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Wild Fish or Farmed Fish? Which One is Healthier For Your Digestive System?

Everyone is eating fish lately. Whether you are looking for nutrition, sustainability, or uncontaminated benefits, there are a lot of differences between wild-caught fish and farm-raised fish. Did you know that two servings of fish per week can reduce heart disease risks, delay Alzheimer’s, and even make your future baby smarter if you’re pregnant?

There is a lot to love about fish. It gives you protein. There’s the Omega-3 fatty acids. However, where does your fish come from, and does it matter?

Here’s some thoughts from the most recent studies concerning wild-caught fish and farmed fish, and how it can help or hurt your digestive system.

Are Wild Fish Better for Nutrition?

In fact, studies show that Atlantic salmon from fish farms is actually more rich in omega-3 fatty acids than wild-caught salmon. In addition, farm-raised trout has more vitamin A and selenium. However, wild fish actually rank equally nutrition for calcium and iron.

Both are good for your digestive system. However, if you want the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, you may get a little bit more when you eat farm-raised salmon and trout.

Do Farm-Raised Fish Have Contaminants?

There was a study in 2004 that showed high levels of PCBs, or potentially carcinogenic chemicals. In fact, farm-raised fish had 10 times more PCBs than wild-caught. While many focused on this statistics, they failed to look at the other statistic from the study. The PCBs found in farm-raised fish were still less than 2% shown to actually cause cancer. Newer studies have revealed that there is very little difference in PCBs from wild-caught to farm-raised fish.

However, studies have shown that fish bred in farms have an increase in risk of disease, and there have been outbreaks before. These have been known to contaminate wild fish as well.

Some of the contaminants found so far in farm-raised fish are:

  • Fire retardants
  • Pesticides
  • Dioxins
  • Copper sulfite
  • Canthaxanthin

How Do Wild-Caught and Farm-Raised Fish Affect Your Gut Heath

When you go to the butcher or fish market, you probably see fish marked as farmed or wild. Does it really matter? In fact, farmed fish contain more omega-3 fatty acids because they are fattier overall. This isn’t necessarily good for your health. Fish is good for probiotics. Most studies show that farmed fish are fed with a grain-based diet, which is prone to creating more omega-6 fatty acids.


Eating farm-raised fish may seem better on the wallet and for over-fishing purposes, eco-friendly, but it’s actually not as good for you as wild-caught fish. One of the reasons is because these fish consistently contain more diseases than wild-caught salmon. In addition, they may have more omega-3 fatty acids, but they also contain a lot of omega-6 fats, which aren’t good for your gut.

You should aim for two servings of wild-caught fish every week, and if you want to increase the health of your gut, take a fish oil or probiotics as well. When you buy fish, you should make sure to ask about its origin and look for a nice pink color if you’re shopping for salmon.