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Nutr Health. 2008;19(4):289-97.

Maternal fish consumption and prenatal methylmercury exposure: a review.

Author information

1
Department of Food Science & Nutrition, College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat-Oman. u055658@squ.edu.om

Abstract

The benefits of fish consumption have been known to be the prevention of certain heart disease, neurological disorders and a very important role in fetal brain development. However there has been, in the past, certain doubts on whether fish should be classified as a beneficial meat source as part of a pregnant woman's diet as it has been documented that fish contains harmful substances that could effect a child's cognitive and neuro development. Methylmercury (MeHg), in particular, has been singled out. As it turned-out, with the use of numerous literature reviews, MeHg is not as dangerous as we have been led to believe. It has been suggested that even during neonatal exposure to MeHg as a result of maternal fish consumption one can reverse the harmful effects of MeHg if, after birth, the child is exposed to a favorable environment and a nutritious diet. The role of antioxidants is also important as they can help in reducing the harmful effects of MeHg if administered in sufficient amounts during pregnancy. There are also many fish types that should be avoided during pregnancy, particularly predatory and dark-meat fish as they are associated with high amounts of MeHg. This review shows that the benefits of maternal fish consumption during pregnancy can outweigh the harmful effects of neonatal MeHg exposure.

PMID:
19326735
DOI:
10.1177/026010600801900404
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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