Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Shrimp – What To Expect


Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Whether its paella, gumbo, or keto shrimp many of us have worried about what are the side effects of eating too much shrimp. I mean, is there even a limit to eating shrimp? Well that’s precisely what I’m here to answer today!

In this article, we’ll be discussing whether its safe to eat a lot of shrimp, how much shrimp you can eat, and the potential for food poisoning, iodine poisoning, and allergic reactions.

So, lets get started!

Table of Contents

Loads of orange shrimp close up to camera they are too many and will cause the side effects of eating too much shrimp

What Happens If You Eat Too Much Shrimp?

For the most part, its very difficult to ingest ’too much’ shrimp. However, an excess of shrimp can affect people with certain medical conditions. And no, I’m not talking about cholesterol (more on that later) – I’m talking about gout!

Eating too much shrimp can cause gout to flare up. This is because shrimp – and other seafood – are naturally high in something called purine.

Purine, when processed by the body, turns into a chemical called uric acid. When this chemical gathers in excess in the body it is called hyperuricemia – this can then cause gout, the formation of kidney stones, or a urinary tract infection. However, this is mostly only something people with preexisting conditions should be worried about.

Certain conditions and medications can increase your risk for hyperuricemia. Even so, generally only eating over the limits allowed by your disorder will get you sick.

But do healthy people have anything to worry about? Lets explore some of the side effects of eating too much shrimp in unaffected individuals.

cooked shrimp and mussels

What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Shrimp?

Can Shrimp Make Me Sick?

This, again, varies from person to person. Don’t have any conditions affected by purine? No shellfish allergies? Eating well-cooked and cleaned shrimp? If so, the odds are that you’ll be absolutely fine. However, one of these can slip under the radar pretty easily.

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”fJhbAxAe” upload-date=”2022-12-06T14:33:42.000Z” name=”Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Shrimp” description=”Whether it’s paella, gumbo, or keto shrimp many of us have worried about what are the side effects of eating too much shrimp. I mean, is there even a limit to eating shrimp? Well that’s precisely what we are here to answer today!” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]

While most people think of a shellfish allergy as being a potentially life-threatening condition that causes anaphylaxis, that’s not true for everyone.

Some shellfish allergies may look more like a gnarlier case of food poisoning – this will usually cause shaking, nausea and a slight fever until the food is vomited. This sort of mild reaction does not usually require an epinephrine injection, unless the patient is also experiencing hives.

Still, its important to check with your doctor beforehand for their opinion.

Here is a helpful video of how to administer an epipen to another person. This video was made and posted by EpiPen themselves, and covers all sorts of questions people may have.

Still, people without allergies continue to report symptoms of all kinds when it comes to shrimp. So, why is that?

Can Shrimp Upset Your Stomach?

Stomach pain after eating shrimp is typically indicative of a milder shellfish allergy/intolerance (if not accompanied by other symptoms).

As shrimp is a meat (edible tails n’ all) it could be a case of food poisoning. This is because shrimp will generally not unsettle an unaffected person’s stomach.

Why Do I Get Diarrhea After Eating Shrimp?

If you experience diarrhea after eating shrimp, it’s likely to be either from – again – food poisoning, or a slight intolerance.

Everyone’s body is different and can tolerate different things, so some just can’t handle shrimp – or Taco Bell!

Can Eating Too Much Shrimp Cause Headaches?

Ah, again…. Yet another symptom caused by food poisoning.

A type of sea food-related food poisoning called Ciguatera poisoning has headaches as a potential common symptom. In the absence of other symptoms, the headaches are either a coincidence, caused by something else, or are either likely a mild form of intolerance.

man with a headache

Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Shrimp – Iodine, Mercury, And Cholesterol

And finally… The iodine debate. It is believed by many that the excessive consumption of shrimp can lead to iodine poisoning – something that could, in theory, be quite dangerous.

For some context, iodine is a naturally occurring mineral commonly found in food. Its essential to the survival of many species – this is why you’ll likely have heard of goats climbing mountains just to find an iodine salt lick.

However, while it’s essential for our survival, it can also be dangerous in excess.

