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A long-term dietary study untangles the effects on brain development of two well-known but contrary exposures – beneficial oil and toxic methyl mercury – that accompany a fish-rich diet.
Prenatal mercury exposure from a mother’s fish-rich diet can reduce the beneficial effects fish oil has on brain development, report an international group of researchers. The babies exposed in the womb to higher methyl mercury levels scored lower on skills tests as infants and toddlers than those exposed to lower levels of the pollutant.
Of five nutrients tested, only the benefits of the fish oil DHA were affected by the mercury. The extent to which methyl mercury interferes with fish oil’s brain benefits is uncertain.
Environmental Health News reports:
“The beneficial effects of eating fish during pregnancy on a baby’s brain development are relatively well accepted. However, some fish can contain high levels of mercury ... Government agency advisories suggest women of childbearing years eat fish with low mercury levels as well as limit consumption of fish that contain high levels.”
Environmental Health News January 3, 2011
Environmental Research October 18, 2010
- Thousands of Birds from the Sky in Arkansas and 100,000 fish dead a week before near the same area. (iflizwerequeen.com)
- Flip-Flopping on Fish Oil and Reeling in Greener Omega-3s (ecocentricblog.org)
- A List of Healthy Fish to Eat (brighthub.com)
- Does Congress really want to encourage mercury pollution? (switchboard.nrdc.org)
- Guide to Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements (brighthub.com)
- What Fish Oil Does for Your Health (everydayhealth.com)
- Prospective mother (and former tuna eater) is battling a mercury mess (nationalpost.com)
- Picking the Outstanding Krill Oil Vs Fish Oil Provides You Better Omega-3 (ideagreenshop.com)
- Group secretly tests mercury in tuna, swordfish (sfgate.com)