Dr Russ Blog - Fish, Mercury - No Worries?
Fish, Mercury - No Worries?
Created on 10/4/2013
Concerns about exposure to mercury in some types of fish led expert panels to recommend that we eat them less often.
This message was especially directed at pregnant women because it has long been known that high levels of mercury in the bloodstream may negatively impact proper development of the fetus' central nervous system. So women cut back dramatically on fish intake, including those cold water, fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fats.
But omega-3 fats are very important to proper development of the central nervous system, and parts of the eye, and more.
How to put all this together?
Researchers behind the recently published ALSPAC study (found in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives) explored this and found that although seafood is a source of dietary mercury exposure, it contributes relatively little to the overall mercury burden in people.
Additional sources of mercury exposure include air pollution, pesticides and some cosmetics, among others.
The authors of the study point out their research is imperfect - they made many assumptions and used big estimates to come up with their results; nonetheless, the data add to a growing foundation for the perspective that pregnant women should indeed eat fish in moderation in order to supply needed omega-3 fats to the developing fetus they carry.
The researchers end their paper with a troubling question - "Where is the rest of the blood mercury coming from?"
As of now the evidence points primarily to environmental pollution.
Be safe. Enjoy fish in moderation. Contribute towards cleaning up the environment.
And be well.
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **
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