Fish Oil supplements show heart benefits for non-fish eaters

March 31, 2010

    Increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acid supplements, the type of oil found in fatty fish such as salmon may decrease the risk of heart disease and heart attack in people with low fish intakes, says a new study from The Netherlands. Daily intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) of about 240 milligrams from supplements was associated with a 50 % reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), compared with intakes of about 40 milligrams.
    Furthermore, the highest average intake of DHA and EPA from supplements was associated with a 38 % reduction in the number of heart attacks, said researchers from Wageningen University following a study with over 21,000 people between the ages of 20 to 65 with low fish intakes. According to the results, the highest average intake of EPA plus DHA (234 milligrams per day) was associated with a 51 % reduction in the risk of fatal CHD, compared to the lowest average intake (40 mg per day).
    The heart health benefits of consuming oily fish, and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, are well-documented. To date, these polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function.
    Omega-3 fatty acids, most notably DHA and EPA, have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and certain cancers, good development of a baby during pregnancy, joint health, and improved behaviour and mood. The study is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Nutrition.