Eating fish fatty acids during pregnancy may shield baby’s brain from mercury damage

Fatty Acids in Fish May Shield Brain from Mercury Damage

fish-market image
The developmental benefits conferred by the mother consuming fish while pregnant may offset the mercury-related risks. The Seychelles study began in the mid-1980s. Image by Bilal Randeree.

Recent findings from research in the Seychelles provide further evidence that the benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure. The study suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

We found no overall adverse association between prenatal MeHg exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes. However, maternal PUFA status as a putative marker of the inflammatory milieu appeared to modify the associations of prenatal MeHg exposure with the PDI. Increasing DHA status was positively associated with language development yet negatively associated with the MDI. These findings may indicate existence of an optimal DHA balance with respect to arachidonic acid for different aspects of neurodevelopment.”

Sources and more information

  • Fatty Acids in Fish May Shield Brain from Mercury Damage, urmc, January 21, 2015.
  • Eating fish during pregnancy may boost baby’s development, not impair it, medicalnewstoday, 26 January 2015.
  • Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles, American Society for Nutrition, ajcn.114.100503, March 2015.

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