Cardiovascular Health

Sex Differences in the Effects of Omega-3s?

In biomedical research, metabolic and functional differences between the sexes for specific nutrients are often not specifically addressed and fully appreciated. Fundamental physiological processes that underlie the functioning of most organs are thought to be more similar than different between the sexes. So an interesting question is to what extent the function of essential fatty acids in health and disease is sex-dependent. Intuitively, dose-response differences may be expected, but do omega-3s and other PUFA serve qualitatively different purposes in male and female physiology? Long-chain omega-3 PUFA play an extremely important role…

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Epoxides of DHA and Blood Pressure Lowering

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. A significant benefit for cardiovascular health can be achieved through normalizing blood pressure. High blood pressure corresponds to a systolic pressure above 140 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg. Globally, the prevalence of adults with elevated blood pressure is approximately 40%. The consequences of chronically elevated blood pressure are various; coronary artery plaque formation leading to coronary heart disease, stroke due to arterial plague disruption and atherothrombosis in ascending arteries, heart failure, peripheral…

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Independent Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Associated with Linoleic Acid and Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Linoleic acid is recognized as an essential fatty acid for human health because it cannot be synthesized by humans and needs to be ingested through the diet. It is a precursor of the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of the omega-6 type, of which arachidonic acid is the most well-known. Arachidonic acid is the substrate for a large number of local hormones in the body, the eicosanoids, that regulate many aspects of tissue physiology. Linoleic acid itself is needed for proper formation of the skin epithelium, facilitating the formation of the…

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Insight into the Variations in the Individual Response to Supplemental EPA/DHA Intake

The magnitude with which we respond to specific nutrients present in our food is not the same for everyone. Individuals carry significant genetic variability, and also vary in the way genetic information is expressed. Hence our responses to the external world can vary significantly. This variation in response also applies to the absolute needs for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for health and the effects of their dietary intake on different processes in the body. This is apparent, for example, when we consider that a substantial percentage of people taking omega-3…

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Correcting VLDL Kinetic Abnormalities in Obesity and Insulin-Resistance

Obesity is frequently accompanied by dyslipidemia, consisting of changes in triglyceride (TG) and cholesterol levels in blood outside the ranges considered normal. Many obese subjects have significantly elevated concentrations of cholesterol incorporated in the lipoprotein particle LDL (low-density lipoprotein). Another notable change is an elevated level of the lipoprotein VLDL (very-low density lipoprotein), which carries TG and cholesterol produced in the liver to other parts of the body where these lipids can be used for energy and tissue growth. Whereas countless studies have been dedicated to understanding the potential role…

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Omega-3 PUFAs: Who Could Have Predicted?

Guest Article Joyce A. Nettleton, D.Sc. Past Editor, PUFA Newsletter   How far omega-3 (n-3) PUFA research has come! The 1936 medical observations of Israel Rabinowitch describing the rarity of arteriosclerosis among the Inuit of the eastern Canadian Arctic and similarly among the northwest Greenlanders led to the report of high levels of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) in Inuit plasma lipids by Bang and Dyerberg. Finally, Dyerberg and colleagues suggested that high levels of n-3 LC-PUFAs were linked to the prevention of thrombosis and CVD. The involvement of these…

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Clinical Studies on the Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Cardiovascular Outcomes

Invited Opinion Aldo Bernasconi, Ph.D. Director of Information and Research Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s   There is a long history of clinical research showing that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids – the kind of fatty acids found at relatively high levels in fish oils – have a cardio-protective effect. This research includes several large randomized control trials (RCTs). These trials, in which participants are randomly selected to receive either a treatment or a placebo, have long been considered to be the gold standard for clinical research. One surprising…

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Higher Omega-3 Intakes Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Events in Multiethnic Study

Recent clinical trials have reported no additional benefit on the risk of cardiovascular mortality or morbidity from the consumption of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs), mainly EPA and DHA, which are found in fish and fish oil, krill or algal supplements. These studies have mainly been conducted in patients with multiple cardiovascular health risks who were receiving statins and other state-of-the-art medical care. Under such circumstances, it becomes more difficult to demonstrate additional clinical benefit from small amounts of n-3 LC-PUFAs. The catch is, not all patients at risk of…

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Unravelling Contradictions in Atrial Fibrillation Studies: It’s U

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that results from disorganized electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart (atria). Instead of beating rhythmically, the atria quiver, allowing blood to pool. As a result, insufficient blood reaches the lower chambers, which pump the blood throughout the body. Atrial fibrillation may occur occasionally or become a long-term recurring condition. Those who have experienced atrial fibrillation face increased risk of stroke, heart failure and recurrence as a complication of cardiac surgery. The development of postoperative atrial fibrillation significantly increases the risk…

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High-Dose Long-Chain Omega-3s or Purified EPA Lower Persistently High Triglycerides

Ironically, the studies described in this article closely follow a recent, highly publicized study, which reported that supplementation with less than 1 g/day of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) did not reduce cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in statin-treated high-risk heart patients. The Risk and Prevention Study prompted some physicians to dismiss the use of n-3 LC-PUFAs in their cardiovascular patients and the news media had a field day questioning, if not bashing, fish oils. Those bandwagons might have been missing a few wheels. The studies in this report were not…

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