What is Masago?

Masago is a small fish that came from the cold waters of North Pacific, North Atlantic, and Artic oceans.


Masago or capelin fish roe are the ripened eggs of different kinds of fishes like herring, salmon, and sturgeon. Bet you did not know about that before, right? Well, same here. So let us both know what masago in this article is.

Facts About Masago

Masago is a small fish that came from the cold waters of North Pacific, North Atlantic, and Artic oceans. Despite coming from huge oceans, masago has been a well-known ingredient in different Asian cuisines because of its distinct taste.

In addition, masago is a forage fish. This means that it is also a food source for other animals like whales, seals, seabirds, and codfish. These are also eaten easily as these are small which can resemble sardines.

Another interesting fact is that the flesh of capelin is edible but 80% of these are developed into fish oil or fishmeal while the remaining 20% is made to masago.

Nutrients Found in Masago

Masago is low in calories, which is why a lot of people like eating it. Another reason is that it contains a lot of nutrients like

  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B12
  • Phosphorus
  • Folate
  • Selenium

Unlike other fishes, fish roe has a high level of vitamin B12, which is an important nutrient that you can only get from the food that you consume. More importantly, vitamin B12 can give you a lot of health benefits like DNA synthesis, nerve transmission, energy production, and red blood cell development.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found on fish roe. These fats are in charge of regulating inflammation and have a major role in your lungs, hormones, heart, and immune system.

Apart from those, masago has amino acids, particularly lysine, leucine, and glutamine that are important in building protein. Glutamine is vital in immune function and intestinal health. Leucine and lysine, on the other hand, are for muscle repair and protein synthesis.

Health Benefits from Masago

Considering the nutrients found in masago, you can expect that it can give you a lot of health benefits. Some of these are the following:

Protein source

Masago actually contains a lot of protein. In fact, one once of masago already has 6 grams of protein which can be likened to one large egg. The advantage here is that protein can help you lose weight. So expect that eating masago can make you full most of the time, limiting your food intake.

Vitamin B12 and selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that can be found in your body. It is responsible for having a major role in both your immune and thyroid system. It can also reduce your oxidative stress as well as increase your blood levels to boost your immune response and lower your chance of having mental decline.

Meanwhile, masago is rich in vitamin B12 as well. With this, you can expect better energy production and nerve health.  It is also in charge of other bodily functions.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These kinds of fats are polyunsaturated that can regulate inflammation as well as control your blood clotting. It is even an integral part of the cell membrane. Even better, some research shows that omega-3 foods can lower your tendency of having heart conditions like coronary heart disease and heart failure.


Unlike swordfish or mackerel, capelin has a low amount of mercury. In fact, it has the lowest amount of mercury. The good news is that by having a low mercury count, masago is advised to be eaten in various places, especially those who prefer to keep their mercury count low or average.

Disadvantages of Eating Masago

If there are advantages, of course, there will be disadvantages. Learn more about these below.

Ecological concerns

Based on its numerous advantages, it is safe to say that masago is better than most fishes. But one should be aware that once there is overfishing of these marine animals, masago can be part of the endangered species.

High levels of sodium

Fishes are known to have high sodium content and masago should not be any different. Even worst, this fish is combined with other salty ingredients, increasing its sodium content. Although not everyone should be attentive on their sodium content, having high levels of salt in your body is not good as well.

This is because high salt content can increase your blood pressure and have a negative impact on your health, especially to those who are salt sensitive.


You probably know a lot of people who are allergic to seafood. And this should not be any different from masago. The sad part is that this fish has the tendency to trigger allergic reactions to people who have a general allergy on seafood. Once this happens, expect low blood pressure, narrowing of airways, and rashes.

Unnecessary Mix with Other Unhealthy Ingredients

Getting masago from the ocean can be difficult. This is why a lot of companies provide one for you. Unfortunately, these companies have the tendency to add unhealthy ingredients like MSG or corn syrup for added taste.

High-fructose corn syrup can give you inflammation, insulin resistance, and weight gain. On the contrary, MSG can give you flushing in your skin, weakness, and headache.

Therefore, you can say that masago is a nutritious fish that is popular in Asia. It can be used to a lot of meals because of the various nutrients and health benefits that it has. It is rich in protein, fats, and vitamins, among others.

Considering these, you can safely say that this fish is a great ingredient not only for your meal but also for your body. Even better, it has ingredients that can aid weight loss, eliminate oxidative stress, and control blood clotting.

However, there are also disadvantages to eating masago. One of these is the fear that someday it might be endangered. So even if this fish is way better than others, these should not be caught too much or those fishermen should make sure that their fishing approaches are safe.

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