What are the newfound effects of fish consumption on human health?

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In recent times, enough debate has raged on merits and drawbacks of consuming fish or fish oil and diet experts remain divided in their views. While some recent reviews indicate at benefits of eating fish and fish oil supplements, some other research findings question at benefits of eating these. While there can be differences of opinions among researchers and doctors regarding effects of eating fish, it is important for public to learn the facts on fish consumption and not get swayed by media hype on these subjects.

As per a new research carried out by researchers at University of Western Australia, taking fish oil in pregnancy can help women evade serious complications like miscarriage and gestational diabetes. The women can also expect to give birth to healthy infants, say the researchers. They cried out the experiment of pregnant laboratory rats for this study.  The study findings were published later in Journal of Lipid Research. Inflammation of placenta can take place in pregnancy disorders, including miscarriage. The UWA research shows that omega-3 fatty acids existing in fish oil can reduce inflammation of placenta.

Megan Jones the lead researchers said the study proves fish oil can aid placenta functioning. She added that while many epopee are aware abut goodness of fish oil, the implications of its consumption are yet to be fully explained and understood. The omega-3 fatty acids actually get transformed into resolvins which limit inflammations. However, Ms Jones added that extended human trials need to be carried out to confirm findings of this study and find more results.

In another new study it has been found that children who get exposed to low mercury levels obtained from fish in their mother’s womb do not become susceptible to delving autism later. The study authors analyzed 30 years of research carried out in Republic of Seychelles. In this island nation the residents eat much more fish than people hailing from Europe or the USA. The study involved kids whose mothers ate as much as 12 fish meals per day after they conceived. Edwin van Wijngaarden the study’s lead author and University of Rochester Medical Center’s associate professor confirmed the finding.

Humans can absorb mercury from various natural sources, most of it without knowing. However, a majority of mercury from volcanoes or manmade factories get deposited in the ocean which is eventually consumed by deepwater fish. When we eat these fish species chances of mercury intake are there. Since mercury exposure can lead to development issues, the US FDA prohibits recommendation of fish oil to pregnant women in abundance.

The study which is part of ongoing Seychelles Child Development Study was carried out on 1,784 kids and young adults along with their mothers. The participants were asked to fill questionnaires. The study’s principal investigator and University of Rochester Medical Center’s professor emeritus Philip Davidson said the mothers of these kids had low level exposure to mercury. He added that no link could be found between autism in kids of these women and their mercury exposure during pregnancy. The study finding was later published in Epidemiology journal.

A few months back a study published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute had sent shock waves in medical circles. It indicated that men who had high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in blood faced 71 percent higher risk than others for developing prostate cancer. The statistics is indeed alarming but researchers think that it is not time to stop eating fish for men.

Larry Lipshultz, associated with Baylor College of Medicine and Men’s Health said it was not something that could be taken as a definitive finding. He added this study shows a correlation but should not be taken as cause and effect type. Other nutritionists also agree with the view and they find the method used by researchers to be less than perfect.

Chris Mohr, a nutrition expert said that the candidates involved in that study had their blood analyzed only once a year. It rely did not offer a clear view of their long-term continual intake of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. As it is, if you eat salmon in a dinner next morning your omega 3 level will be elevated. Another shortcoming of that study is that researchers did not take time to find out if the candidates absorbed omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish or other sources. They did not check their health status before commencing the study as well. Cancer can also be caused by myriad other lifestyle and health related factors.

The study researchers did not have the objective to find out link between prostate cancer and omega-3s to begin with. The findings were in fact extrapolated from another study which was conducted to find out if vitamin E and selenium safeguards one from prostate cancer. Just gathering information on omega-3 fatty acid levels in blood is not adequate. So it appears that, the studies showing shielding effects of omega-3s for human body organs are more credible than this research from scientific perspective. The media reports based on the study findings had an alarming tone, note the diet experts.

 

Link:

http://www.healthcanal.com/pregnancy-childbirth/41261-fish-oil-found-to-help-serious-pregnancy-complications.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/eating-fish-during-pregnancy_n_3689415.html

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