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Dr Joyce Nettleton considers the intake of fat fish, like salmon, is even more favourable . (Photo: PUFA/profnetconnect./Stock File)

Omega-3 may improve outlook for chronic heart failure patients

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Thursday, August 11, 2011, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) found in seafood may reduce arterial stiffness and improve heart function in chronic heart failure, according to new research. These fats, better known as EPA and DHA, may also help in the immediate aftermath of a stroke.

These findings and more are summarized in the August 2011 PUFA Newsletter and Fats of Life newsletters for health professionals and consumers, respectively.

"The consumption of nearly 1 g of omega-3s per day may improve the elasticity of the arteries, especially in individuals at high risk of heart disease," said Editor Joyce Nettleton, DSc. "Measurement of arterial stiffness is a powerful predictor of future heart events and the risk of dementia and death."

Other studies showed that a high dose (4 g/day) of omega-3s is linked to improved heart function in people with severe chronic heart failure. Further, eating baked or broiled fish regularly may substantially lower the chance of heart failure in women after menopause.

Choosing fattier types of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna, may be even more favorable, according to Nettleton.

DHA, found in fattier fish, also proved beneficial when given to animals up to five hours after a stroke. This finding could potentially add another two hours to the time available to treat a stroke effectively after it has occurred.

"Whether similar results would be obtained in humans is the pot-of-gold question waiting for clinical evaluation," Nettleton noted.

What has been shown in recent clinical research is that pregnant women with higher intakes of fish had a lower risk of preterm delivery. DHA was associated with better growth in preterm infants and mental development in term infants.

Another clinical study showed those at risk of chronic kidney disease, including people with type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, may reduce their risk by consuming fish often.

"Participants with the highest intakes of omega-3s were 31 per cent less likely to develop chronic kidney disease compared to those with the lowest intakes," Nettleton said. "Thus, a wise diet for individuals at risk of chronic kidney disease, namely those with diabetes, will include fish at least twice a week as recommended by leading health authorities."

Related articles:

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How fish is cooked can cut or boost heart failure risk: study
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Omega-3 may improve blood pressure 

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