Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center report that DHA and EPA, major components of fish oil, offer substantial protection against coronary heart disease. Their study involved over 6,000 middle-aged men. Researchers working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center state that DPA and DHA, primary components of fish oil, provide substantial protection against coronary heart disease.
This study involved more than six thousand middle-aged men who had samples of their blood taken between 1973 and 1976. During the next seven years, 94 of these men had a heart attack or died suddenly due to heart disease. The 94 men were matched with 94 healthy men and the fatty acid profile of their blood samples compared. The researchers discovered that the 94 men with heart disease tended to have a higher serum level of the saturated fatty acid palmitic acid and stated that a high level of this acid increases the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 68 percent.
Palmitic acid is the main saturated fatty acid in most diets. This acid is known to cause an increase in both total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol levels; the researchers, however, found that the detrimental effect of a high intake of palmitic acid persisted even after allowing for its cholesterol-increasing effect.
The researchers also determined that men with a higher blood level of the Omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, docosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid had an almost 50 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than did men with lower levels.
Furthermore, the researchers found that men with CHD tended to have a higher serum level of Omega-6 fatty acids derived from linoleic acid. Fish Oil may reduce heart attack fatalities by balancing certain electrical rhythms in the heart, thus preventing blood clots from forming.
George Billman, professor of physiology at the Ohio State Univ., says that omega-3 fatty
acids in fish oil make the tissues in the muscles of the heart less susceptible to damage caused by a lack of blood flow. “It looks like omega-3 fatty acids protect against the changes induced by ischemia,” said Billman. Billman, along with researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University Medical School, published the results of the study in a recent issue of the journal ‘Circulation’.
The omega-3 fatty acids in the study seemed to do the work of anti-arrhythmic drugs. This work was funded by the American Heart Association, Ohio Valley Affiliate, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barry Sears, a leading authority in the field of drug delivery systems and dietary control of hormonal response, states that Research is increasingly emphasizing the broad benefits of high-grade fish oil.