What About Fish?

Very few topics in health and nutrition are as confusing or seemingly controversial as fish consumption. This lecture puts an end to the confusion by answering the following questions:

  • Is it healthy to consume fish?
  • What about fish and krill oil supplements?
  • What are the best sources of Omega-3s?
  • Why is the general public so misinformed about the dangers of fish?

“The consequences of not being educated on this issue are extremely severe. So if you are concerned about your health and the health of your loved ones, especially if you have children and want to make sure they grow up healthy, pay close attention to the facts.” Marc Jaoude.

Share this pageEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

35 Responses

  1. Noticed you never mentioned flaxseed. Is there a reason? Great presentation, BTW.

    1. Thank you Christopher. I tend to prefer hemp and chia seeds over flax seeds. Flax seeds are more difficult to digest (that’s why they have to be ground up first). Ideally you would sprout them before consumption.

  2. HI Marc, as a person committed to a whole food plant-based low oil with lots of daily cardio exericse lifestyle I really appreciate this video. I have friends who are interested in my progress from bring “crippled” with rheumatoid arthritis just over a year ago to regaining a normal life, if not better. Some of these friends love their fish and although I have known part of the story I have not, until today been able to get the comprehensive view that you present.

    1. Dear Andy,
      Thank you very much for sharing your inspiring story. Every time someone contributes so generously by sharing their personal experience it serves to help the next person.

      I should mention that my latest video on dioxins also tackles the fish issue. There are some indisputable facts that should be given more attention, and hopefully this video will also be of some use to you as continue to inspire your friends.

    1. In hindsight I should have explained the Japanese myth in this video but I felt I was running a little too long. Okinawa, Japan, was recognized as a Blue Zone. Blue Zones are areas in the world where people experience a level of superior health and longevity. Fish consumption was less than 1% among the healthiest people in Okinawa. Prior to 1960 the bulk of their diet, about 70%, consisted of sweet potatoes and 98% of their diet was vegetarian (96% Vegan). After the 1960s the Japanese began consuming more fish and animal protein in general, since then their health has declined and alzheimers has shot up. Recently the government campaigned for the Japanese to eat more plant-based and they have made good strides in improving their health. It should also be noted that they consumed 2000 calories less than what we do in North America- that’s quite a big difference. They are slimmer and generally healthier for many reasons, fish consumption is not one of them. We have to remember that correlation does not equal causation.

      Seaweeds have recently received some bad press but what is sold on the market is generally quite safe for human consumption. In fact, seaweeds and algae have been successfully used for decades to rid the body of heavy metals. They are a wonderful source of many nutrients and should be part of a healthy diet. We don’t need to consume much seaweed to reap the benefits.

  3. Great video once again. Have you read Dr. Fuhrman’s amazing book The End of Heart Disease? In there, he talks about how even if we eat large amounts of ALA from flaxseeds and walnuts, it does not or may not translate into higher levels of EPA and DHA and that it would be primarily due to genetic differences in conversion enzymes. Very interesting.

    So he recommends taking a good quality algae-derived supplement of 265 milligrams of EPA (88 milligrams) plus DHA (177 milligrams).

    He cites a study that showed that large number of un-supplemented vegans demonstrated deficiency as measured by the omega-3 index. And he’s also noticed it his 25-year practice, where there’s a distinct link between low EPA and DHA levels and depression.

    His sources:

    Sarter B, Kelsey KS, Schwartz TA, et al. Blood docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapen- taenoic acid in vegans: associations with age and gender and effects of an algal- derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Clin Nutr. 2015;34(2):212–18.

    McNamara RK, Strawn JR. Role of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in psychiatric practice. PharmaNutrition. 2013;1(2):41–49. Grosso G, Galvano F, Marventano S, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: scientific evidence and biological mecha- nisms. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2014;2014:313570. Grosso G, Pajak A, Marventano S, et al. Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depressive disorders: A comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. PLoS One. 2014;9(5):e96905. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096905.

    What are your thoughts on that? Would say that supplementation is another scheme or useless?

    Thank you for your answer.

    1. Hi there,

      We only need a very small amount of omega 3, and this need is easily met on a proper plant-based diet. The confusion occurs when you start looking at populations consuming poor western diets, including unhealthy vegan diets, that are too rich in omega 6 (which competes with omega 3 and blocks ALA to EPA/DHA conversion). I have seen no information, including the studies you posted, that would lead me to recommend an omega 3 supplement. In fact, studies are beginning to show that higher dietary DHA intakes and blood DHA concentrations are associated to a higher risk of prostate cancer. The only exception for which an Omega 3 supplement could be helpful would be for individuals who refuse to change their diet, and who continue to eat highly processed foods high in Omega 6 fatty acids.

      Very strong associations have been made between several nutrient deficiencies and depression/mental health issues. All evidence shows that improving our overall diet, increasing our consumption of vegetables, and exercising at a good intensity leads to great improvements in mental health. The only supplement that could be recommended across the board for all people would be B12.

  4. +Markito Nutrition.
    hay, I like your video, and I have a question, Im studying medical herbalism, in our consultation clinic hours many of the practitioners recommend fish oils, ALL the time, to our patients. when I challenge them about this, (since I cannot see my self doing the same in my practice for ethical, environmental and health reasons) they tell me that plant based omeg-3 are not assimilated well because of the longer process the body needs to transform it into EPA and DHA. they say many things can go wrong in the conversion and therefore fish oil is much better. I would appreciate if you could direct me to any article or more detailed explanation why you have come to the conclusion this is not true. thank you.

