Seafood safety-when is seafood dangerous for human health?


SEAFOOD Background:-

Seafood is a nutrient rich food that has the major source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Seafood is a nutrient rich food containing high-quality protein. Seafood mainly provides the source of omega- 3 fatty acids Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Seafood Safety:-

Seafood is high protein food that is lowers saturated fat and lowers in calories. High in vitamins and minerals. Seafood can decrease the risk of heart-attack, stroke, and hypertension. Seafood is a complete protein source which contains enough of the essential amino acids. EPA and DHA can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and contribute to brain and vision development in infants while omega-3s from plant source called Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) is a precursor to EPA and DHA.

  The benefits of Seafood are:-


 I). Seafood reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

II). Seafood helps to protect against heart attacks and sudden death.

III). Seafood reduces the triglyceride levels present in the blood.

Eyes: - Seafood contributes to visual sharpness.

Brain:- Seafood contributes to neurological improvements in infants and children.        

Pregnancy: - Seafood increases duration of gestation.

Muscles:- Seafood helps to build muscles and tissues. 

Seafood Dangerous for Human health:-

No doubt, fish can be a dietary choice because it is in lower calories and saturated fat rather than red meat and naturally higher in omega-3 fatty acids. But, it also contains mercury and other potentially harmful contaminants that are dangerous for human beings.

Mercury present in the environment in several different forms including metallic, inorganic and organic, and inter-conversion between forms can occur. The form of mercury of greatest concern with regards to seafood consumption is methyl mercury. Methyl mercury means when mercury in other forms is deposited in water bodies and bio-transformed through the process of methylation by micro-organisms.

Some fish such as shark, swordfish, and king mackerel are consistent which can harm the nervous system of a fetus or young child. The risk associated with mercury in fish to other people is less established, though in general the heavier you are the fish you can eat. Sometimes, we will found it in fish, such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have been linked to some cancers and reproductive problems. Several risk assessments have been conducted in the past decade in which the goal was to identify a fetal mercury burden that can be interpreted as being without appreciable risk. The cause for most risk assessments for methyl mercury (Me-Hg) exposure has been one or more of the three major epidemiologic studies available.

 The New Zealand Study

The Faroe Island Study

The Seychelles Study

            These three studies were conducted among geographically distinct island population with a high availability of seafood (Tuna considered to be an important product of Seychelles, in fishing industry one-third of the Faroese workforce is employed and both aquaculture and marine fishing feature in the economy of New Zealand).

The Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) is an ongoing collaboration between the Ministry of the health of Seychelles, and the University Rochester, New York. Initially, the objective focused on two primary questions. Firstly, could clinical neurodevelopment effects be found in children after exposure to Methyl Mercury (Me-Hg) in utero from a maternal diet high in fish and secondly what is the minimum level of foetal [SIC] exposure that can cause an adverse effect?

Seychelles was determined to be a favourable location for this study due to below reasons:-

The Seychellois regularly consume fish (an average of 12meals per week) and no. of    annual births allowed for recruitment of a large cohort of mothers and children in a short period.

The Seychelles child development study enrolled 779 mother-infants pairs between 1989 and 1990, of which 717 were eligible for analysis. Among the test administered at 107 months was the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.

The findings of the Seychelles Study appear different from those of the Faroe Islands and New Zealand Studies. If we focus only on the p-Value of the reported analyses, represented at a deeper quantitative level that focuses on the rates of decline in scores as mercury burden increases the findings of three studies are remarkably consistent.

P- Value is defined as the probability of obtaining a result equal to or more extreme to that of what was actually observed. When the null hypothesis (H0) is true. For null hypothesis significance testing, the P- value is widely used in statistical hypothesis testing for frequentist inference.

The health risks associated with increased Me-Hg exposure in seafood is countered by the fact that this source also provides nutrients that might have health effects. This provides an estimate that represents the balance between the putative harm caused by the contaminant and the putative benefits by the nutrients in seafood.

This issue is critical, however, because the goal in giving advice regarding seafood consumption should enable people to obtain the greatest benefits for the least risk.

Avoid those fish, which have the highest levels of mercury and the lowest levels of Omega-3s. Such fishes are as under:-

Canned Albacore Tuna


King Mackerel

Sea Bass


Spanish and Atlantic Mackerel



Tuna steaks

The Environment working Group (EWG) is an American environment organization that specialises in research and advocacy in the areas of toxics chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands and corporate accountability. As per the analysis of EWG's on the presence of Mercury and Omega-3 concentrations in seafood can be dangerous if eating fish indiscriminately.  Commonly eaten species such as Shrimp and Catfish are very low in beneficial omega-3 fats. Hence eating more of these species does not provide enough Omega-3s. EWS has compiled a list of moderate mercury species that would pose a mercury risk for pregnant woman and children who eat fish regularly. This list is more comprehensive than the 2004 EPA/FDA advisory which warned that women of childbearing age and young children, who are most susceptible to the damage done by mercury, should not  consume more than six ounces a week of albacore Tuna and also avoid four other high-mercury species such as Swordfish, Tilefish, King Mackerel and Shark.

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