Side Effects of Eating Too Much Shrimp | Headaches, Iodine, Cholesterol

Shrimps are known to cause high LDL cholesterol. This is the cholesterol that can cause plaque to build up in your arteries, which can then contribute to a heart attack or a stroke. It happens when a clot in your artery is big enough to block the flow of blood. And yes, shrimps are delicious, but you should know that shellfish like shrimp and others are some of the dirtiest kinds of seafood out there. Some even call them the insects of the ocean. So if you are eating too much shrimp, you are increasing your LDL cholesterol by a lot, putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

However, there are benefits to eating shrimp. It is known to be free of carbohydrates and high in protein. It is one of the rare kinds of foods out there except your isolate whey protein. Not just that, shrimps also have a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which is always advised to be included in every diet.

So yes, you can eat shrimp whenever you want as long as you do moderate your intake. Eating too much of anything will cause you problems. And with foods like shrimp and other shellfish, those problems will start happening earlier rather than later.

Can You Replace Red Meat & Chicken With Shrimp or Any Other Seafood?

It is always a good idea to cut back on red meat, especially if you are having it 3-4 times a week. Or even 2-3 times a week. That’s already too much red meat. Sure, you can turn to chicken or vegan meat, but let’s be honest, how much chicken are you going to eat? And vegan meat is just not at that level yet where you can’t differentiate between real meat and vegan meat.

And you want to mix things up, so you turn to seafood.

Crab legs, tilapia, lobster, you name it. All of them are delicious and they are a great source of protein. A bit more expensive than your chicken and red meat, but they are good.

But wait, Ronald, I’ve read so many articles about the high levels of mercury in seafood. Should I be concerned about that? Or should I just ignore that and go about my way?

Should You Be Concerned About High Levels of Mercury In Fish?

Short answer, yes. You should be worried about it and try to not go overboard with seafood consumption.

Here’s the long answer.

Seafood has been tainted with mercury for a long time. Seafood is one of the top ways humans accumulate more mercury in their system.

Thing is, mercury can dissolve in water. And it can also be absorbed by sea creatures. This means all this mercury is being passed down through the food chain. Think about shrimp, crawfish, etc. They ingest this mercury and are then eaten by other larger fish.

But then you might ask – what if I just eat shrimp and crawfish? Wouldn’t they have less mercury compared to the bigger fish that might have eaten these shrimps?


You want to avoid consuming more mercury in general. And to be sure that you are not consuming too much, you need to check the source of the seafood to make sure that your fish or shellfish isn’t contaminated.

If you are going to be eating seafood multiple times a week or replacing your red meat consumption altogether, then you should avoid fish that are high on the food chain. Fish like a shark, white tuna, swordfish, bass, etc.

In general, though, you should avoid eating too much seafood. Or relying on it too much.

The best way to stay healthy is to have a mix of all types of meats. This includes red meat, goat meat, chicken, seafood, etc.

Can Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women Pass Mercury To Their Child?


It is always advised that breastfeeding and pregnant women avoid eating too much seafood because they can pass mercury to their children through breast milk or through the umbilical cord if the baby isn’t born yet.

My best advice is to avoid eating seafood altogether when you are pregnant just to avoid this risk. And once the baby is born, you can go back to moderately eating seafood while also making sure that the source of your food is good and not contaminated.

The main reason for avoiding additional mercury is because it is known to cause severe symptoms, especially in developing children.

Mercury poisoning can have massive neurological symptoms like:

– Anxiety

– Memory loss

– Depression

– Physical tremors, etc.

For children, mercury poisoning can show these symptoms:

– Problem-solving issues

– Difficulty learning or speaking a language

– Impaired hand-eye coordination

– Unaware of their physical surroundings

The problem with mercury poisoning is that you can’t just go to a hospital and get tested for it. It develops over time. So if you are someone that comes in contact with mercury more frequently than others, then it is also possible that you might think that it is normal to have so much mercury around you.

And before you know it, you have very high levels of mercury in your body.

Can You Get Headaches From Overeating Shrimp?

If you always get a headache after eating any type of seafood, then that could be a sign of fish allergy. It is better to talk to your doctor about it and also to start taking preventive measures. Another reason why you could get a headache after eating too much shrimp is seafood poisoning. This is not common but there are some cases in which this can happen.

Whenever there is an algae bloom, which usually happens during summer, you should avoid eating any seafood. So if you are buying your seafood from a retailer, make sure you ask them about that. However, in most cases, the retailers are aware of this and will make sure that they don’t sell seafood from the places that had the algae bloom.

Another thing you should consider is the ingredients that you are using when cooking your shrimp. Ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, cheese, onion, etc. can all cause headaches in some people. So it might not be the shrimp that’s causing you headaches; it could just be the other ingredients that you are using to cook them.

Does Excessive Eating of Shrimp Cause Iodine Poisoning?

I know this is an important question because Red Lobster has endless shrimp. So you want to make sure that you are clear to eat as many as you can while still being safe.

The short answer is: Yes. But it is very hard to do.

An average adult can consume 1000mcg of iodine per day without experiencing any problems.

Shrimp, cod, and tuna are known for having high amounts of iodine in them. But they are not as high as you think. You will need to eat a lot of shrimp to get iodine poisoning. Just to put things in perspective, you would need to eat at least 4 pounds of cod to reach 1100mcg of iodine for that given day.

Now think about it. In what scenario are you going to eat 4 pounds of cod in one day? Probably never.

Most people that suffer from iodine poisoning get that from overdosing on iodine supplements.

Summing Up

We all want to enjoy different kinds of food while making sure that we are staying healthy.

Not to mention we also want to keep our environment healthy. That’s where we get all our food from.

Because there is so much waste that is being dumped in our oceans, there is so much mercury in our seafood. And these levels will keep rising until we find a better way to deal with the waste that is created every day.

Until then, you want to make sure that you are having a healthy diet of red meat, chicken, and seafood. And don’t forget your vegetables. You’ll thank me when you’re 60.

Additionally, it’s important to incorporate whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits into your diet for a well-rounded, nutrient-rich approach to eating. Drinking enough water, getting regular exercise, and managing stress can also contribute to your overall health and well-being.

When it comes to seafood, remember to choose sustainable sources and pay attention to the guidelines and recommendations for consumption based on your age, gender, and health status. If you’re unsure about your dietary needs or if you have specific concerns, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, who can help you create a personalized meal plan that supports your unique health goals.

In summary, while shrimp and other seafood can be a delicious and nutritious part of your diet, moderation is key. By paying attention to portion sizes, mercury levels, and other potential risks, you can enjoy the benefits of seafood while minimizing the potential drawbacks. Eat a balanced, varied diet, and don’t forget to enjoy your food as a part of a happy, healthy lifestyle.

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