Diet-NutritionHigh Blood Pressure

Mercury linked to high blood pressure

high-blood-pressureBut, “small increase of blood pressure due to methylmercury will never outweigh the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids,” says Dr. Eric Dewailly, lead author of this study from Laval University, in Quebec, Canada.

First, the details.

  • The health survey Qanuippitaa? was conducted in Nunavik (northern Quebec, Canada).
  • Data were obtained from 732 Inuit adults.
  • Blood samples, systolic blood pressure (BP), and diastolic BP were assessed.
  • Pulse pressure (systolic BP-diastolic BP) was calculated.
  • Mercury blood levels were used to show recent exposure.

And, the results.

  • Average blood pressure and pulse-pressure were elevated in the adults.
  • High mercury blood levels were strongly associated with higher systolic BP levels.
  • Every 1% increase in blood mercury levels was associated with a 0.02 mmHg increase in systolic BP.
  • There was no association with diastolic BP.

The bottom line?
Yes, there is an association.

The American Heart Association, which recommends people eat oily fish twice each week, tries to put the results in perspective. “Many Americans can safely enjoy eating fish as a regular part of their diet to achieve the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, and this includes canned light tuna, which is significantly lower in mercury than white tuna.

10/8/09 23:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.