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Sci Total Environ. 2013 Jun 1;454-455:73-8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.02.075. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Relationship of estimated dietary intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish with peripheral nerve function after adjusting for mercury exposure.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Some clinical studies have suggested that ingestion of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has neuroprotective effects on peripheral nerve function. However, few epidemiological studies have examined the effect of dietary n-3 PUFA intake from fish consumption on peripheral nerve function, and none have controlled for co-occurrence of methylmercury exposure from fish consumption.

OBJECTIVES:

We evaluated the effect of estimated dietary n-3 PUFA intake on peripheral nerve function after adjusting for biomarkers of methylmercury and elemental mercury in a convenience sample of 515 dental professionals.

METHODS:

We measured sensory nerve conduction (peak latency and amplitude) of the median, ulnar and sural nerves and total mercury concentrations in hair and urine samples. We estimated daily intake (mg/day) of the total n-3 PUFA, n-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) based on a self-administrated fish consumption frequency questionnaire. We also collected information on mercury exposure, demographics and other covariates.

RESULTS:

The estimated median intakes of total n-3 PUFA, n-3 EPA, and n-3 DHA were 447, 105, and 179 mg/day, respectively. The mean mercury concentrations in urine (1.05 μg/L) and hair (0.49 μg/g) were not significantly different from the US general population. We found no consistent association between n-3 PUFA intake and sensory nerve conduction after adjusting for mercury concentrations in hair and urine although some positive associations were observed with the sural nerve.

CONCLUSIONS:

In a convenience sample of dental professionals, we found little evidence suggesting that dietary intake of n-3 PUFAs from fish has any impact on peripheral nerve function after adjustment for methylmercury exposure from fish and elemental mercury exposure from dental amalgam.

PMID:
23538138
PMCID:
PMC3640748
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.02.075
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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