Scientists from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute are to study the association between consumption of crab meat and health.
Crab meat, in particular the brown meat from crab, such as that present in dressed crab and crab pâté, is a good source of key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, selenium, zinc and iodine and can also contain variable levels of cadmium.
In the body, vitamin B12 is required for a healthy blood and nervous system whereas selenium functions as an antioxidant, and like zinc, is required for proper function of the immune system. Cadmium is a natural element which is present in the environment around us as well as in cigarette smoke, however in non-smokers, food is the main source.
This will be the first study to research whether consumption of brown meat from crab is associated with increasing nutrient levels such as selenium, zinc or cadmium levels in the body.
The team from the Rowett Institute require volunteers to take part in the study, and in order to test their theory will need participants who already consume a lot of crab meat, as well as a group who never, or very rarely, eat crab.
Participants will also need to be over 40 years of age, healthy and a non-smoker (never smoked or not smoked in the last five years). All participants will first have to complete a questionnaire to ensure they are eligible for the study.
Those who take part will be required to visit either the Rowett Institute’s Human Nutrition Unit or visit a GP in Stromness, Orkney, to have one blood sample taken and their weight recorded. Participants will also provide a urine sample from home.
Dr Alan Sneddon, Principal Investigator on the study, said: “This is a really interesting study and will allow us, for the first time, to look at whether regular consumption of crab meat, especially the brown meat, is associated with changes in key mineral levels in the human body.
“However, this research really depends on us being able to recruit enough volunteers to take part. We are looking for 90 participants in total, 45 crab eaters and 45 people who eat no or very little crab.
“We are working with colleagues in Orkney and are delighted that people from the island can also volunteer to take part in the study without having to travel to Aberdeen to have their samples taken.”
This study is funded by the Orkney Fishermen’s Society Ltd and Macduff Shellfish Ltd.