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Why Wild Salmon Is Better Than Farm-Raised

Monday, November 12, 2007 by: Frank Mangano
Tags: salmon, food safety, health news

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(NewsTarget) A good friend of mine is crazy about fish. He doesn’t have it too often, cognizant of the high levels of mercury found in some fish, so he tries to limit himself to having it once, twice a week max. Anyway, he went to his local fish market to buy some fresh salmon, surprised to see that one of the salmon fillets was $10 higher than the other. Not wanting to spend the extra Alexander Hamilton, he opted for the lesser of the two—the farm-raised, thinking the only reason for the difference in price was due to your basic supply and demand. Oh, if that were the only difference.

I can certainly sympathize with my tuition-paying, college-attending friend’s reasoning for not wanting to spend more money when it’s tight as it is. But when it comes to salmon, spending a little extra is worth it.

Obviously, part of the reason for the difference in price is the fact that wild salmon is harder to come by than farm-raised, but that’s due, at least in part, to a widely released report about the dangerous dioxins found in farm-raised salmon that many people have heeded in their salmon purchases, but not nearly enough.

In a study published in the journal Science in 2004, researchers discovered that farm-raised salmon had more dioxins and other chemicals like PCBs—polychlorinated biphenyls, which the Department of Health and Human Services has determined are carcinogens—than in wild salmon. Not just more, but 11 times more! Another study published in a 2005 edition of the journal Nutrition found similar results, theirs showing PCBs were ten times higher in farm-raised salmon than in wild salmon. The worst part of the contamination problem is it knows no boundaries. From South America, to European waters, to farming locales here at home, farm-raised salmon are littered with these poisonous PCBs because the fish oils and other feed farmers are giving to their salmon for sustenance is contaminated. The salmon then absorb these chemicals when they eat, which is transferred to you when you get them at your local fish market. Wild salmon doesn’t have this problem because, as the term “wild” indicates, they get their sustenance from a variety of sources in the ocean, many of which aren’t nearly as contaminated (0.17 parts per billion vs. 1.88 parts per billion).

Now, before you run to your freezer to throw out the fish you just bought for dinner tonight, take a deep breath. Don’t be too hasty. As hazardous to your health as PCBs and dioxins can be, all the present research indicates that the benefits of eating heart healthy (and low-mercury-count friendly) fish like salmon far outweigh the risks. The key is to eat less farm-raised. But even here, there’s ways in which to eliminate a significant portion of the chemicals found in them. Perhaps the easiest way is to eliminate the skin. Previous studies done on farm-raised salmon were done with the skin on, and most of the absorbed pollutants are stored in the skin. So just by peeling off that layer of skin before you throw it on the grill is one way.

Another way is to ask your fish market provider if they know what foods farmers gave their salmon. As Jane Houlian of the Environmental Working Group pointed out in a 2004 interview with CBS News, many farmers are providing their salmon with alternative food sources like canola and soybean oil in an effort to prevent their salmon from becoming contaminated as much as possible.

Again, this is not a call to stop eating fish or salmon. The fact that we live in an industrialized world means that contaminants, like PCBs, will find their way into our food supply one way or another. The call is to eat as little farm-raised fish as possible until this issue is addressed with a bit more urgency than it is at present.

About the author

Frank Mangano is an American author, health advocate, researcher and entrepreneur in the field of alternative health. He is perhaps best known for his book "The Blood Pressure Miracle," which continues to be an Amazon best selling book. Additionally, he has published numerous reports and a considerable amount of articles pertaining to natural health.
Mangano is the publisher of Natural Health On The Web, which offers readers free and valuable information on alternative remedies. To learn more visit:

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