What Happens When You Eat Too Much Fish?

Fish are among the healthiest food we have available today. They contain macronutrients, particularly healthy fats and lean proteins, and micronutrients that promote good health. They also come in many tastes and textures, raw and cooked, so there’s a great variety to choose from.

What happens when you eat too much fish? You can either be healthier in mind and body or be worse off for it due to mercury poisoning! Your current physical condition and the types and amount of fish you’ve overeaten will influence whichever way your health takes.

A Must-Read: Fishing Gifts For Men

Let us take a look at these two possible scenarios. We will also discuss the recommended amounts of fish and the type of fish that will promote better health. 

The Positive Side Of Eating Too Much Fish

If you are a healthy adult with no underlying medical issues, you can eat fish every day without experiencing side effects. You can eat it a single portion with every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and with vegetables, fruits and herbs. You can even eat fish flakes, if you want, as a healthy snack. 

There is little to be worried about eating fish every day, as the people in Maldives, Iceland and Hong Kong will tell you. (These countries have the highest per capita fish consumption in the world) You can also ask the Japanese who love eating fish with every meal, both in the raw and cooked form.

The health benefits of fish are due to their high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA). Fish also has protein and vitamins like Vitamin D and B, which are essential for body functions.

  • Boosting your brain health, especially in supporting cognitive function
  • Reducing the risk of vision issues-particularly age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness (Fish intake increases docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels in the body)
  • Decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack and stroke due to the EFAs in fish
  • Managing depression since omega-3 EFAs can aid in the release of feel-good hormones 

Indeed, it is better to eat more fish than to eat more fat-filled meats, junk food, and processed food!

The Negative Side Of Eating Too Much Fish

But if you are an individual who has a high risk of mercury poisoning, then you should limit your fish intake! You can indeed eat too much fish and suffer its consequences.

These individuals should limit their fish intake to 340 grams (12 ounces) of low-mercury fish per week:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Women planning on being pregnant in the near future
  • Girls

Low-mercury fish include sardines, trout, and salmon. Children and girls should ideally eat less than 340 grams, depending on their age and weight. All four cohorts should also only eat cooked fish since raw fish tend to have higher mercury and bacteria levels.

Why the emphasis on low-mercury fish intake? It is because too much mercury in the body can be poisonous. Mercury poisoning can occur in two instances:

  1. When eating certain types of high-mercury fish, such as tuna, swordfish, and marlin 
  2. When overeating fish and seafood

The symptoms of mercury poisoning include depression, anxiety, irritability, numbness, memory issues, and tremors. Sadly, there’s no cure for mercury poisoning. Avoiding metal exposure is the best thing to do such as stop eating fish and seafood.


Fish is a healthy food, but like all things, too much can result in adverse side effects. You should then watch your intake so you can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.