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Three More Heartening Findings on Fish
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Trio of studies add proof of seafood’s protective powers

by Randy Hartnell

We report this month on a trio of studies that further support the value of fish in fighting heart disease. All three groups published their heartening news this past summer.

Fish reduces heart mortality risk

An analysis of 13 studies with more than 222,000 participants found that people who consume fish once a week enjoy a reduced risk of death from heart disease, compared with those who consume fish less than once a month or never. In other words, the researchers found that the participants who ate the most fish had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease.

Fish reduces key heart attack risk factor

The results of this study showed that older people who eat tuna or other baked or broiled fish at least one to three times a month reduce by 24 percent their chance of developing atrial fibrillation: a common type of irrregular heart rhythm associated with increased risk of dying from heart attack.

Fish counters artery clogs in women

Heart disease, not cancer, is the number one killer of women in America, and this study adds to the strong evidence that eating fish provides them with powerful cardio protection. Researchers at Tufts University studied the progression of atherosclerosis (fatty buildup and scarring in coronary arteries) in 229 postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease.

They found that women who ate more than two servings of fish per week—or more than one serving of tuna or dark, fatty fish—had less artery narrowing. (Researchers adjusted for age, cardiovascular disease risk factors and dietary intakes of fatty acids, cholesterol, fiber and alcohol.)

Higher fish consumption was also associated with smaller decreases in minimum coronary artery diameter and fewer new lesions in artery walls. The protective effects of this level of fish consumption were not statistically significant in non-diabetic women with coronary artery disease.


  • He K, Song Y, Daviglus ML, Liu K, Van Horn L, Dyer AR, Greenland P. Accumulated evidence on fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Circulation. 2004 Jun 8;109(22):2705-11.
  • Mozaffarian D, Psaty BM, Rimm EB, Lemaitre RN, Burke GL, Lyles MF, Lefkowitz D, Siscovick DS. Fish intake and risk of incident atrial fibrillation. Circulation. 2004 Jul 27;110(4):368-73. Epub 2004 Jul 19.
  • Erkkila AT, Lichtenstein AH, Mozaffarian D, Herrington DM. Fish intake is associated with a reduced progression of coronary artery atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;80(3):626-32.

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