The Maximum Amount Of Tuna You Can Safely Eat Each Week

Tuna has long been a favorite among consumers. In fact, according to the National Fisheries Institute, Americans eat a whopping one billion pounds of the canned (or pouched) fish annually. As many know, however, there can be a downside to eating too much of this lunchtime favorite: mercury exposure.

According to LiveStrong, eating more than the advised amount of tuna each week can result in increased exposure to mercury, a neurotoxin. Mercury poisoning can cause several concerning neurological symptoms, including coordination loss, memory problems, seizures, and tremors. Per the Environmental Protection Agency, other signs of mercury poisoning include the loss of peripheral vision, impaired speech, hearing, or movement, muscle weakness, and a numb, "pins and needles" feeling in the hands, feet, or mouth.

Luckily, it's relatively easy to make sure your seafood consumption doesn't leave you with heightened mercury levels. Simply keep an eye on your tuna intake and supplement your diet with other types of fish when necessary.

How much tuna is safe to eat each week?

The amount of tuna one can safely eat on a weekly basis depends on a few factors, including the individual's weight and the type of tuna consumed. Canned albacore tuna (also called white tuna) contains three times the amount of mercury found in canned light tuna, per the US Food and Drug Administration. Because light tuna (which comes primarily from skipjack) is known for its lower mercury levels, it is safe to eat in higher quantities. According to the administration, adults can typically consume two to three 4-ounce servings of light tuna each week. However, if you choose albacore tuna, you should limit your consumption to only one 4-ounce serving per week — and refrain from eating any other fish.

MedicalNewsToday offers even more precise recommendations for tuna consumption based on body weight. For those weighing over 140 pounds, for example, it's safe to consume 1 serving of canned light tuna every three days — but only one serving of canned albacore tuna every 10 days. In general, the less one weighs, the more infrequent their tuna consumption should be. Both children and individuals who are pregnant should exercise additional caution regarding their tuna consumption, as both groups can be especially sensitive to the effects of mercury.