Yes, indeed, wild salmon is a better choice than farmed salmon for a variety of reasons.
Salmon is often recommended by many health practitioners and it is an integral component of the Paleolithic diet that I always encourage you to consider. However, the type of salmon you buy is very important.
Most of the salmon you buy in the grocery store is farm-raised, which means it is fed a combination of grains and negative additives. This diet is unnatural to the salmon and causes its Omega-3 levels to take a nose-dive. Sufficient levels of Omega-3s are crucial for our heart and brain.
Farm raised salmon is very high in an Omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid. This fatty acid is an important component of our diet, but when it is consumed in excess levels, it results in inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of many chronic health conditions like heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure and more.
Most of the population is consuming way too many Omega-6s and not enough Omega-3s. Without sufficient Omega-3s neurotransmitter function is impaired, which can lead to a wide variety of mental health problems like, anxiety, depression, anti-social behavior, addiction, hyperactivity and more. Wild Salmon is abundantly rich in omega-3s.
Salmon raised in captivity lose their natural orange color and are injected with dye to make them look normal. A dye that I’m sure we shouldn’t be eating. Additionally, the pigment that gives salmon their natural pink color contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that protects our DNA and lowers C-reactive protein which indicates reduction in inflammation. Wild-caught salmon contains significantly higher levels of astaxanthin than farmed salmon.
Farmed salmon is exposed to higher levels of pesticides and treated with antibiotics, that their wild counterparts are not. Not only that, farm-raised salmon has been found to “contain such high levels of PCBs, dioxins and other toxic chemicals that people should not eat it more than once a month.”1
Unfortunately, wild salmon, like all seafood can also be polluted with high levels of toxins like mercury and PCBs. It’s difficult to find any that is safe for consumption, so you must shop wisely. However, farm raised salmon has been found to have as much as 16 percent more contaminants than wild.
Therefore, when you eat salmon, you should look for wild Alaskan salmon. Wild salmon, particularly from Alaska, is your safest and cleanest option and will be rich in the Omega-3s you’re looking for. I really like a company called Vital Choice. They have a great pre-cooked salmon that comes in a foil pouch, which can be prepared in a few minutes. If you can’t find any wild Alaskan locally, you can order it online.
Without a doubt, wild salmon is a better choice than farmed salmon. However, another precaution you can take so you can enjoy your fish without as much worry, is to be sure you consume foods that are high in sulfur with your meal, like onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Sulfur is our primary method of detoxification for mercury and other heavy metals. If you boost your sulfur intake, then it will help eliminate the toxins that may be consumed with your seafood.
Dr. Al Sears, Secret Power Source of the Ancient Incas
Dr. Charles Gant, Academy of Functional Medicine Seminars
About.com Farmed Salmon vs Wild Salmon: Which is Best for Your Health and the Environment?
Dr. Al Sears, Salmon That’s Nine Times Better