Types of Fish High in Mercury and How to Prevent the Danger of Mercury Poisoning

Some seafood such as mackerel and tilefish contain high levels of mercury which can cause poisoning. Learn about other dangers of eating fish high in mercury here.

Fish is a healthy food that is good to consume. Unfortunately, some types of fish contain mercury which can be dangerous for your health. 

Mercury is a type of natural metal found in air, water, and soil. However, most people are exposed to mercury through food, including by eating fish. The type of mercury in fish is methylmercury

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to mercury can cause health problems. This is similar to what Dr. Dyah Novita Anggraini. According to him, the dangers of mercury can reduce immunity, disrupt organ function and damage nerves.

So, what types of fish contain mercury? How dangerous is eating mercury-poisoned fish? Let’s find out the full answer here. 

Types of Fish Potentially Contaminated with Mercury

According to BetterHealth, mercury levels in fish will vary depending on the type of fish, size, location, habitat, diet and age. 

Usually, predatory fish (that eat other fish) are large and at the top of the food chain, tend to contain more mercury. 

Fish that contain higher levels of mercury include:

  • Shark and its fins
  • Big eye tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Swordfish or swordfish
  • Grouper
  • Tilefish _
  • Mackerel (Spain)

How to Prevent Eating Fish Contaminated with Mercury

Even though there are a number of dangers from eating fish that contain mercury, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat fish.

“The way to prevent the dangers of mercury can be by choosing fish with low mercury levels, such as anchovies, catfish, clams, crabs, crayfish, croaker or Atlantic, haddock, herring, mackerel, oysters, sardines, shrimp and squid,” suggested Doctor Vita.

Also, it is important to remember that over time, the body has the ability to get rid of mercury. That is, the dangers of mercury to health can occur when the body consumes foods that contain high levels of mercury continuously.

Nevertheless, you still need to be careful in consuming seafood. Especially for pregnant women, women who are planning a pregnancy, as well as children, it is recommended to avoid consuming fish that contain high levels of mercury, including raw fish.

This is to prevent developmental disorders in the fetus and children. 

Dangers of Consuming Mercury-Contaminated Fish

Mercury exposure often occurs when a person consumes fish and shellfish that have high levels of methylmercury in them.

Inhaling mercury vapor can have detrimental effects on the nerves, digestion, immune system, lungs and kidneys. When mercury levels increase in the body, this can cause several signs. The following are symptoms of mercury poisoning :

  • Muscle weakness
  • There is a metallic taste in the mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numb
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in vision, hearing, or speech
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty walking or standing straight

It is important to remember, methylmercury is a very strong poison. People who are exposed to high levels of mercury can experience adverse health effects. Here are some long-term mercury hazards that can be experienced:

1. Hypertension

Mercury can cause serious health problems. Based on research published by the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, chronic low doses of mercury have detrimental effects on health, such as hypertension.

The reason is, that exposure to mercury can increase the production of free radicals, this produces toxic or toxic effects on the cardiovascular system, including causing high blood pressure.

2. Changes in the Central Nervous System

High levels of mercury in the body can cause a person to experience long-term nerve damage.

The side effects of food contaminated with mercury tend to be felt by children who are still growing.

This can cause impaired intelligence and low IQ, slow reflexes, impaired motor skills, numbness, memory and concentration problems, and even ADHD symptoms.

3. Reproductive Effects

The danger of mercury-contaminated fish consumed by humans can also pose a risk to the reproductive system. This can lead to reduced sperm count or decreased fertility.

Apart from that, mercury can also be dangerous for the fetus in the womb. The dangers of mercury to pregnant women and fetuses can cause several disorders, such as impaired fetal brain development, central nervous system disorders, and impaired cognitive function.

4. Cardiovascular Risk

Exposure to mercury can increase free radicals in the body which trigger cell damage. This certainly can increase the risk of heart problems, such as heart attacks and coronary heart disease

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