Posted on Apr 29, 2013, 6 a.m.
Higher levels of mercury exposure – such as that which may occur from consumption of fish and shellfish in a person’s 20s and 30s – may increase the risks for type 2 diabetes later in life by 65%.
While fish and shellfish also contain lean protein and other nutrients, such as magnesium and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, these foods are also a main source of mercury exposure. Ka He, from Indiana University (Indiana, USA), and colleagues studied 3,875 American young adults, ages 20–32 years, who were free of diabetes at the study’s start in 1987 and were followed six times until 2005. Baseline toenail mercury levels were measured and incident diabetes was identified. The team found that higher levels of mercury exposure in young adults increased their risks for type 2 diabetes later in life by 65%. Reporting that: “Our results are consistent with findings from laboratory studies,” the study authors submit that they: “provide longitudinal human data, suggesting that people with high mercury exposure in young adulthood may have elevated risk of diabetes later in life."
Ka He, Pengcheng Xun, Kiang Liu, Steve Morris, Jared Reis, Eliseo Guallar. “Mercury Exposure in Young Adulthood and Incidence of Diabetes Later in Life: The CARDIA trace element study.” Diabetes Care, February 19, 2013.