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High cholesterol: Eating tuna could inadvertently be increasing cholesterol levels

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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LDL lipoprotein is considered “bad” cholesterol as this sticks to the inside of artery walls – the channels where blood travels through the body. When these spaces narrow, life-threatening conditions are on the horizon. This study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, where researchers exchange the latest advancements in cardiovascular science. The database contained information on a vast number of adults living in America.

Participants were 73 percent more likely to have higher total cholesterol levels if they had the highest levels of mercury.

The NHS pointed out that “tuna contains higher levels of mercury than other fish”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) consider mercury as “one of the top 10 chemicals of major public health concern”.

“People are mainly exposed to methylmercury, an organic compound, when they eat fish and shellfish that contain the compound,” the WHO explained.

How does mercury end up in fish?

Mercury naturally occurs in the earth’s crust, which is then released into the earth’s atmosphere following volcanic activity, weathering of rocks or as a result of human activity.

Once mercury is in the environment, bacteria can turn it into methylmercury, which fish might ingest.

Larger predatory fish might have higher levels of mercury as they eat the smaller fish which already had mercury in their systems.

When humans consume fish, they too have a chance of consuming methylmercury.

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“All humans are exposed to some level of mercury,” testified the WHO, however growing foetuses are most susceptible to developmental effects.

In short, this is why women trying for a baby, and those who are pregnant, are advised against eating shellfish and too much oily fish.

Methylmercury is “toxic” to the central and peripheral nervous systems; symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Neuromuscular effects
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive or motor dysfunction

Scientific research also highlighted that people also had 56 percent greater odds of having higher total cholesterol if they had high levels of lead in the blood.

In addition, participants were 22 percent more likely to have higher bad cholesterol if their blood lead levels were higher.

Lead is another metal that is widely distributed in the earth’s crust, said Public Health England (PHE).

The use of lead was previous used in drinking petrol, paints and water pipes, “however, these uses are being phased out”.

Exposure to inorganic lead primarily occurs through food and water, PHE confirmed.

“Lead in drinking water mostly occurs as a result of old lead plumbing,” the organisation elaborated.

Smoking and second-hand smoke are also sources of lead exposure in the UK.

Exposure to high levels of lead can lead to:

  • Stomach upset
  • Mood changes
  • Poor attention span
  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Brain damage
  • Kidney damage

“Eating food or drink or breathing in air contaminated with lead or lead compounds for a short period usually does not cause any ill effects,” reassured PHE.

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  • Posted on May 6, 2021