Retaining Beneficial Omega-3
Fatty Acids - Science Daily, 4/14/09
Really? - The
Claim - Fish Oil Supplements Can Contain Mercury - NYTimes.com, 3/23/09
- "The concern is a common one, but studies have
found that most of the widely available supplements contain little or no
mercury, dioxins or PCBs. For one thing, most companies use species of fish
that are lower on the food chain, like cod and sardines, which accumulate
less mercury. And many companies distill their oils to help remove
The Heart-Healthy Benifits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids - John Hopkins
University School of Medicine, 6/05 - "Fish-oil
supplements appear to have much lower levels of toxins than fish. In a study
of 5 over the-counter fish-oil preparations, levels of PCBs and
organochlorines were below the detectable limit in all of the supplements"
Are Fish Oil Supplements Safer Than Eating Fish?
- Life Extension Magazine, 10/05 - "analyzing five
brands of fish oil supplements, researchers from Brigham and Women’s
Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston found that levels of PCBs and
organochlorine pesticides were below the detectable limit in all five brands
Analysis finds fish oil supplements safe - USA Today, 12/15/04 -
"of 41 fish oil supplements tested, none were
contaminated with mercury or PCBs ... the oil is distilled to filter out
contaminants. Also the fish used to make pills tend to be younger and
smaller than the fish we eat, meaning they have had less time to accumulate
Fish oil suppliers turn to certifiers in the battle against contamination
- Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals, 5/04
- Fish Oil Supplements: Too
Toxic? - Dr. Weil, 8/21/02 -
"she notes that results from a study published in
1998 indicate that tests of 44 different brands sold in 15 countries between
1994 and 1995 revealed appreciable quantities of organochlorines including
PCBs and pesticide residues ... Ms. Johnson recommends them [omega-3] to
those with autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, heart disease, diabetes,
mental or emotional disorders, or insulin resistance ... Choose a brand that
provides high levels of both EPA AND DHA in the least number of capsules"
Fish Oil Supplements Pass Mercury Standards, But Lack Adequate Omega-3 Fatty
Acids - Intelihealth, 11/29/01 -
"Although none of the products tested positive for
mercury (a poison sometimes found in fish), 30% of the products had lower
levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) than stated on their labels and 10% had
lower levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA and DHA are the two main
fatty acids found in fish oil and are principle sources of omega-3 fatty
acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide many health benefits,
including prevention of heart disease and treatment of pain associated with
the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis"
- Product Review:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) from Fish/Marine Oils -
- Letter - Mercury and
Fish Oil Supplements - Medscape, 4/13/01 -
"The following oils were tested: Twinlab Emulsified
Super Max EPA ... Twinlab EPA New & Improved ... Twinlab Omege-3 Concentrate
... In conclusion, it appears that the independent testing and/or the
quality control measures claimed by these companies are being done as far as
potential mercury contamination is concerned. At the least, the amount of
mercury in the fish used is so minimal as to be below the detectable limit
by the method used. In any event, the common brands tested appear to offer
no mercury risk. While this is positive health news, it cannot be assumed
that every brand is free of mercury"
In fish itself:
Mediterranean source of n-3 PUFA: benefits do not justify limiting consumption
- Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113(S2):S58-S67 - "By contrast,
there is convincing evidence of adverse neurological/neurodevelopmental outcomes
in infants and young children associated with methylmercury exposure during
fetal development due to maternal fish consumption during pregnancy. Dioxins and
polychlorinated biphenyls present in contaminated fish may also develop a risk
for both infants and adults. However, for major health outcomes among adults,
the vast majority of epidemiological studies have proven that the benefits of
fish intake exceed the potential risks with the exception of a few selected
species in sensitive populations" - Note: If you look at the
studies on the better fish oil supplements, nearly all of those toxins are
acids in fish may shield brain from mercury damage - Science Daily, 1/21/15
- "the new research indicates that this relation is far
more complex and that compounds present in fish -- specifically polyunsaturated
fatty acids (PUFA) -- may also actively counteract the damage that mercury
causes in the brain ... These findings show no overall association between
prenatal exposure to mercury through fish consumption and neurodevelopmental
outcomes" - See
fish oil supplements at Amazon.com.
