USA-Peer-reviewed research continues to show the cardiovascular benefits of fish consumption or intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs).
Several studies described in the September 2004 PUFA Newsletter support previous research associating such intake with a 40 percent or greater reduction in sudden cardiac death. This is good news for countries like the United States with high rates of cardiovascular disease.
A meta-analysis of 13 studies with more than 222,000 participants indicated that consumption of fish once a week was inversely associated with risk of heart disease mortality compared with those who never consumed fish or did so less than once a month, noted Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc., R.D., editor, PUFA Newsletter. The more often participants ate fish, the lower their risk of heart disease mortality.
"These results are consistent with the weight and totality of evidence associating regular fish consumption with significantly reduced risk of cardiac mortality," she said.
Another study showed that eating tuna or other baked or broiled fish at least one to three times a month was associated with a 24% lower chance of older people developing atrial fibrillation -- a common type of disordered heart rhythm associated with increased cardiac mortality. A third study reported that eating fish two or more times a week was associated with significant reduction in arterial narrowing in all women. Consumption at least once a week of fish rich in n-3 LC-PUFAs was significantly associated with slower disease progress in diabetic women, whose condition increases their risk of cardiac mortality.
Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effects of n-3 LC-PUFAs promote heart health as noted by Philip C. Calder, professor, Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton, U.K., in this issue of the PUFA Newsletter.
"Inflammation is a long-recognized factor that contributes to the pathology of several chronic diseases," he said. "It also participates in atherosclerosis, acute cardiovascular events, and obesity. Thus, agents that exert anti-inflammatory actions are likely to be important in both prevention and therapy of a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Omega-3 LC-PUFAs from fish oil exert anti-inflammatory effects."
"Surely the time has come to embrace whole-heartedly the recommendations for regular fish consumption and to ensure that fish remain in abundance," Nettleton concluded.