Research says mercury can now help, instead of hurt you

Posted by Kelsey Wheatcroft - email

(NBC) - Most Americans don't eat enough fish, which some experts say could be caused by fears of mercury exposure.

New research shows what many thought would hurt their heart, could actually help.

Researchers at Harvard turned to data from two large studies of 160,000 men and women.

Researchers looked at the mercury levels of the participants, and compared that to the number who developed heart disease.

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian with the Harvard School of Public Health says, "For the general population, there's no link between mercury exposure from fish and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease."

Mercury occurs naturally in the oceans, but it also comes from power plant and factory pollution.

Large fish like shark, swordfish and king mackerel have the highest amounts, and for that reason are not recommended for pregnant women or young children.

Studies have shown high mercury exposure could affect the brain of a developing fetus and child.

However, for the rest of us, fish is recommended, at least two servings per week.