The exposure to mercury (Hg) of various groups of people with different dietary backgrounds has been assessed because of its hazardous effects, but little is known about that in patients receiving enteral nutrition. Therefore, we studied the Hg exposure in 25 patients with severe motor disabilities, who received liquid enteral feedings for more than one year, by determining total mercury (T-Hg) in their hair samples with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The geometric mean of the T-Hg level in hair from the patients was 88 ng/g hair (± 1 geometric standard deviation [GSD], 34 - 228 ng/g), whereas that for the control group on a normal diet was 1,900 ng/g (± 1 GSD, 1,022 - 3,531 ng/g). The T-Hg levels in the patients' hair were far lower than those in the controls (p < 0.001). The T-Hg levels in the enteral feedings used were below the detection limit of cold-vapor atomic absorption spectrophotometry (< 10 ng/g). The present study has shown that Hg exposure is low in patients receiving enteral nutrition, indicating that food is a primary source of Hg exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)