Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fish eaters run lower risk of heart attack – despite some mercury content

Eat fish, but avoid fish with the most pollutants. This is the conclusion drawn by a group of researchers at Umeå University in Sweden after having weighed the risks of mercury content against the advantages of healthful fatty acids. The work was done as part of an international collaborative effort.

Fish is healthful food, and several studies have shown that people who eat fish have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases than those who eat very little or no fish. At the same time, some fish contain environmental pollutants that can be hazardous to our health.

One such pollutant that is suspected of increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease is methyl mercury, which is found in varying degree in different kinds of fish. If people eat fish with much pollutants, this would lead to increased risk of disease, but at the same time if people are overly cautious and eat too little fish, the risk of disease also increases.

In order to attain a better understanding of what the golden mean might be, researchers at Umeå University, in collaboration with researchers from Finland and elsewhere, examined how the risk of heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) is contingent on the amount of omega-3 fats and mercury from fish that people have in their body. The content was measured in blood and hair samples from people that had previously participated in health studies in northern Sweden and eastern Finland. The Swedish blood samples were from the Medical Biobank in Umeå. Those who experienced a heart attack after the health check-up were compared with those who did not.

The findings are now being published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN). It turned out that mercury was linked to increased risk, and omega-3 fatty acids to decreased risk, of having a heart attack. The increased risk from mercury was noticeable only at high levels of this environmental pollutant in the body and if the level of the protective omega-3 fatty acids was concomitantly low. In other words, what is important is the balance between healthful and hazardous substances in fish. The environmental pollutant in this study was mercury. For organic pollutants like PCB and dioxin, the problem complex is similar, but no study of this kind has yet been undertaken.
The conclusion is simple: Eat fish, but avoid fish with the most pollutants. The Swedish National Food Agency recommends that people should eat fish 2–3 times a week, but their intake of predatory fish (e.g. pike, perch, pike-perch), which contain a great deal of mercury, should be limited (see link below). This study supports that recommendation. According to a recent study from the National Food Agency, 7 of 10 Swedes eat too little fish.

For more information, please contact the lead author of the article, Maria Wennberg, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University,
Mobile: +46 (0)70-4953230

M Wennberg, U Strömberg, IA Bergdahl, JH Jansson, J Kauhanen, M Norberg, JT Salonen, S Skerfving, TP Tuomainen, B Vessby, JK Virtanen: Myocardial infarction in relation to mercury and fatty acids from fish: a risk-benefit analysis based on pooled Finnish and Swedish data in men
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), published ahead of print 2012.
doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.033795

Karin Wikman | idw
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>