There is something fishy about fish: High mercury levels can put you ALS risk | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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There is something fishy about fish: High mercury levels can put you ALS risk

Consuming fish with high levels of mercury can put you at risk of motor neurone disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

health and fitness Updated: Feb 24, 2017 10:23 IST
ANI
Make sure you choose the right kind of fish to avoid lethal diseases.
Make sure you choose the right kind of fish to avoid lethal diseases.(Shutterstock)

Consuming fish that rich in mercury may double the risk of developing motor neurone disease.

According to researchers, the participants, who ate fish and seafood regularly, those in the top 25%, were at double the risk for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) compared to those with lower levels.

ALS is a progressive neurological disease that takes away the ability of nerve cells to interact with the body’s muscles.

A diagram explaining motor neuron disease. (Shutterstock)

It typically develops into complete paralysis of the body, including the muscles needed to speak, eat and breathe and there is no cure for ALS, and eventually the disease is fatal.

The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

Swordfish and shark are examples of fish that are considered high in mercury, while salmon and sardines typically have lower levels. (Shutterstock)

“For most people, eating fish is part of a healthy diet,” said study author Elijah Stommel.

The team surveyed 518 people, 294 of whom had ALS and 224 without ALS, and how much fish and seafood they ate.

Swordfish and shark are examples of fish that are considered high in mercury, while salmon and sardines typically have lower levels.

They also measured the levels of mercury found in toenail samples from the participants with ALS and compared those levels to people without ALS.

The results indicated that a total of 61% of people with ALS were in the top 25% of estimated mercury intake, compared to 44% of people who did not have ALS.

They also found that higher mercury levels measured in toenail clippings were associated with an increased risk of ALS.

Those in the top 25%t of mercury levels, based on fish-related intake or toenail clippings, were at a two-fold higher risk of ALS.

The study suggests that the public may want to choose species that are known to have a lower mercury content and avoid consuming fish caught in waters where mercury contamination is well-recognised.

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