Too little iodine can cause both congenital and acquired illnesses such as brain damage, hypothyroidism, cretinism, goiters, and other such conditions. Too much, on the other hand, puts you at risk of iodine poisoning – this can cause thyroid it is, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroid papillary cancer. It can also cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, delirium, and shock.

Can You Get Iodine Poisoning From Eating Too Much Shrimp?

Because some foods – like shrimp – are naturally high in iodine, people worry and argue whether they’re safe to eat. The truth is that, even if you manage to eat an insane amount of shrimp, you’ll probably be just fine.

Of course, this is different for people with other conditions, but in those cases the iodine itself is not a problem.

To even just have a chance of achieving iodine toxicity – let alone an acute poisoning – you would have to ingest at least around 8.25 lbs of shrimp A DAY. And this is just to the amount needed to exceed your maximum daily iodine intake (1100 micrograms). For some context, three ounces (85g) of shrimp equates to around 25 micrograms of iodine. To get to the point of an acute poisoning episode, you’d have to eat approximately 207 pounds of shrimp in one sitting (assuming you weighed 176 pounds).

So. Iodine poisoning may be highly unlikely, but what about everything else? Are there any more potential hidden dangers of eating shrimp?

Are Shrimp High In Cholesterol?

Whether refrozen, frozen or fresh, shrimp is low in calories and has a low fat content, it is famously high in protein and cholesterol. Overtime, this fact has led people to believe that eating too much shrimp at once can cause an overload of protein and cholesterol, which can be harmful those with high cholesterol.

However, its not as cut and dry as that. While shrimp are high in cholesterol, they’ve actually been found to have a higher content of ‘HDL’ cholesterol than ‘LDL’. This kind of cholesterol is desirable, and with the unsaturated fatty acids of shrimp, this food shouldn’t be disregarded entirely – even for people with high cholesterol.

They are generally considered safe for consumption, so long as they are part of a balanced diet.

Do Shrimp Have Mercury?

Luckily, seafood like shrimp, clams, scallops and crabs are relatively low in mercury. Likewise, salmon haddock, tilapia and catfish are also pretty safe! So there’s generally no need to worry about mercury in your shrimp.

orange shrimp lot

How Often Is It Okay To Eat Shrimp?

How Much Shrimp Is Too Much In One Sitting?

While it’s ridiculously difficult to get to the point where eating shrimp is dangerous, there can be some adverse side effects of eating too much shrimp. However, this really depends on how you choose to cook the shrimp.

For example, some foods served with shrimp can become unhealthy if eaten too often. Other longer lasting seafood, like scallops or oysters, that you might pair with shrimp have a higher chance of passing on vibrio food poisoning.

In addition to this, the method used for actually cooking the shrimp matters – has it been well cooked? Is it slathered in butter or salt? All of these things matter.

What Happens If You Eat Shrimp Everyday?

Honestly, the same goes for eating shrimp everyday. While its okay to have a certain amount of shrimp a day, that’s not realistic for most people. When you cook shrimp, you’re generally cooking it in a big pot for a shared dish. Regardless of this, there’s still the issue of how you decide to cook the food. As with everything, its best to eat shrimp as part of a balanced diet.

How Often Should You Eat Shrimp A Week?

While I’m not well-acquainted with the fishermen’s diet, I suspect there has to be at least a little variation in there. Either way, I’m sure most people don’t eat shrimp 24 hours, 7 days a week.

As long as you’re keeping your shrimp-habit in check and in moderation, everything will be fine.

Spanish shrimp dish served on wooden board that might give you the side effects of eating too much shrimp


What Happens If You Eat Too Much Shrimp?

Depending on your health, eating a lot of shrimp can cause gout flare-ups, allergic reactions, and cholesterol level spikes. But shrimp are generally considered safe for consumption, so long as they are part of a balanced diet.

Can Shrimp Make Me Sick?

This varies from person to person (do you have preexisting health conditions/allergies?), and how the shrimp is prepared.

So… Is It Bad To Eat Shrimp Everyday?

I think the answer I can come to is no, eating shrimp everyday isn’t bad for most people. Still, you don’t want to be overdoing too much of any food, as none is nutritionally complete.

And of course, take all the necessary precautions! Be sure to cook that shrimp all the way through – especially if its from frozen – and make sure to get medical advice if you have any pre-existing conditions affected by diet.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *