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Background: The goals of the study were (1) to determine the impact of inorganic mercury exposure on glucose homeostasis; and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of two community-based interventions in promoting dietary changes among American Indian college students to reduce risk factors for Type-2 Diabetes including fasting glucose, insulin, and mercury levels, weight, and body mass index.

Methods: To accomplish goal one, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset was analyzed using a previously published method to determine if there is a relationship between inorganic blood mercury and fasting glucose. To accomplish goal two, ten college students were recruited and randomly assigned to a group receiving the online macroepigenetics nutrition course and the support group for eliminating corn sweeteners. Participants in both groups were assessed for diet patterns, weight, body mass index (BMI), fasting glucose, insulin, and mercury levels. The interventions were implemented over a 10-week period.

Results:Analysis of the NHANES data (n=16,232) determined a direct relationship between inorganic mercury in blood and fasting glucose levels (p

Conclusion: Total blood mercury levels may be influenced by dietary intake of highly processed foods and lower inorganic mercury levels are associated with lower fasting glucose levels. Alternative community-based interventions emphasizing the role food ingredients and toxic substances play in gene modulation and the development of diseases can result in significant dietary improvements and reductions in risk factors associated with type-2 diabetes. A healthier diet can be promoted among community members using a novel online nutrition course. Consumption of corn sweeteners may be a risk factor in the development of obesity.


This work was originally published in Integrative Molecular Medicine Journal, available at doi:10.15761/imm.1000134

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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