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|Evan Watson, NatureCity author & contributor|
A neuroscience researcher from UCLA recently documented an alarming increase in blood mercury levels among US women over the last decade.
The study was published online in the August 2009 issue of the journal Biometals.
The researcher compared the data of more than 6,000 women from two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first survey was conducted in 1999-2000 and it showed that just 2% of women between the ages 18 to 49 had mercury in their blood.
Just six years later, when the second survey was conducted, 30% of the women had mercury in their blood.
These findings show that mercury is accumulating over time in our bodies and suggest a rise in risk for diseases associated with mercury.
This study comes in the wake of a US Government study released on August 19th which found that every fish across 300 different streams had some level of mercury, and that 25% of those fish had unsafe levels.
High levels of mercury can damage the nervous system and cause learning disabilities among young children and fetuses. Chronic mercury exposure has been linked to a higher risk for mental impairment and neurodegenerative diseases.
There are many health benefits associated with eating fish. If you are worried about mercury contamination from stream caught fish, you might consider eating more of the smaller species such as perch, bluegill or crappie.
Like most pollutants, mercury becomes more concentrated as it moves up the food chain so smaller fish tend to have lower levels of the toxin.
You may also want to consider taking an omega-3 supplement certified for purity in order to reap the health benefits of fish without having to worry about mercury contamination. Omega-3s have been shown to boost heart health, lower the risk of developing dementia, improve cognitive function and relieve inflammation.
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