Relationship of estimated dietary intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish with peripheral nerve function after adjusting for mercury exposure

Yi Wang, Jaclyn M. Goodrich, Robert Werner, Brenda Gillespie, Niladri Basu, Alfred Franzblau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Some clinical studies have suggested that ingestion of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has neuroprotective effects on peripheral nerve function. However, few epidemiological studies have examined the effect of dietary n-3 PUFA intake from fish consumption on peripheral nerve function, and none have controlled for co-occurrence of methylmercury exposure from fish consumption. Objectives: We evaluated the effect of estimated dietary n-3 PUFA intake on peripheral nerve function after adjusting for biomarkers of methylmercury and elemental mercury in a convenience sample of 515 dental professionals. Methods: We measured sensory nerve conduction (peak latency and amplitude) of the median, ulnar and sural nerves and total mercury concentrations in hair and urine samples. We estimated daily intake (mg/day) of the total n-3 PUFA, n-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) based on a self-administrated fish consumption frequency questionnaire. We also collected information on mercury exposure, demographics and other covariates. Results: The estimated median intakes of total n-3 PUFA, n-3 EPA, and n-3 DHA were 447, 105, and 179. mg/day, respectively. The mean mercury concentrations in urine (1.05. μg/L) and hair (0.49. μg/g) were not significantly different from the US general population. We found no consistent association between n-3 PUFA intake and sensory nerve conduction after adjusting for mercury concentrations in hair and urine although some positive associations were observed with the sural nerve. Conclusions: In a convenience sample of dental professionals, we found little evidence suggesting that dietary intake of n-3 PUFAs from fish has any impact on peripheral nerve function after adjustment for methylmercury exposure from fish and elemental mercury exposure from dental amalgam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume454-455
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Fatty acid
  • Fish consumption
  • Mercury
  • PUFA
  • Peripheral nerve conduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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