Higher Mercury Levels in Humans Associated with Increased Risk for Diabetes

Cooking with Kathy Man

A new study found that higher levels of mercury exposure in young adults increased their risks for type 2 diabetes later in life by 65 percent. The study, led by Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington epidemiologist Ka He, is the first to establish the link between mercury and diabetes in humans.

The study paints a complicated nutritional picture because the main source of mercury in humans comes from the consumption of fish and shellfish, nearly all of which contain traces of mercury. Fish and shellfish also contain lean protein and other nutrients, such as magnesium and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, that make them important to a healthy diet.

In the study, published online early in the journal Diabetes Care, the people with the highest levels of mercury also appeared to have healthier lifestyles — lower body mass indexes and smaller waist circumferences, more exercise — than other study participants…

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