Influence of seafood and vitamin supplementation on maternal and umbilical cord blood mercury concentration

Shih Hui Huang, Ken Pen Weng, Luo Ping Ger, Huei Han Liou, Ching Chiang Lin, Chung Cheng Wang, Charles Tzu Chi Lee, Ming Tsang Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of maternal seafood consumption and vitamin supplementation during pregnancy on maternal and umbilical cord blood mercury (Hg) concentration. Methods In this study of 145 healthy pregnant women (mean age 28.1 ± 5.2 years), we administered questionnaires, collected paired maternal/umbilical cord blood samples, and measured the anthropometrics of newborns. Blood Hg concentration was assayed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Results Sixty-one of these women (42.1%) used vitamins >3 times/wk prenatally. Seventy-eight of our study participants (61.9%) reported eating higher amounts of seafood during pregnancy. We found a strong correlation (r = 0.76, p < 0.001) between Hg levels in the paired maternal/umbilical cord blood samples. Mothers with high seafood consumption had a 2.91-fold greater risk (adjusted odds ratio 2.91, 95% confidence interval: 1.04–8.15, p = 0.042) of high Hg levels (>5.8 μg/L). However, mothers whose prenatal vitamin intake was >3 times/wk were found to have low Hg levels (≤5.8 μg/L) (adjusted odds ratio 0.06, 95% confidence interval: 0.01–049, p = 0.008). Conclusion High seafood consumption was an independent risk factor for high maternal Hg level, while vitamin supplementation was a protective factor. Further study is needed to investigate the specific effect of vitamins on Hg level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May
Externally publishedYes


  • mercury
  • pregnancy
  • seafood
  • vitamin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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