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Fish Affirmed as Heart-Failure Fighter
6/18/2012
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Heart failure – also called congestive heart failure (CHF) – simply means that your heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to the rest of the body … especially when you’re active.
 
The most common cause is coronary artery disease, which is characterized by a narrowing of small vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
 
According to the American Heart Association, one in five people develop CHF after the age of 40, and about half will die within five years.
 
Most of the population studies published to date – and a few clinical trials – have linked higher fish or omega-3 intakes to a reduced risk of developing CHF.
 
Findings support
top epidemiologists’ view
The Boston team’s conclusions fit with a mass of encouraging evidence regarding omega-3s’ potential to help prevent or ameliorate heart failure.
 
Earlier this month, we attended a Boston conference (GOED Exchange) featuring, among other scientific luminaries, fish-and-health expert Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., from the Harvard University School of Public Health.
 
(The speakers included “America’s pediatrician”, William Sears, M.D., who’s just finished a much-anticipated book on omega-3s and health … which we’ll review when it’s publicly available.)
 
As Dr. Mozaffarian told us and our fellow attendees, “The main benefits for omega-3s are for preventing cardiac death. Fish and omega-3s should be the first line of defense ...”
 
He noted that the average American only gets 50-75mg per day of long-chain omega-3s (EPA + DHA), which are found only in seafood or supplements.
 
Yet, as he added, health authorities worldwide recommend daily omega-3 intakes ranging from 250mg to 500mg … with higher intakes often advised for people with diagnosed heart disease.
 
Recently, scientists from Boston reviewed the evidence published to date, and estimated the approximate drop in CHF risk among people with high self-reported fish intakes.
 
Boston team estimates a 15% fish-related fall in the risk of heart failure
Researchers from Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and veterans’ health agencies analyzed seven “prospective” studies, in which they or other researchers followed 176,441 volunteers for a substantial numbers of years (Djoussé L et al. 2012).
 
In each study, the subjects completed diet questionnaires and provided access to their health records.
 
The Boston group compared the participants’ self-reported fish consumption habits to their heart-health records, to look for any statistical associations between the two.
 
Compared to people with the lowest reported fish intakes, those with the highest intakes were 15 percent less likely to develop heart failure by the end of their particular study.
 
And, those with the highest estimated omega-3 intakes (EPA + DHA, from seafood) were 14 percent less likely to do so.
 
More specifically, the risk of heart failure dropped by five percent for every 15 gram increase in daily fish consumption.
 
Similarly, the risk of heart failure fell by three percent with every 125mg rise in estimated daily omega-3 (EPA + DHA) intake.
 
The Boston group noted that fish and their omega-3s have been separately linked to lower blood levels of triglycerides and improved cholesterol profiles ... which could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the congestive heart failure that often results.
 
In addition, seafood-source omega-3s appear to normalize heart rhythms, reduce inflammation, and support the health of the large ventricular chambers, which pump blood to the whole body.
 
As they concluded, “This meta-analysis is consistent with a lower risk of heart failure with intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids. If confirmed in a large, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial, [omega-3] EPA/DHA could be added to the list of lifestyle factors and pharmacological agents that can be used for the primary prevention of heart failure.” (Djoussé L et al. 2012)
 
We hope that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) will fund clinical trials, and assuming positive outcomes that mainstream medical advice will progess accordingly!
 
 
 
Sources
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