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Myocardial infarction in relation to mercury and fatty acids from fish: a risk-benefit analysis based on pooled Finnish and Swedish data in men

Wennberg, Maria; Strömberg, Ulf LU ; Bergdahl, Ingvar A.; Jansson, Jan-Hakan; Kauhanen, Jussi; Norberg, Margareta; Salonen, Jukka T.; Skerfving, Staffan LU ; Tuomainen, Tomi-Pekka and Vessby, Bengt, et al. (2012) In American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 96(4). p.706-713
Abstract
Background: Exposure to methylmercury from fish has been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in some studies. At the same time, marine n-3 (omega-3) PUFAs are an inherent constituent of fish and are regarded as beneficial. To our knowledge, no risk-benefit model on the basis of data on methylmercury, PUFA, and MI risk has yet been presented. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe how exposure to both marine n-3 PUFAs and methylmercury relates to MI risk by using data from Finland and Sweden. Design: We used matched case-control sets from Sweden and Finland that were nested in population-based, prospective cohort studies. We included 361 men with MI from Sweden and 211 men with MI from Finland. MI... (More)
Background: Exposure to methylmercury from fish has been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in some studies. At the same time, marine n-3 (omega-3) PUFAs are an inherent constituent of fish and are regarded as beneficial. To our knowledge, no risk-benefit model on the basis of data on methylmercury, PUFA, and MI risk has yet been presented. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe how exposure to both marine n-3 PUFAs and methylmercury relates to MI risk by using data from Finland and Sweden. Design: We used matched case-control sets from Sweden and Finland that were nested in population-based, prospective cohort studies. We included 361 men with MI from Sweden and 211 men with MI from Finland. MI risk was estimated in a logistic regression model with the amount of mercury in hair (hair-Hg) and concentrations of n-3 PUFAs (EPA and DHA) in serum (S-PUFA) as independent variables. Results: The median hair-Hg was 0.57 mu g/g in Swedish and 1.32 mu g/g in Finnish control subjects, whereas the percentage of S-PUFA was 4.21% and 3.83%, respectively. In combined analysis, hair-Hg was associated with higher (P = 0.005) and S-PUFA with lower (P = 0.011) MI risk. Our model indicated that even a small change in fish consumption (ie, by increasing S-PUFA by 1%) would prevent 7% of MIs, despite a small increase in mercury exposure. However, at a high hair-Hg, the modeled beneficial effect of PUFA on MI risk was counteracted by methylmercury. Conclusions: Exposure to methylmercury was associated with increased risk of MI, and higher S-PUFA concentrations were associated with decreased risk of MI. Thus, MI risk may be reduced by the consumption of fish high in PUFAs and low in methylmercury. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:706-13. (Less)
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American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
volume
96
issue
4
pages
706 - 713
publisher
American Society for Clinical Nutrition
external identifiers
  • wos:000308977000005
  • scopus:84866616999
ISSN
1938-3207
DOI
10.3945/ajcn.111.033795
language
English
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yes
id
92790cf2-b9be-40c3-b79d-6528b091a9cb (old id 3189687)
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2012-12-03 07:09:37
date last changed
2017-04-16 03:47:30
@article{92790cf2-b9be-40c3-b79d-6528b091a9cb,
  abstract     = {Background: Exposure to methylmercury from fish has been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in some studies. At the same time, marine n-3 (omega-3) PUFAs are an inherent constituent of fish and are regarded as beneficial. To our knowledge, no risk-benefit model on the basis of data on methylmercury, PUFA, and MI risk has yet been presented. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe how exposure to both marine n-3 PUFAs and methylmercury relates to MI risk by using data from Finland and Sweden. Design: We used matched case-control sets from Sweden and Finland that were nested in population-based, prospective cohort studies. We included 361 men with MI from Sweden and 211 men with MI from Finland. MI risk was estimated in a logistic regression model with the amount of mercury in hair (hair-Hg) and concentrations of n-3 PUFAs (EPA and DHA) in serum (S-PUFA) as independent variables. Results: The median hair-Hg was 0.57 mu g/g in Swedish and 1.32 mu g/g in Finnish control subjects, whereas the percentage of S-PUFA was 4.21% and 3.83%, respectively. In combined analysis, hair-Hg was associated with higher (P = 0.005) and S-PUFA with lower (P = 0.011) MI risk. Our model indicated that even a small change in fish consumption (ie, by increasing S-PUFA by 1%) would prevent 7% of MIs, despite a small increase in mercury exposure. However, at a high hair-Hg, the modeled beneficial effect of PUFA on MI risk was counteracted by methylmercury. Conclusions: Exposure to methylmercury was associated with increased risk of MI, and higher S-PUFA concentrations were associated with decreased risk of MI. Thus, MI risk may be reduced by the consumption of fish high in PUFAs and low in methylmercury. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:706-13.},
  author       = {Wennberg, Maria and Strömberg, Ulf and Bergdahl, Ingvar A. and Jansson, Jan-Hakan and Kauhanen, Jussi and Norberg, Margareta and Salonen, Jukka T. and Skerfving, Staffan and Tuomainen, Tomi-Pekka and Vessby, Bengt and Virtanen, Jyrki K.},
  issn         = {1938-3207},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {706--713},
  publisher    = {American Society for Clinical Nutrition},
  series       = {American Journal of Clinical Nutrition},
  title        = {Myocardial infarction in relation to mercury and fatty acids from fish: a risk-benefit analysis based on pooled Finnish and Swedish data in men},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.033795},
  volume       = {96},
  year         = {2012},
}