    1. Thank you for your question. Your colleagues need to shift their thinking when it comes to how they view the impact of isolated nutrients. The jury is still out on how much DHA we really need and what other factors play a role in determining what is ideal. What we do know, without hesitation, is that people throughout the world who consume a whole foods plant-based diet do just fine without any fish oil supplements, or even fish for that matter. Throughout our history we’ve gotten into trouble when looking at individual nutrients- and especially when supplementing with mega doses. Let’s look at a similar example with iron- many people still believe that iron from plant based sources is inferior because it is not as easily absorbed as that from meat. However, today science has shown us that iron overload is a much greater problem than iron deficiency. People eating lots of meat and/or taking iron supplements may be putting themselves at greater risk for a long range of health issues, from Alzheimer’s to cancer and cardiovascular issues. Excessive iron stores also promotes insulin resistance and is associated with type 2 diabetes. Patients are encouraged to donate blood as a way to help the body rid itself of this excess iron. So yes, plant-based iron isn’t as easily absorbed- but that’s a good thing! Plant-based eaters do not suffer from iron deficiency or from greater rates of anemia than meat eaters, and their health is generally much better. To pivot back to your original question, and to help put things in perspective, before discussing ALA to EPA and DHA conversion rates, let’s first find some stronger evidence that more is actually better, and let’s not be surprised if we soon discover the opposite to be true.

  5. Fish-eating cultures such as Japan are some of the healthiest in the world. Case closed. drops mic

    1. The actual dietary intake of Okinawans is 96% whole food plant-based, and heavy on sweet potatoes. Only 1% of their diet is fish.

      There are 5 Blue Zones on Earth, as reported by National Geographic. These are 5 places around the world where people experience a level of superior health and longevity unseen anywhere else on the planet. You are correct that Okinawa, Japan, is one of the Blue Zones, along with Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California. The populations reach the age of one hundred at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. Here is one bit of information you left out: they all share a very similar diet which is 95-100% plant-based, with whole grains and legumes forming the cornerstone of most centenarians’ diets. The Blue Zones teach us, once again, about the importance of consuming a proper plant-based diet.

      Discover more at http://MarkitoNutrition.com

  6. I am a vegan and I am quite curious, do you cook spinach or you eat them raw? Lots of people recommend cooking it before consume to reduce oxalates but I found that there’s no matter eating it raw… Which way should I follow? Can you please give me some suggestion? 🙂

    Btw, I love all of your videos! Thanks for sharing! ;)

    1. +6WinterHan9 Thanks for watching. Raw is best, and I have little concern about oxalates in spinach, especially if you are on a good plant-based diet. We are now learning that many of the so called “anti-nutrients” that exist in plant-based foods, such as phytic and oxalic acid, are essential in small quantities for our well-being. Looking at the bulk of the evidence I have no problem recommending a proper plant-based diet with lots of raw “living” foods. I discuss these foods in detail on my Markito Nutrition website. All the best.

  7. The source of most problems points to the existence of large international corporate greed. I think that Air, Water and Food need to be protected from insane, powerful and destructive monopolies. Without a middle class our societies are doomed.Knowledge is great and helps but I am sure the Corporations will figure out how to poison the Chia seeds and the spinach all in good time.Governments represent the interests of the lobbyists. Electoral reform is required to bring back power to the people. Trade agreements being signed by our government without the public’s knowledge nor understanding due to time constraints, complexity of issues and lack of transparency all contribute to poor quality of Your Air, Water and Food.

    1. Well said. Unfortunately, many people are so unaware of what is happening to their air, water, and food supply, that they actually defend some of these cooperations even against their own interest. Freedom can only exist once we are provided with proper information.

      I agree that we cannot have a conversation about our current state of health without discussing electoral reform. I do believe that change is going to have to come from the bottom, and I see people becoming more conscious with each passing day. Thank goodness we have the means to share information across the world. All the best.

  8. Speechless.. Cracking my mind about “eating fish is super healthy”.. I literally eat steamed fishes EVERYDAY. I think I am super healthy with my diet, vegan 80% and fish 20% per day. But there’s always a loophole, isn’t it? Hahahaha.. But at least my 80% vegan could covering those 20% toxic for past these years. Thanks for sharing and killing my mind :’)) Hahahaha.. I will share this to others. I really hope 20 years from now, no one will object for everything that you told in this video. Hahahahaha.. ;’))

    1. Thanks for watching Felisia. It’s a learning process, and we can’t get too hard on ourselves. The more we learn the better we do- and when it comes to food and health there are a lot of reasons why we are not always told the truth, so this means that we need to dig a little deeper ourselves. I apologize for “killing your mind” :)- that was certainly not my intention! All the best.

  9. Your reference” Why Fish Oil Fails: A Comprehensive 21st Century Lipids-Based Physiologic Analysis” has been retracted.

    1. Dear Chunxi, thank you for the update. The article in question was retracted because the author provides an alternative to fish oil supplements, and this was seen as a conflict of interest. Regardless, the many studies referenced within his article that form the basis for his arguments have certainly not been retracted, nor is the continuing and mounting evidence against fish oil supplementation. Thanks again. 

  10. Congratulations for this video and all the great, clear, straight-up information in it. People need to be aware of the truth, otherwise we are destroying ourselves. Thank you so much for contributing to spread the true facts, I loved the video, and will make sure everyone I know watches it.

Leave a Reply