Author: Jean Carper, July 30, 2006
If you’re not eating fatty fish or taking fish oil capsules you are living dangerously. The evidence is increasingly overwhelming that omega-3 fat in fish is a powerful lifesaver, especially if you have cardiovascular disease. Here’s the latest:
Imagine! Taking fish oil for only a month cut the odds of sudden cardiac death due to arrhythmias by an astounding 71%, finds a new Australian study.
That means fish oil might save 210,000 of the 300,000 Americans who die instantly every year when their hearts go into irregular hearbeats from ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. The presence of omega-3 fish oil in heart cells, experts say, stabilizes the electrical activity of the heart, “shocking” it back into normal heartbeats.
In the new study by Dr. R.G. Metcalf of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia, patients with heart disease took either a fish oil supplement with 900 mg omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) or a placebo every day for four weeks. Metcalf then used electrical impulses to try to induce sustained ventricular arrhythmias. He succeeded in only 25% of the men on fish oil, compared with 86% of the men on placebo. Thus, men not getting fish oil were 3.4 times more apt to have potentially fatal arrhythmias than men on fish oil. Dr. Metcalf says fish oil may prevent initiation of arrhythmias and/or stop them if they occur.
Other compelling new reasons to take fish oil:
Harvard investigators reviewed 46 studies on fish oil and heart disease and concluded that “increased consumption of omega-3s from fish or supplements reduces the rates of all-cause mortality, cardiac and sudden death, and possibly stroke.”
Getting lots of omega-3s also cuts your risk of macular degeneration, bone loss, and even helps you lose weight without dieting. Omega-3 increases the body’s “fat-burning ability by improving the flow of blood to muscles, ” concluded a new British study.