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Study: Fatty Acids From Fish Can Ward Off Heart Attack

Study: Fatty Acids From Fish Can Ward Off Heart Attack

Author: Steve Sternberg
Excerpt From: USA Today

Chicago – People with heart disease can lower their risk of fatal heart attack with a daily helping of salmon or another fatty fish or by taking a daily fish oil supplement, doctors recommend today.

The American Heart Association’s recommendations, released at its annual meeting here, represent the first time the group has backed the use of a food supplement to sustain the heart. Studies now suggest that components of fish oil, called omega-3 fatty acids, can save the lives of people with heart disease.

“We have evidence that, if heart patients consume about 1 gram a day, they have much better survival rates and fewer heart attacks,” says Penny Kris-Etherton of Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the heart association’s statement. “Some people can’t eat fish, won’t eat fish or live in places where they can’t get fish. Those people should consider a supplement in consultation with a physician.”

The heart association also cited recent research indicating that even people with healthy hearts can benefit from a diet rich in such fish as salmon, bluefish, Arctic char, mackerel and swordfish. A study of 22,071 doctors, called the Physician’s Health Study, suggests that fish can reduce a man’s risk of dying from a heart attack by 80%. A sister study, called the Nurses’ Health Study, found that omega-3 fatty acids can cut a woman’s risk of death by heart attack by 33%.

In other findings at the meeting: Obesity doubles heart-disease risk in brothers and sisters of people with heart disease, especially if they gained 20 pounds or more in less than a decade. The Johns Hopkins University study, which was released Monday, involved 539 siblings of people who had heart attacks or died of heart disease.

November 19, 2002