How to Consume Fish Safely
We all know that fish is one of the superfoods, packed with protein for muscle
building and those all-important omega-3's that help with mood, inflammation,
heart disease, the brain and potentially free testosterone. However, it is
rare to find an expert who advocates eating fish on a consistent basis. In
the great majority would caution against fish consumption more than once or twice per week. (Read
my link on Fish and Fish Oil for more details.)
One recent study shows that taking fish oil capsules
dramatically increases the risk for advanced prostate cancer - this is the kind you don't want! - and significantly
increases it for all prostate cancers. See this
article for more details.
Based on this, the authors recommended eating just one or two meals of fish per week instead. Keep in mind that this is
just one study, but the results were so pronounced that it should be carefully considered. For a nice rebuttal to this study,
discussion for more information.
The reluctance to recommend even moderate food consumption is with good reason:
methylmercury. For example,
one famous actress, Daphne Zuniga, ate sushi four time per week and found herself with mercury
poisoning and the ensuing "weak memory, headaches, crying spells, skin rashes
and low grade depression".  Furthermore, the New York Times recently
ran a piece that explained how badly contaminated Manhattin sushi was.
Their findings were that "at most of [the restaurants], a regular diet of six
pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental
Protection Agency. 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". 
Kids can get dangerous levels of mercury from eating the wrong kind of mercury. Canned
(albacore) tuna is a large fish that accumulates about three times the level of
mercury as the canned light variety.  The brains of children are particularly vulnerable to
mercury and experts believe that even relatively small amounts of mercury can
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Rest assured, it's not just sushi that has high levels of mercury: many varieties of fish
have been affected. Freshwater fish in the U.S., for example, have
been found to be loaded with mercury and PCB's and dioxin as well. Ocean going
fish are often no better, especially shark, swordfish and king mackeral. 
The problem is unlikely to go away anytime soon as the methylmercury comes from the
emissions of coal fired plants throughout the globe. Fortunately, most of
us can detoxify mercury in about a month or a little more, but what is
frightening is that a significant block of us carry a gene that retains mercury
for about six months, making its impact much more profound and long lasting.
One Discover reporter had his mercury levels measure at 4 ug/l, a little below
the level, 5.8 ug/l, considered the safe threshhold by most experts.
However, when he ate fish, his blood mercury levels spiked to 12 and 13 ug/l, a
very dangerous level.  As expected, he found that he had the negative gene
that affected glutathione activity, glutathione being the body's natural
antioxidant that detoxes mercury and many other dangerous chemicals and
By the way, some would argue that the risk of fish consumption is grossly
overstated. After all, a huge percentage of people in Japan eat a boatload of
fish and have very high tissue mercury levels and yet have shown no ill effects.
 Again, though, I would argue better safe than sorry as there is no
compelling reason to consume fish more than once per week, considering that
excellent brands of fish oil out there.
Another option is to eat the five varieties of fish recommended by the EPA as
relatively low in mercury: canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish. 
However, caution should be exercised in the case of farm raised catfish as they
have significant levels of inflammatory agents according to Chilton's book