Synthesis of Mercury in Commercial Seafood and Implications for Exposure in the
United States - Medscape, 12/18/12 - "U.S. Food and
Drug Administration Hg Monitoring Program (FDA-MP) ... Mean Hg concentrations
for each seafood item were highly variable among studies, spanning 0.3–2.4
orders of magnitude. Farmed fish generally had lower grand mean Hg
concentrations than their wild counterparts, with wild seafood having 2-
to12-fold higher concentrations, depending on the seafood item. However, farmed
fish are relatively understudied, as are specific seafood items and seafood
imports from Asia and South America. Finally, we found large discrepancies
between mean Hg concentrations estimated from our database and FDA-MP estimates
for most seafood items examined ... The FDA action level for MeHg of 1.0 ppm
represents the threshold above which the agency can take legal action (e.g.,
removing the product from the marketplace) (FDA 2007). The U.S. EPA MeHg
criterion of 0.3 ppm represents the fish tissue concentration that should not be
exceeded for safe consumption of sport-caught fish in local waters based on
average consumption (U.S. EPA 2001)"
fish fed vegetable matter may have residual pesticides - Science Daily,
11/8/11 - "half of all the fish we eat comes from fish
farms. The problem is that these fish are increasingly being fed vegetable
matter, which could lead to a build-up of residual pesticides in them ... To
protect consumers, there has to be a way to test fish bred in captivity for
pesticide residues, but this has not been possible up to now"
Mercury in Tuna Still a Concern, Consumer Reports Says - Medscape, 12/8/10 -
"A woman of childbearing age who ate 2.5 ounces of any
of the samples would be over the intake deemed safe by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)"
consumption and myocardial infarction: a second prospective biomarker study from
northern Sweden - Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov 3 - "fish
also contains methylmercury, which may increase the risk of MI ... mercury
(Ery-Hg) ... selenium (Ery-Se) ... (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids)
in plasma phospholipids (P-EPA+DHA) ... sudden cardiac deaths (SCDs) ... Odds
ratios for the third compared with the first tertile were 0.65 (95% CI: 0.46,
0.91) for Ery-Hg, 0.75 (95% CI: 0.53, 1.06) for Ery-Se, and 0.78 (95% CI: 0.54,
1.11) for P-EPA+DHA. Ery-Hg and P-EPA+DHA were intercorrelated (Spearman's R =
0.34). No association was seen for reported fish consumption ... High
concentrations of Ery-Se were associated with an increased risk of SCD"
marine n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and risk for epilepsy in the offspring:
A population-based cohort study - Epilepsy Res. 2010 Aug 24 -
"Children born to mothers in the lowest (IRR=1.28,
95% CI: 0.98, 1.67) and highest (IRR=1.33, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.74) quintile of n-3
LCPUFA intake had an increased risk of epilepsy after adjustment for potential
confounders compared to children born to mothers with an average intake ...
Maternal deficiency of n-3 LCPUFA and a high intake of n-3 LCPUFA perhaps
related to a high consumption of contaminated fish may be associated with an
increased risk of epilepsy in early childhood"
Fish Intake in Maternal
Diet, Mercury Exposure May Affect Fetal Growth - Medscape, 9/14/09 -
"small for gestational age (SGA) ... Compared with
mothers who consumed less than 1 portion of canned tuna per month, those
consuming 2 or more portions per week had newborns who weighed more (P for
trend = .03) and had a lower risk of having infants who were SGA for weight"
Mercury Low in Wild and Farmed Salmon - WebMD, 6/5/08
Other Ills to Mercury, Too - New York Times, 1/23/08 -
"evaluated more than 100 patients who had vague,
unexplained symptoms. Of them, 89 percent had mercury in their blood that
exceeded the level considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection
Agency ... The symptoms included memory lapses, hair loss, fatigue,
sleeplessness, tremors, headaches, muscle and joint pain, trouble thinking,
gastrointestinal disturbances and an inability to do complex tasks"
Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi - New York Times, 1/23/08 -
"Sushi from 5 of the 20 places had mercury levels so
high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove
the fish from the market"
Store-bought Freshwater Fish Contain Elevated Levels Of Mercury, Arsenic And
Selenium - Science Daily, 11/7/07 - "mercury
levels were 2.2 to 4.8 times higher in fish caught in the Canadian Lake Erie
and available commercially than in fish caught near former iron and steel
mills on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in Pittsburgh"
Extracts Of Catfish Caught In Polluted Waters Cause Breast Cancer Cells To
Multiply - Science Daily, 11/7/07
