ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
CANCER
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Eating your way to Good Health
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Tune Up Your Health With Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Add your Article

Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure

(HealthDay News) -- Although new research links mercury in seafood with high blood pressure, this isn't reason enough for most people to stop eating fish, the study leader says.

"The small increase of blood pressure due to methylmercury will never outweigh the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids," said Dr. Eric Dewailly, a professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at Laval University in Quebec and lead author of a report in the Oct. 5 issue of Hypertension.

Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish, such as fatty sardines, herring, trout and salmon, are associated in many studies with a reduced risk of death from heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating two meals a week containing four to six ounces of such fish.

But because fish can contain high levels of methylmercury, which can interfere with the normal development of the nervous system and brain in fetuses and newborns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women, those trying to get pregnant, nursing women and children to limit their fish intake.

FDA guidelines limit intake of low-mercury fish for those individuals to 12 ounces a week and high-mercury fish to three 6-ounce servings a month. The FDA also advises avoiding fish most like to carry the highest levels of mercury -- shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

At first glance, the Canadian study appears to add high blood pressure to the list of problems linked to methylmercury in fish. Dewailly and his colleagues conducted a survey of Inuit residents of 14 Nunavik communities in northern Quebec, where the traditional diet is based on fish and marine mammals.

It found an average blood mercury level of 50 nanomoles per liter of blood, much higher than the 4-nanomole level of the general U.S. population. It also found a relationship between blood mercury levels and blood pressure after adjusting for other factors, such as smoking and physical activity.

Studies have shown that exposure to environmental mercury can affect the endothelium, the delicate lining of blood vessels, and decrease the ability of smooth muscles to relax, which could explain the slight increase in blood pressure seen in the study, Dewailly said.

It was not a great effect, he said. "For every 10 percent increase in blood mercury level, there is a 0.2 millimeter increase in blood pressure," Dewailly said. "Even if you apply that to an entire population, that is a small effect."

So, a 10 percent increase in blood mercury would raise a blood pressure reading from 120/80 to 120.2/80, Dewailly indicated. That is not a reason to avoid fish "if you look at the fish nutrients that are reported to be associated with so many benefits," he said.

But it's important to eat the right kind of fish, the oily species, Dewailly said. Anyone worried about blood pressure should avoid fish that have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and high mercury content, such as big predator fish, including swordfish, marlin and shark, he said.

Another heart expert concurred.

"Many Americans can safely enjoy eating fish as a regular part of their diet to achieve the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids," said Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and a member of the American Heart Association Council on Nutrition Metabolism and Physical Activity Committee.

"And this includes canned light tuna, which is significantly lower in mercury than white tuna," she said in a statement.

SOURCES: Eric Dewailly, M.D., professor, preventive medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Oct. 5, 2009, Hypertension