T Nation

Tuna and Mercury Levels


Some friends and I were sitting around discussing high-protein food sources and of course tuna came up. But one of the guys mentioned mercury levels as being too dangerous to consume a lot of tuna.
It's something I was vaguely aware of but never really thought much about before. Does anyone have any knowledge or info concerning this?


I have heard that you should limit your tuna consumption to two cans a week to keep your mercury intake at "safe" levels. I have also heard that the chunk light version, as opposed to the albacore, contains less mercury. I replaced a lot of my tuna meals with chicken breasts to try and limit the mercury intake.


2 a week.....crap, i've ingested like 40-60 in the past month lol


A can a day keeps...me less hungry...


Different tunas have different amounts.

I heard white tuna has a higher amount, and fresh tuna was even higher than canned.

I checked up on the levels that would be dangerous, and the 2.5 servings (1 can) of regular tuna that I had once a day, 5 days a week was not even close. It was well within safe levels.

I don't remember the actual numbers anymore though.


There was a discussion on this a few months back. Here is the link for it. There is some good info in this.





i eat it no more than 2-3x a week. if not for the mercury contamination, i would eat it multiple times a day.

yeah, the FDA is usually over cautious, but you just dont fuck around with mecury poisioning.


A couple of years ago, I was eating a couple of cans each day...and the good stuff too (solid albacore), not the cat food variety (that chunk light stuff). After several months of this...(yes, I get into eating ruts of eating the same thing for a few months at a time)...some blood work revealed that I had mercury poisoning. I can't remember the number, but it met the criteria for actual mercury poisoning, not just slightly elevated mercury. My doctor dissuaded me from the treatment as the side effects of that sounded pretty nasty and my mercury poisoning was mostly asymptomatic. I say mostly because my only obvious symptoms were feeling somewhat lethargic and an odd metallic taste in my mouth. I stopped eating tuna and about a month later, these symptoms gradually disappeared.

Anyhow, mercury poisoning from tuna consumption is possible. I guess the general rule is, anything taken to excess can be harmful for you.


The last few times I've eaten tuna I coincidentally got the worst migraine headaches ever. I am not sure if I can attribute it to the tuna or maybe something else, but the headaches dissuaded me from ever eating it again.

I have no idea if it was related to the mercury or anything else, all I know is that I was dizzy, confused, in pain, nauseated, and all the usual migraine symptoms (only a billion times worse).

Every time I pass the tuna cans in the market I just run (to the meat and poultry section and buy chicken breasts or turkey breasts instead).



Thanks. A lot of info there. I'll continue to eat tuna, but in moderation.


They say pregnant women shouldn't consume more than a can a week because of the high mercury content.

I'm not a big fan of tuna anyway, so it's not a major concern for us because we don't buy it often. But my kids like it, and if it's in the house, they'll eat 2 cans a day! Each!