Farmed fish,is it good for you,read below for Dr Axe's essay and thoughts.

Eating Tilapia is Worse Than Eating Bacon

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Fish-FarmI’ve written before about the dangers of farmed fish. Most people agree that eating fish is a healthier option for us. And the truth is, it really is! Fish is a low fat, high protein food that has a range of health benefits. However, given what we know of fish and its sources today, I need to clarify the myth that all fish is healthy.

Fish may not always be good for you.Fish can either be incredibly healthy or detrimental to our health, depending on where it’s sourced. There’s a world of difference between fish caught in the wild, and farm bred or farm-raised fish.

The most common types of farm-raised fish are

  • Salmon
  • Carp
  • Tilapia
  • Sea bass
  • Catfish
  • Cod

Why is Farm Raised Fish So Bad for You?

1. Can Cause Inflammation

Farm raised Tilapia has always been a popular source for fish, not only because it’s widely available in the US, but it’s also very inexpensive. It’s known in the food business as “aquatic chicken” because it breeds easily and tastes bland. Tilapia is the perfect factory fish; it happily eats pellets made largely of corn and soy and gains weight rapidly, easily converting a diet that resembles cheap chicken feed into low-cost seafood. Recent studies have concluded that eating

Tilapia may worsen inflammation which can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems. People who have started eating more fish as a way to get their dose of omega-3-fatty-acids and lessen their risk of heart attacks should avoid Tilapia. In fact, scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of Tilapia is greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon!


2. Contains Cancer Causing Pollutants

Farm bred fish may have at least 10 times the cancer causing pollutants compared to the wild variety. This can most likely be attributed to the feeds used on farm-raised fish. Chicken feces is one of the main ingredients in farm fish feed. Not only that, the transfer of pig and duck waste to fish farms is also a very common practice.


3. Contains Antibiotics and Pesticides

Where do farm bred fish get their antibiotics? The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, farm owners give antibiotics to the fish to stave off disease. Farm bred fish are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. The pesticides used to treat these fish are so deadly that they have been found to kill wild salmon that are accidentally exposed to them. These pesticides are also eventually released in the ocean where they get into the bodies and systems of other marine life.


4. Low Levels of Nutrients

Many of us consume fish, hoping to reap the omega-3 fatty acid benefits that come with it. However, did you know that the omega-3-acids found in farm raised fish are less usable to our bodies compared to wild bred fish, and they also have a lower protein content. Not only that, because farm raised fish are kept in cages, they have the tendency to contain more fat, and can have a higher concentration of omega-6 acids. The problem with getting too much omega 3 and omega 6 acids is that they may cause inflammation to the body


5. Contains Toxic Chemicals

Dibutylin levels (toxic chemical used in PVC plastics) is said to be 6 times higher in farm raised mussels compared to wild ones. Dibutylin is toxic and can impair immune system function while also contributing to inflammation. Dibutylin may be the reason why we’ve seen a rise in asthma, obesity, allergies and other metabolic disorders in the recent years.


6. Contains Even MORE Toxic Chemicals

Dioxin levels (toxic chemical) are 11 times higher in farm bred salmon compared to wild salmon. Dioxin is actually a very toxic chemical that can contribute to cancer and other complications. The problem with dioxin is that once it enters our system, it can take a very long time until it is let out. The half life of dioxin is about 7 to 11 years.


This is why I only eat Wild Caught fish like Wild Sockeye Salmon. Wild caughtsalmon is loaded with Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, and has incredible health benefits. Plus, Salmon contains astaxanthin (A metabolic building block) which has been shown to be 6,000 times more powerful than Vitamin D at absorbing free radicals.

To see all the fish I recommend, check out my free Healing Food Shopping List. If you’re not eating Salmon or another wild caught fish once daily, then I recommend taking a high quality fish oil that contains astaxanthin, like Oceans 3.


