Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Since Fukushima started polluting the world, and since fish are being raised in polluted waters otherwise, I have increasingly recommended seed oils over fish oils. Here is an article highly critical of farm raised tilapia – in particular the essential fatty acids are unhealthy. Also be mindful that the body has variable ratios of healthy levels for omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids: the brain requires a ration of 100:1 (omega6 to omega 3) and the skin has a healthy ratio of 1000:1 (omega 6 to omega 3) so if you have brain or skin issues, stop the fish and krill oil and drink your organic cold-pressed non-GMO seed oils.
“…eating Tilapia may worsen inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems…”
The most common farm-raised fish are: salmon, tilapia, sea bass, catfish, and cod. Such fish are farmed on an industrial scale, thousands every day. Their feed is not natural. In the wild, they would eat algae, lake plants, bugs and smaller fish, but the farms fatten up the fish on GMO corn and GMO soy pellets. The amount of healthful fish oils in these creatures is almost non-existent.
Recent studies have concluded that eating Tilapia may worsen inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems. Scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon!
Farmed salmon may have at least 10 times the amount of cancer causing organic pollutants compared to the wild variety. Chicken feces is one of the main ingredients that go into farm fish feed. Pig and duck waste is also transported to fish farms.
The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, antibiotics are given to the fish to stave off disease. Farm-bred fish are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice.2 The pesticides used to treat these fish are so deadly that they have been caused to kill wild salmon that are accidentally exposed to them. These pesticides are also eventually released in the ocean where they get into the bodies and systems of other marine life.
The omega-3-acids that are found in farm-raised fish are less usable to our bodies compared to wild bred fish. Farm-raised fish have a lower protein content, a tendency to be fattier, have a higher concentration of omega-6 acids which cause inflammation.
Dibutylin levels, a chemical used in PVC plastics is said to be 6 times higher in farm-raised mussels compared to wild ones. Dibutylin is toxic and can impair immune system function while also contributing to inflammation. Dibutylin may be the reason for the increase in asthma, obesity, allergies and other metabolic disorders.
Dioxin levels are 11 times higher in farm-bred salmon compared to wild salmon. Dioxin is actually a very toxic chemical that can contribute to cancer and other complications. The half life of dioxin is about 11 years; accumulates in the body a long time.
Find out where your fish comes from. Farm-raised fish, instead of helping us, may even harm us and marine life.
Shrimp is even more toxic and has been designated the dirtiest of all seafood, says Marianne Cufone director of Food and Water Watch. 90% of shrimp is imported and “comes with a whole bevy of contaminants: antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth like mouse hair, rat hair, and pieces of insects,” Cufone says. “And I didn’t even mention things like E. coli that have been detected in imported farmed shrimp.”5
Less than 2% of ALL imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish, or others) gets inspected before its sold, which is why it’s that much more important to buy domestic seafood.
Wild fish can be an incredible health building food if you go with wild-caught fish liked Sockeye Salmon. It’s loaded with the Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA and has incredible health benefits.
Plus, Salmon contains astaxanthin which has been proven to be more powerful than almost any other antioxidant at absorbing free radicals.
When I eat out, I also ask my server if the fish is farm-raised or wild caught. Most servers know this answer or can quickly go ask the head chef. As a quick rule of thumb for salmon, if it’s Pacific or Alaskan, it’s most likely wild caught, if it’s Atlantic salmon, it is almost always farm-raised.
ScienceDaily. “Tilapia contains potentially dangerous fatty acid ratio.” Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. (accessed 11 July 2008)
Love, David C. Environmental Science Technology, 2011, Veterinary Drug Residues in Seafood Inspected by the European Union, United States, Canada, and Japan from 2000 to 2009. 45(17)7232–7240.
New York Times. Another Side of Tilapia The Perfect Factory Fish. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/science/earth/02Tilapia.html (accessed January 2012).
Environmental Working Group. Reports Farmed Fish PCB’s. http://www.ewg.org/reports/farmedpcbs (accessed March 2012).