A new study of mercury contamination that tested fish from streams around the country found the toxic substance in nearly every fish sampled, a finding that underscores how widespread mercury pollution has become. The sampling included popular game fish like bass, trout and catfish. Highest levels of mercury were found in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Nevada, but even isolated regions of Alaska and Canada were not safe.
Other studies have found mercury in many ocean fish, including orange roughy, sea bass, shark, swordfish, salmon and tuna. Mercury is bad because it can damage the nervous system and cause learning disabilities in developing fetuses and young children.
Adults with high mercury levels can have vague symptoms such as trouble walking, muscle weakness, peripheral neuropathy, vision changes, memory loss and personality changes. Recent studies have found a link between mercury and heart disease. If you think you might have high mercury levels, ask your doctor to check your blood levels.
Still, getting enough of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is vitally important. Omega-3s can help cut the risk of fatal heart attacks, dementia and Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and strokes, rheumatoid arthritis, severe depression, attention deficit disorder, asthma, psoriasis, diabetes, lupus and migraines.
You can get the omega-3s you need without mercury by taking a purified fish oil supplement every day. The purest forms of fish oil have been molecularly distilled using state-of the-art vacuum technology that removes toxic contaminants from the oil. Molecular distillation is currently the only way to reduce these environmental toxins to undetectable levels, rendering the oil safe for human consumption, without damaging the omega-3 fatty acids it contains.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: If you’re eating less fish these days, you can still safely get the omega-3 fats you need by taking fish oil supplements. Choose one that has been molecularly distilled for maximum purity, as supplements that do not undergo this process may even contain concentrated amounts of mercury and other dangerous toxins.