Large quantities of fish during pregnancy might not be harmful for the baby. The health risks associating consumption of fish and mercury exposure might be just a myth and actually the nutrients found in fish may protect the brain against the toxicity of mercury.
Studies undertaken for over 30 years by scientists in the Seychelles, has kept on demonstrating that the high consumption of fish oil by pregnant women doesn’t affect their baby. With around twelve meals per week, future mothers and their babies should be fine.
The new research, indicates that compounds found in the fish, like polyunsaturated fatty acids were not harming the mother or the baby, but on the contrary they could fight the damaging actions of mercury in the brain.
This study, has given scientists the chance to observe the part polyunsaturated fatty acids play on development, and their huge capability to fight the toxicity of mercury,explained lead author of the study and professor of Human Nutrition at the Ulster University in Northern Ireland, Sean Strain.
The research,conducted by The Seychelles Child Development together with the University of Rochester Ulster, followed over 1,500 mothers and their children. A year and eight months after their birth, the children have been tested in order to measure their behavior, motor and communication skills.
Before giving birth, scientist collected hair samples from each mother, to establish the level of mercury the baby was exposed to. The results of the tests, proved that the level of mercury of the mothers had no involvement in the lower test scores.
Previous studies in the Seichelles, had followed the development of certain children for almost 20 years and none of the results could link the consumption of fish and the further neurological development of the children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other international agencies are revisiting the recommended amounts of fish consumption, in order to evaluate the benefits of the nutrients found in fish.
The present FDA recommendations, are advising pregnant women to keep their fish consumption limited, at twice per week, because of the known risks of mercury intoxication of the child in the future.
Mercury is a substance found naturally, on Earth, but human activities can lead to higher quantities. Large amounts of mercury end up in the ocean, due to this, fish tend to be carriers of small small amounts of it.
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