Mercury vs Omega-3?



Fish absorb mercury from the environment through their gills and from their food. Some fish have more of this organic methylmercury in their tissues than others, depending on their environment and how far up they are in the food chain. A general rule of thumb is that the larger or older the fish, the higher the level of methylmercury in its flesh. A very large bluefin tuna or swordfish, for example, will tend to have accumulated high levels of mercury. Although all fish have trace amounts of methylmercury, most fish have less than 0.1 parts per million (ppm), well below the allowable levels of 1.0 ppm mercury content that the U.S. has set for fish and seafood products. To limit mercury consumption for children and for women of child-bearing age, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that it is safe to eat up to 12 ounces a week of low-mercury fish, avoiding some species such as shark and swordfish. Oregon Tuna are very low in mercury but up until recently, mercury content of tuna was averaged for all species, making no distinction between our small, young albacore from the cold north Pacific and the much larger, older tuna from the warm south Pacific. OSU researchers found that NW albacore have low mercury levels, well below the commercial brands and FDA guidelines. Not only is locally caught albacore safely below allowable levels, there is evidence that eating it is beneficial to your health. Local albacore is high in omega-3, which have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and improve brain health. One of those omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, found only in fish, is important for infant vision and cognitive brain development.