WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Despite concerns over mercury exposure, pregnant women who eat lots of fish may not harm their unborn children, a new study suggests.
Three decades of research in the Seychelles, the islands in the Indian Ocean, found no developmental problems in children born to women who consume ocean fish at a much higher rate than the average American woman, the study concluded.
"They eat a lot of fish, historically about 12 fish meals a week, and their mercury exposure from fish is about 10 times higher than that of average Americans," said study co-author Edwin van Wijngaarden, an associate professor in the University of Rochester's department of Public Health Sciences in Rochester, N.Y. "We have not found any association between these exposures to mercury and developmental outcomes."
The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil may protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of mercury, the researchers suggested.
They found mercury-related developmental problems only in the children of women who had low omega 3 levels but high levels of omega 6 fatty acids, which are associated with meats and cooking oils, van Wijngaarden said.
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