Seafood: nutritional benefits and risk aspects

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2012 Jun;82(3):168-76. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000108.


Seafood, such as fish, crustacean and molluscan shellfish, and echinoderms, provides in the edible part (e. g., filet, abdominal muscle) many nutritional components beneficial for the human diet like n-3 polyunsaturated long chain fatty acids (PUFAs), namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), essential elements such as selenium and iodine, high potassium and low sodium concentrations, and the vitamins D, A, E, and B(12), as well as taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) among others. Its protein is highly digestible due to low connective tissue content, and cholesterol content is also low in fish. Lean fish species are extremely low in fat content (<1 %), while fatty species are extremely rich in PUFAs. However, being subject to environmental influences from its habitat, seafood also entails water-borne health risks such as organic pollutants, toxins, parasites, and heavy metals. Nevertheless, the vast majority of experimental and epidemiological studies have proven that the benefits of fish intake exceed the potential risks even for vulnerable consumer groups.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination
  • Harmful Algal Bloom
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Seafood / adverse effects*
  • Shellfish
  • Water Pollutants


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants