Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mercury Exposure from Fish May Not Matter?

New findings from research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provide further evidence that the benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure. The researchers suggest that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

Three decades of research in the Seychelles have consistently shown that high levels of fish consumption by pregnant mothers -- an average of 12 meals per week -- do not produce developmental problems in their children. In fact, the omega-3 content may also actively counteract the damage that mercury causes in the brain.

Children of mothers with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids performed better on certain tests. One of the mechanisms by which mercury inflicts its damage is through oxidation and inflammation and this has led the researchers to speculate that not only does omega-3 provide more benefit in terms of brain development, but that these compounds may also counteract the negative effects of mercury. Alternatively, children of mothers with relatively higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids did poorer on tests designed to measure motor skills.

Steve: You need to choose fish for supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, farmed-raised fish is not going to cut it. Opt for wild-caught whenever possible.

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