Not all fish is created equal. In fact, some fish I believe should be avoided

Fish is renowned for being healthy. It is packed with healthy oils that help abundantly in so many areas of our health, from our brains, heart and nerves to our eyes.

Wild Alaskan Salmon is an example of some of the finest fish, packed densely with nutrients: vitamins (such as B6, B12, niacin, selenium, magnesium, phosphorous), minerals, lean protein and the beneficial omega-3 fats. Including this particular type of salmon in your diet may offer some protection against conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, depression, high blood pressure, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes and even cancer.

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington followed 2,700 healthy adults for 16 years who ate 1-2 servings per week of oily fish, such as salmon. Results showed that adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids lived 2.2 years longer and had a 35% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Salmon used to be a delicacy. My Grandmother would serve it only for the most special of occasions. Today it is the single biggest selling fish in the UK. You can buy a couple of pieces of salmon for the price of a small chicken.

So What’s Changed?

Salmon farming.

What’s the Difference Between Wild Salmon and Farmed Salmon?

There’s a big difference, not just in the price.

  • DIET:  Wild Alaskan Salmon swim in the ocean and have the diet nature intended, typically free-floating crustaceans packed with carotenoids responsible for their bright red/pink colour. The diet of farmed Salmon will vary from farm to farm, but they don’t have the same diet as wild salmon. I have read they can be fed on oil and smaller fish, ground-up feathers, GM yeast, soybeans and chicken fat, and that as a result of the lower amounts of carotenoids in their diet they are actually grey in colour, which is why astaxanthin (synthetic or naturally derived) is added to their food to bring out the red/pink colour in an attempt to mimic nature.
  • NUTRITIONAL PROFILE: Omega-3 fatty acid levels in farmed salmon are as much as 50% lower than those found in wild salmon. A study by researchers at Stirling University last year found that the Omega 3 content of farmed salmon had halved over the previous five years because of the switch from a diet of predominately oily fish to just around 20%. Farmed salmon has been reported to have much higher levels of Omega 6. The balance between Omega 3 and 6 is important, and having such nigh levels of Omega 6 throws this out, which can in turn wreak havoc in the body.
  • FISH LIVING CONDITIONS: Wild salmon of course have endless habitat, but in farms conditions are cramped and disease can spread quickly and be problematic. This problem is often dealt with by the use of chemicals, which are said to be harmless, but as a Naturopath I always try to steer my clients away from chemicals where possible. As I write this email, I have just seen an article in the Daily Mail about Scottish farmed salmon, that is found in major UK supermarkets, which it states are crawling with sea lice up to 20x the acceptable levels. To read more about this click here.


Its always best to obtain our nutrition from the food that we eat. In order to get decent amounts of fish oil to correct issues this can be difficult from our diet. In these circumstances supplementing is a solution. Look out for what you buy though, make sure it’s clean and check the source. If in any doubt let me know and I’m happy to assist.