New Meds That Heal
has Its trends, just like everything else. We know something's
"arrived" when we see It on The Today Show or 60 Minutes. But just as
quickly as It lands on the scene, it's trumped by the next great
doctors have been recommending the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils
for a long time. In recent years, It's become 8 mantra of sorts; even
mainstream "authorities" have gotten into the act, advising people to
Increase fish Intake and even recommending fish oil supplementation.
So It's not something you see a lot of coverage on any more. Yet, two
recently published studies prove the benefits are broader and
longer-term than we thought previously.
In the past, most
studies done on fish 011 focused mostly on men, and examined its
long-term protective effects. Now, scientists reveal new information
showing fish 01115 good for both sexes, can help protect you even If
you've already had a heart attack, and suggests that supplements can
start having an effect In as little as four months.
Fish 011 cuts risk
of heart attack death In HALF -In just months
The first of the two
studies, published In the Journal of the American Medical Association,
examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on women's heart health.
As I said above, nearly all of the previous omega-3 research has been
done on men, and recent findings show that women's and men's hearts
are not the same (I'll refrain from all the obvious jokes). But by
analyzing data from the more than 120,000 women In the Nurses' Health
Study cohort, researchers demonstrated that the fish 011 benefit is
applicable to both sexes.
',- Over 16 years of
follow-up, women In the highest group of omega-3 Intake had about half
the risk of developing coronary heart disease as did women In the
group with the lowest intake. Overall, the relative risks of
developing heart disease, dying from a cardiac event, or suffering a
non-fatal heart attack all decreased steadily as fish consumption and
omega-3 fatty acid intake increased. And this association remained
strong even after adjustment for other risk factors and predictors.
The second study,
published In the journal Circulation, tested the effects of fish oil
and vitamin E on people who had suffered a heart attack In the last
three months. The 11,323 men and women were randomly divided Into four
groups: one group received one gram of fish oil each day, one received
300 mg of vitamin E each day, the third group took both fish 011 and
vitamin E, and the fourth took a placebo. This cohort was particularly
vulnerable to sudden cardiac death because of their recent heart
attacks. But after just four months, the fish 011 group already
demonstrated a significant reduction In risk. In fact, participants
who took fish 011 had about half the Incidence of sudden death
compared to participants In the other groups.
Low dose supplement may even help
correct Irregular heart beat
fish oil's heart-healthy effects to several different mechanisms.
Studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglyceride
levels, reduce platelet aggregation or dumping, and Improve
functioning of the cells that line the heart and blood vessels. But
the Circulation report provides evidence to support yet another
mechanism -regulation of the heart beat. Technically, It's called an
.anti-arrhythmic effect,. meaning that It reduces the occurrence of
Irregular heartbeats. Scientists think fish 011 may help regulate the
heart beat by reducing the production of thromboxane A2, a substance that
promotes clotting and blood vessel constriction, and by various
effects on many of the body's enzymes and receptors.
You can Increase your consumption of
omega-3 fatty acids by Increasing your fish intake; dark meat fish
like mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish, and swordfish are the most
concentrated sources, with an average of 1.51 grams of omega-3s per
serving. Most other fish, Including canned tuna, provide about .45
grams per serving, while shrimp, lobster and scallops contain about
.32 grams per serving. But the Circulation study also shows that you
can use fish 011 supplements to get benefits as well.
It doesn't take
mega-doses to do it. The one gram per day used In the study Is
a relatively low dose, and it
showed an effect In a highly vulnerable population -In
just a few months. You can find omega-3 supplements In
just about any health food store or vitamin supplier .
Fish 011 may
not be the latest fashion, but the message from these studies Is
clear: There's even more evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids
found In fish oil can help keep your heart healthy and strong --
whether you're male or female, looking to prevent the first
signs of heart disease or treating an existing condition.