Fish Farming's Growing Dangers - Time, 9/19/07
In Four New York City Adults Has Elevated Blood Mercury Levels - Science
Daily, 7/23/07 - "A quarter of adult New Yorkers
have elevated blood mercury levels, according to survey results released by
the Health Department, and the elevations are closely tied to fish
Fish-diabetes pollution link may boost supplements - Nutra USA, 4/13/07
- "the risk of pollutants from oily fish, such a
methyl mercury, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) have led to
some claims to reduce fresh fish intake, especially for pregnant women who
may damage the development of their babies ... Most extracted fish oils are
molecularly distilled and steam deodorised to remove contaminants ... The
study, led by Professor Duk-Hee Lee observed a link between POP levels and
Fish pollutants' link to diabetes - BBC News, 4/12/07 -
"An international team found high levels of
persistent organic pesticides (POPs) in the blood correlated to insulin
Maternal Fish Consumption, Mercury Levels, and Risk of Preterm Delivery
- Medscape, 3/12/07 - "fish consumption is a major
source of mercury exposure for pregnant women ... The greatest fish source
for mercury exposure appeared to be canned fish, both because it was
consumed more and, per meal, it was among the fish categories associated
with the highest levels of mercury in maternal hair. The observed
relationship between elevated mercury levels and increased risk of very
preterm delivery is a new finding and requires caution in interpretation"
Mercury Contamination Of Fish Warrants Worldwide Public Warning -
Science Daily, 3/8/07 - "The health risks posed by
mercury contaminated fish is sufficient to warrant issuing a worldwide
general warning to the public"
- Seafood benefits outweigh
risks - MSNBC, 10/17/06 -
"Eating seafood twice a week is good for your heart
and generally outweighs the risk of exposure to mercury and other dangerous
- How Dangerous Is
Farmed Salmon? - Dr. Weil, 8/1/06
- Higher mercury in
imported tuna - MSNBC, 7/11/06
Canned Tuna: Avoid if Pregnant? - WebMD, 6/5/06
Benefits Of Eating Seafood Outweigh Risks - Science Daily, 2/24/06 -
"Though some species of fish around the world's are
likely to be contaminated with mercury, PCBs and other toxins, the benefits
of eating seafood continue to outweigh the risks, a panel of scientists
recently said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science"
20% Of Women 16-49 Have High Mercury Levels - cbs2chicago.com, 2/8/06 -
"Twenty percent of women ages 16 to 49 have mercury
levels that exceed the EPA's recommended limit ... the greatest single
factor influencing mercury exposure was the frequency of fish consumption"
Have a Daily Dose of Omega-3 - US News, 12/26/05 -
"Farmed salmon are raised on fish oil pellets
derived from local fish, which are often contaminated with cancer-causing
PCB s. The most recent study, in the November issue of the Journal of
Nutrition, reports that contaminant levels in farmed salmon from certain
regions increase the risk of cancer enough to outweigh benefits"
Stick To Wild Salmon Unless Heart Disease Is A Risk Factor, Risk-Benefit
Analysis Of Farmed And Wild Fish Shows - Science Daily, 12/26/05 -
"On the one hand, farmed salmon has more
heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than wild salmon. On the other hand, it
also tends to have much higher levels of chemical contaminants that are
known to cause cancer, memory impairment and neurobehavioral changes in
Benefits of Fish Outweigh Mercury Risk - WebMD, 10/19/05 -
"If you are not going to become pregnant, you should
eat fish. Mercury is not an issue for you"
Viewpoint: Mercury Level and Fish: Risks vs Benefits - Medscape,
N.Y. Times Calls Wild Salmon a Gamble for Consumers - Vital Choices,
Mercury in Commercial Fish - Medscape, 3/21/05
- Fish Oil
Supplements May Be Safer Than Eating Fish - Medscape, 1/28/05 -
"The authors estimate that compared with fish oil
supplementation, regular consumption of fish from the Great Lakes would
expose humans to at least 70 times more PCBs and 120 times more OC
- A Better Pink Fish? -
Dr. Weil, 9/2/04
- Too Much Mercury in
Freshwater Fish? - Dr. Weil, 8/31/04 -
"To avoid mercury contamination and still derive the
nutritional benefits of eating fish, I recommend sticking to such cold water
fish as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, and – if you can get it –
black cod, also known as sablefish"
Advisories Rising Due to Mercury Risks - WebMD, 8/25/04 -
"Eating fish from more than a third of the country's
lakes and a nearly quarter of its rivers may not be a healthy idea ... the
threat of mercury contamination is rising in American waters"
- Fishing for Fish
Information? - Dr. Weil, 8/19/04 -
"My favorite fish is wild Alaskan salmon, which is
delicious, contains plenty of omega-3s, and is relatively toxin-free ...
