In a new study from the University of Tennessee, researchers found seafood consumption and associated mercury exposure are not strongly linked to the risk for mortality.
Fish absorb methylmercury or organic mercury from their food and from water as it passes over their gills. Mercury is tightly bound to proteins in all fish tissue, including muscle.
There is no method of cooking or cleaning fish that will reduce the amount of mercury in a meal. Methylmercury accumulates as you move up the food chain.
In humans, the most common cause of mercury poisoning is from consuming too much organic mercury, which is linked to eating seafood.
Small amounts of mercury are present in everyday foods and products, which may not affect your health. Too much mercury, however, can be poisonous.
In the study, the team examined the associations of seafood consumption and mercury exposure with all-cause and heart disease-related mortality.
The analysis included data from 17,294 adult participants (≥20 years) in the 2003 to 2012 cycles of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, with data linked to mortality records through 2015.
The researchers found that for an increase in seafood consumption of 1 ounce equivalent per day, there was no increase in all-cause mortality or heart disease-related mortality.
There was no association observed between blood mercury level and all-cause or heart-related mortality.
The team says environmental mercury exposure at the currently low-to-moderate level and seafood consumption were not linked to risk of all-cause or CVD-related mortality.
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The study is published in JAMA Network Open. One author of the study is Yangbo Sun, M.D., Ph.D.
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