A quarter of adult New Yorkers have elevated blood mercury levels, according to survey results released today by the Health Department, and the elevations are closely tied to fish consumption. Asian and higher-income New Yorkers eat more fish, and have higher average mercury levels, than others both locally and nationally. These mercury levels pose little if any health risk for most adults, but may increase the risk of cognitive delays for children whose mothers had very high mercury levels during pregnancy.
Major Findings on Blood Mercury Levels from NYC-HANES
Two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in oily fish. These fats have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Vegetarian diets contain low levels of EPA and DHA, mainly from dairy products and eggs; vegan diets do not normally contain EPA or DHA. Our bodies can make small amounts of EPA and DHA from another fat, alpha-linolenic acid that is found in flax seeds and flax seed oil and, to a lesser extent, in canola oil and soy products. This production is very limited, however.
Selenium, an antioxidant included in multivitamin tablets thought to have a possible protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes, may actually increase the risk of developing the disease, an analysis by researchers at the University at Buffalo has shown.
Results of a randomized clinical trial using 200 micrograms of selenium alone showed that 55 percent more cases of type 2 diabetes developed among participants randomized to receive selenium than in those who received a placebo pill.
Domestic and foreign manufacturers of vitamins, herbs, and other dietary supplements must follow new standards to show that their products are labeled properly and are not contaminated. On June 22, FDA officials announced new standards for testing the purity, strength, and composition of all supplements.
"This rule helps to ensure the quality of dietary supplements so that consumers can be confident that the new products they purchase contain what is on the label," says FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach. Supplements have always been regulated as a category of food, not as drugs.
A unique study by researchers at the University of York and Hull York Medical School has confirmed a link between depression and low levels of folate, a vitamin which comes from vegetables.
In research published in the July edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the York team led by Dr Simon Gilbody, concluded that there was a link between depression and low folate levels, following a review of 11 previous studies involving 15,315 participants.
Two new studies in the June issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) suggest that periodontal diseases are a threat to women of all ages due to hormonal fluctuations that occur at various stages of their lives.
One study looked at 50 women who were between the ages of 20 to 35 with varying forms of periodontitis. The study found that women who currently were taking oral contraceptive pills had more gingival bleeding upon probing and deeper periodontal pockets (signs of periodontitis) than those who were not taking oral contraceptive pills.