Avoid farmed salmon (also called Atlantic salmon)"
- Low Levels of
Flame Retardant Found in Salmon - WebMD, 8/11/04
Traces Of Fire Retardant Found In Salmon - Intelihealth, 8/11/04
Farmed and wild fish in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases: assessing
possible differences in lipid nutritional values - Nutr Metab Cardiovasc
Dis. 2004 Feb;14(1):34-41 - "Provided that they are
raised under appropriate conditions, the nutritional content of farmed fish
is at least as beneficial as that of wild fish (particularly in terms of the
prevention of cardiovascular diseases), and they also have the advantages of
freshness and apparent non-toxicity"
- FDA Issues New
Tuna Limits for Women - WebMD, 3/19/04
Recommended fish intake is potentially dangerous due to high methylmercury
content of certain fish - Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2003;12 Suppl:S67 -
"Recommendations to limit fish intake to prevent MeHg
toxicity are in conflict with recommendations to prevent CHD. Species and
origin of fish needs to be taken into account to prevent MeHg toxicity"
- Farm Salmon
More Contaminated Than Wild - WebMD, 1/8/04 -
"The most highly contaminated salmon came from farms
in Europe, the study shows -- especially Scotland. North American and South
American salmon farms had a lot less -- but still more than wild salmon"
- On 1/8/03, the CBS Evening News had some expert that claimed that you
should not eat farmed salmon more then once per month.
- FDA to Warn
Pregnant Women to Limit Tuna - WebMD, 12/11/03
Fish Intake Is Positively Associated with Breast Cancer Incidence Rate -
J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3664-3669 -
"higher intakes of fish were significantly
associated with higher incidence rates of breast cancer. The association was
present only for development of ER+ breast cancer"
- Mercury in Fish
May Not Be Toxic - WebMD, 8/28/03
How Safe Is Salmon? - Time, 8/11/03 -
"EWG found that store-bought salmon, most of which
is farmed, contained 16 times the PCB levels of salmon caught in the wild.
The Environmental Protection Agency considers these levels a health hazard,
and if they were found in wild salmon would recommend eating the fish no
more than once a month"
- Is Your Salmon
Safe? - WebMD, 7/31/03 -
"bought 10 salmon filets in grocery stores in
Washington, D.C.; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco. Lab analysis showed
"high" PCB levels in seven of the 10 samples"
- How much mercury is in the
fish you eat ? - MSNBC, 4/4/03
Something Fishy With Seafood? - CBS News, 2/25/03 -
"Studies show that mercury found in some fishes can
be unhealthy and dangerous for pregnant women. But experts say little has
been done to warn those at risk ... mercury in the body can result in
impaired coordination, blurred vision, tremors, irritability, memory loss
and behavioral or intellectual problems"
Heart Risks Tied Directly To Mercury In Nine-Country Study - Doctor's
Guide, 12/2/02 -
"High mercury content in some fish may diminish the
cardioprotective effects associated with consumption of omega-three fatty
acids fish ... While the toenail mercury level was directly associated with
risk of myocardial infarction, the fish oil level was inversely associated
with this risk"
How Much Tuna Can You Eat Each Week? - Time, 11/18/02 -
"25 lbs. -- 1 oz. (1 tablespoon) ... 50 lbs. -- 2 oz
... 75 lbs. -- 3 oz ... 100 lbs. -- 5 oz ... 125 lbs. -- 6 oz. (1 can) ...
150 lbs. -- 8 oz ... 175 lbs. -- 9 oz ... 200 lbs. -- 10 oz"
Hold The Mercury - CBS News, 11/5/02 -
"89 percent of patients with a fish-heavy diet had
blood-mercury levels exceeding that deemed safe by the government"
Study Records Elevated Mercury - Intelihealth, 10/19/02 -
"A study of Californians who loaded their lunch and
dinner menus with fish shows 89 percent wound up with elevated mercury
levels in their bodies ... Of that group, 63 people had blood mercury levels
more than twice the recommended level and 19 showed blood mercury levels
four times the level considered safe. Four people had mercury levels 10
times as high as the government recommends"
Fish-mercury risk underestimated - CNN, 4/12/01 -
"millions of pregnant women and their fetuses are at
risk of serious health problems from exposure to mercury in fish ... shark,
swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish not be eaten by pregnant women and
women of childbearing age who might become pregnant. It also recommended
that nursing mothers and young children steer clear of these fish"
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