Why You Shouldn't Consume Fish Oil...

Updated: Jan 29

I like fish. I like them, even more, when they don't bite me in the behind.

The underwater kingdom that is the sea. Have you ever scuba-dived or snorkeled? If so, you know how beautiful it can be.

Unless everything is polluted, colorless, and dead, thanks to people ruining the environment.

A few years ago, my wife and I went to the Philipines. Since we both love snorkeling, we made sure to set some time aside to explore the beauties underneath the surface of the crystal clear, blue waters.

One peculiar thing, though...

My wife couldn't swim. Actually, that's not entirely true. She could swim for about 2 meters until she'd sink like a brick. But she loved it and she was getting better at it. Swimming, not sinking; she was an amazing sinker.

This created a dilemma...

I like my freedom in the water and didn't want to be constantly looking out for her, so we had to think of a solution.

shark about to eat my wife
Solution found.

The friendly people from the boat gave her a lifejacket.

Can you imagine how that looks like, snorkeling with a lifejacket on? Yes, awkward.

Needless to say, I spent most of my time with the fish below the surface.

wife snorkeling
It's okay. She had fun with her "kind."

At one point we entered shallow, rocky waters. Not my favorite, cause I prefer not to step on stuff and damage everything, so I was mostly hanging out in relatively sandy parts.

Then, all of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my buttocks.

I turn around. I see nothing but a cute little fish. So, I asked it if it saw what happened. The bubbles coming out of my mouth seemed to frighten it and it backed off for a second. However, then it faced me with an intense stare and started to waggle its tail in an intimidating manner.

The fish was probably the size of my thumb but, trust me, it looked fierce and scary.

I faced my fears and soon I found myself in one of the most intense staredowns ever. Its tail waggling became more and more intense as its movement started producing cute tiny bubbles. I responded accordingly, by producing slightly bigger bubbles from the back as well.

Then, without any warning whatsoever, it charged at me with full speed.

I panicked, made a high-pitched sound under the water and my limbs floundered about uncontrollably.

My sonar-like scream caught the attention of my nearby wife (Yes, I didn't actually abandon her. I'm not that cruel).

It turns out the fish was totally fine with her. Therefore, I assume it was a male trying to defend its territory. It could also have been the fact that I was wearing brightly-colored swimming trunks. Unfortunately, it remains up for speculation.

We've seen some gorgeous places, but the many tourists visiting every year left a visible mark on the environment in other places. Some waters seemed lifeless, corals were destroyed and plastic material was scattered across the ocean's floor. To say this only affects the Philipines would be unfair. It happens everywhere.

Pollution is a serious problem all around the world. Pollution caused by tourism, though horrific, plays "only" a minor part in water pollution.

Household, industrial and agricultural waste, also make their way into rivers and seas, and they are far more destructive. They make their way into the habitats of fish and other marine life.

waste dumped in river
This is one of the ways it happens.

Understandably, fish is notorious for being contaminated with heavy metals and other environmental contaminants. 1, 2

The WHO (World Health Organisation) is aware of this problem. However, it still considers there are benefits to eating fish and, therefore, recommends 1-2 servings per week.


Because fish contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA. These fatty acids fulfill important roles in the body (such as your brain) and also play an important role for your immune cells contributing to a healthy immune system. 3

Different marine life is contaminated with different substances, which can all accumulate within your body. Contamination also varies per region. Therefore, recommendations deserve to be a bit more nuanced; variation is key. Also, the fish higher up in the food chain usually accumulate more pollutants and should be minimized or avoided.

If you think you can steer away from pollution by simply choosing to supplement DHA and EPA, you are only partly correct...

Fish oil supplements encounter the same contamination problems. 4

If one chooses to supplement DHA and EPA directly, there is, fortunately, a much safer choice.

By far, the cleanest, safest source of DHA and EPA is:

Algae Oil. 5

Algae oil is gaining popularity as more and more people are becoming more and more health-conscious.

Although not set in stone, 250mg of DHA/EPA is a common recommendation for the average person.

What if you don't want to consume fish nor supplements and steer away from pollution?

Thankfully, there is a way.

Click here to read the article: "The Omega-3 Food You Need to Be Eating."

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