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7890Finnish study shows mercury in fish increases heart disease risks and reduces omega-3 benefits

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  • Dave Shishkoff
    Apr 7, 2005
      New Finnish study shows mercury in fish can increase heart disease risks &
      reduce Omega-3 benefits

      A new report by the Research Institute of Public Health in Finland shows a
      significant increase of heart disease in men with elevated mercury levels.
      Since seafood in the diet is the main source of human mercury exposure, men
      eating swordfish, shark, and tuna high in mercury may unknowingly be
      increasing their risk of an early death.

      The study entitled Mercury, Fish Oils, and Risk of Acute Coronary Events and
      Cardiovascular Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in
      Men in Eastern Finland, published in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and
      Vascular Biology (Volume 25: 228-233, 2005), studied 1871 Finnish men
      between the age of 42 and 60 and shows an increased risk of more than 1.5
      times for coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and acute heart
      incidents in men with elevated mercury levels.

      "High content of mercury in hair may be a risk factor for acute coronary
      events and CVD, CHD, and all-cause mortality in middle-aged eastern Finnish
      men. Mercury may also attenuate the protective effects of fish on
      cardiovascular health," conclude the authors (Jyrki K. Virtanen, Sari
      Voutilainen, Tiina H. Rissanen, Jaakko Mursu, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Maarit
      J. Korhonen, Veli-Pekka Valkonen, Kari Seppa¨nen, Jari A. Laukkanen, Jukka
      T. Salonen).

      "Current [US] federal guidelines and state warnings focus on the impact of
      mercury in seafood on children and women. This new information suggests that
      men who eat too much swordfish and tuna might be risking their lives. Until
      the warnings catch up to the research, men, women and children should avoid
      eating seafood high in mercury. There are other choices for a heart healthy
      diet," says Andy Peri of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, an
      organization working to protect public health from mercury in seafood.

      The findings of this study are consistent with a study published in the
      November 28, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine which showed
      mercury levels to be directly associated with the risk of myocardial
      infarction (heart attack) and that high mercury content may diminish the
      cardioprotective effects of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish.

      Both studies can be downloaded from:

      http://www.seaturtles.org/prog_camp2.cfm?campaignID=20

      Source: Turtle Island Restoration Network's Mercury Awareness Campaign works
      to raise awareness and reduce consumption of mercury contaminated fish
      including swordfish, shark and tuna