An article published online on March 24, 2010 in the Journal of Nutrition revealed the finding of Dutch researchers that increased fish and omega-3 fatty acid consumption is associated with a lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) in a population with low fish intake.
Researchers at Wageningen University analyzed data from 21,342 participants in The Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN) study of men and women aged 20 to 65, in which information on diet, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors was collected from 1993 to 1997. Questionnaire responses provided information on type and frequency of fish consumed, which was analyzed for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content. The subjects were followed until January, 2007 during which fatal coronary heart disease and nonfatal heart attacks were documented.
Over the follow-up period, 647 deaths occurred. Eight-two deaths were caused by coronary heart disease, which included 64 heart attacks. Nonfatal heart attacks were documented in 252 subjects. Participants whose intake of EPA and DHA was among the top 25 percent of subjects at a median of 234 milligrams per day had a 49 percent lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease and a 62 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack compared with those whose intake was lowest at 40 milligrams. Those whose fish intake was among the top 25 percent experienced similar benefits. No association was found between fish or EPA and DHA intake and nonfatal heart attack.
The authors hypothesize that the different associations observed for fatal and nonfatal heart attack are due to EPA and DHA’s protective effect against fatal cardiac arrhythmias.
“In a population with low levels of fish consumption, higher intakes of EPA+DHA and fish may protect against fatal CHD in a dose-responsive manner,” they conclude.
Source: Life Extension