Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health
published a study that exposure to mercury does not increase the risk of
coronary heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases.
Health advisories always warn women who are or may
want to become pregnant against consumption of fish with high quantities of
mercury content. A recent study indicates that it is unlikely to have
significant cardiovascular risks for the general people.
author of the study Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an Associate Professor in
Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health said, "Men and the
women (who aren't planning to become pregnant) can take the concern for mercury
level off the table while choosing a fish".
The researchers analyzed data from two U.S. cohorts,
which included a total of 51,529 men and 121,700 women. The mercury concentrations
in the subject's stored toenail clippings were measured by the scientists.
Then, the study identified 3,427 participants who had been diagnosed with
cardiovascular disease, which were cross-matched with 3,427 controls that had
no history of cardiovascular disease. With the use of neutron-activation
analysis, toenail mercury and selenium concentrations were assessed. Other
demographic characteristics, fish consumption, cardiovascular risk factors, and
lifestyle habits were assessed by the help of validated questionnaires. The
results depicted that participants with high mercury exposure did not have a
higher risk of heart disease.
"The study provided the most relevant correlation
between mercury levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease", Mozaffarian
Although, Eric B. Rimm, the study's senior author
and Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the School of Public Health
warned that "sensitive" populations, such as pregnant women or who are trying
to get pregnant and young children should be cautious about an over consumption
Dr. Mozaffarian said that researchers now plan to
study whether high mercury levels have other potential adverse side effects,
such as risk of diabetes or hypertension.
"The study brings good news for people who love to
eat fish" said Mozzaffarian.