Where to Get Wild Caught Fish


1. Local Health Food Stores, Whole Foods. Be careful though, because “wild caught” can be a loosely used term, so ask. Kroger and Publix are starting to carry more organic and wild caught items.

2. Online. This works great for me because I know exactly where my fish is sourced from plus it shows up at my door. This is why I prefer to order wild caught fish online. I trust Vital Choice, it’s where I order my wild caught Salmon and other fish from.



Sources:  ScienceDaily.  “Tilapia contains potentially dangerous fatty acid ratio.” Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. July 8, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2008.


  1. Yuri said:

    Thank you very much!

  2. Theolana said:

    Dr. Axe, what are your thoughts on canned wild caught salmon and also canned tuna?

  3. Glenn said:

    So how is it worst then bacon? What is wrong with bacon?

  4. ann said:

    did you know this!

  5. andrew said:

    So why do you have to bash bacon, where’s the backup evidence to support your claims that bacon is not good for you – I disagree!

  6. John said:

    I’d like to see evidence that bacon or hamburger is inflammatory. I avoid teh same thing wild fish avoid: corn and soy but also wheat.

  7. aCountryVegan said:

    I do appreciate you bringing to light the dangers of eating farm raised fish, but there are other healthy sources of Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA without eating fish, including flax and chia seeds for the omegas and algae & seaweed for EPA and DHA. Also not everyone can afford to spend $16 to $35 a pound for fish from your online fish source. One ounce of Salmon has:
    total Omega-3 fatty acids 316 mg
    while one 1/4 ounce of ground flaxseeds has: total Omega-3 fatty acids 1597 mg
    At over $2 an ounce for the fish source you suggested and a little over 5 cents for the flaxseeds, I think I will stick to the flaxseeds.

    The nutrition data was from

  8. Brent said:

    Because The Creator said so in Lev. 11 and Deu. 14.

  9. Bambi said:

    Thank you for this article! I know pork is extremely unhealthy (its a scavenger, it will eat its own feces! After all, you are what you eat… including what they ate)! I also knew the way conventional beef and chickens are raised is unhealthy too but I didn’t realize so many of the same practices are used in farming fish! I can’t afford really good quality fish online, but I can afford the canned wild salmon. Also, my husband loves to fish, but even so you have to check with others to make sure which lakes are okay to eat the fish out of. I live in FL where there are plenty of lakes but some (especially in park areas where lots of people are at) are too poluted to eat the fish. If you don’t agree about conventional meat being unhealthy for you, I seen a couple of documentaries that will turn your stomach called “Frankensteer” and “A River Of Waste” (both can be found on Netflix too).

  10. Susan said:

    I was at a health conference in Atlanta where Dr. Axe was teaching along with Jordan Rubin and Dr. Caroline Leaf. I actually asked this same question and Dr. Axe said he is fine with canned wild caught salmon and finds it to be an affordable alternative to fresh.

  11. Dennis Valverde said:

    Thanks Dr. Josh Axe I’ll keep that in Mind
    I Take fish oil omega 3 gel caps with D3 in it.
    I will try the wild sockeye salmon.

  12. Stephen said:

    A note on pork poop:

    Not only will hogs eat their own feces, but, many animals do so when food is scarce or they’re under nourished.

    When hogs are humanely raised thru organic methods, rarely, if at all, will they eat their own feces.

    Basically, any conventionally raised animal, regardless, if it is on a family farm or commercial farm, is all bad. Don’t be fooled by the “family farm” hype.

    We have been involved with humane animal practices and organic farming for sometime and it’s very frustrating to see so many farmers are claiming to have organic methods, free range and grass fed. That’s only on the surface!

  13. Theolana said:

    Thank you Susan!!

  14. Christy said:

    What about the bpa in the lining of cans??

  15. Liz said:

    I have been wondering about the safety of Alaskan Salmon lately, due to the radiation from Japan. Do you have any info about that? I haven’t found too much info online about this issue.

  16. Wade said:

    I do think you should look into the The Weston A. Price Foundation’s articles on Fish Oil_in the U.S. a naturally produced, unheated, fermented high-vitamin cod liver oil that is made using a filtering process that retains the natural vitamins.
    The high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is sold as a food so does not contain vitamin levels on the label. However, after numerous tests, the approximate values of A and D have been ascertained at 1900 IU vitamin A per mL and 390 IU vitamin D per mL. Thus 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil contains 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D, a ratio of about 5:1.

  17. Lesley said:

    I am quite concerned about any fish coming out of Alaska or the Pacific right now due to the radiation from Fukushima. Most of the fish from the web site recommended in this article is from the Pacific. Do you recommend any other sites where we can purchase non-Pacific, non-Alaskan wild caught fish?

  18. Jill said:

    Yes, I would like to know this too.

  19. Jill said:

    “The Creator” also outlined the proper procedures for selling daughters into slavery…

  20. Guerry said:

    Thanks, Dr for the info. Change in my fish
    diet right away.

  21. mare brennion said:

    i find really good wild caught (sometimes fresh) fish at harris teeter on hwy 100, and they will answer questions about them.

  22. Nancy said:

    What about aquaponics? See
    Are you condemning all farmed fish?

  23. Maple said:

    Dr. Axe, what brand of canned wild caught salmon and canned tuna do you recommend?

  24. Travis said:

    Wild fish may be better for you but it’s really not a viable option for anyone that cares about the environment. Wild fishing is notoriously hard to regulate and as a result most of our fisheries have been wiped or are on track to be depleted within decades ( .

    The last thing we need is for everyone to get it in their head that they should only eat wild fish. I agree that conditions at farms should be better but that’s no reason to go wiping out species.

  25. Dylan said:

    When I go to check out vital choice as a source of Wild Salmon, it says that it is Sustainably Harvested. Isn’t that just another way of saying Farmed?

  26. tracy said:

    I am interested in all the perspectives, but choosing an acceptable balance between price, quality, taste, ease of purchase, nutritional value, and availability is sometimes just an exercise in futility.

    Gotta die of something, right?

    I guess I’ll have my bacon burger with a side of tilapia, a multivitamin and a eulogy.

  27. Marilyn said:

    My son lives in Fairview and has 15 acres. He has free range chickens that run all over the yard and eat poop and all kinds of worms and bugs. So, I buy good eggs at Kroger.

  28. Dr. Loren Marks said:

    I can appreciate your cost conversion on omega 3s from a vegetarian source to a animal one, but you fail to realize that it is not the same comparison. The value of both are derived from their EPA/DHA content. Vegetarian sources have been studied and Schmit at NASA Ames has published data that states that for every one hundred molecules of flax seeds, only 1 can be converted into EPA/DHA. Additionally, it is a long and arduous metabolic pathway requiring many nutrients as co factors for this conversion to occur. If you don’ t want to eat the fish, for your vegan diet, consider taking the fish oil. But do continue to eat the seeds for their lignans.
    Dr. Marks

  29. Fisher said:

    You could always go fishing too.

  30. Rita Maggi said:

    Recently I was in the Caribbean snorkeling and instead of viewing a beautiful reef, I viewed old shoes, plastic bottles and glasses, tin cans, etc.Not to mention that tons of garbage and nuclear waist is polluting our vast ocean resource. Therefore, I don’t understand how fish caught in the wild is any better than farm raised.

  31. Ginny said:

    Chickens naturally work through manure to find bugs and seeds. Their digestive systems are designed to eat those things. Your son’s free-range chickens are living a much healthier life than the chickens who provide eggs for grocery stores. Those chickens are kept in confinement, kept awake 23 hours a day, have their beaks filed down (to prevent cannibalism), and are fed a steady diet of soy, corn, antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals. So you’re much better off with your son’s eggs.