Cardiovascular Health

Women with High Intakes of Seafood Omega-3s May Have Fewer Strokes

There is considerable evidence that eating fish or the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3s) they contain is associated with a lower risk of stroke in women. Not all research studies agree, however, and some reports suggest that men who consume fatty fish regularly may also have a lower risk of stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the most common cause of long-term disability. It occurs more frequently in people who smoke or have high blood pressure. The most common type of…

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Alpha-Linolenic Acid from Plants Unrelated to Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease

There is a wealth of data to back up recommendations for the consumption of fatty fish or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease mortality. Much less evidence supports the consumption of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the one omega-3 found in plants, for heart health. This omega-3 is shorter and less unsaturated than EPA and DHA, the main omega-3s in fish. True, ALA has some heart health benefits, but the effects are not as potent or diverse as those documented for the omega-3s in fish oil. When…

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Higher DHA, Not EPA, Associated with Lower Carotid Thickness in Japanese Men

In the preceding article, EPA was associated with a lower risk of heart failure, but DHA was not. These are the main two long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) found in seafood and both contribute to a lower risk of heart disease. It is likely, however, that they may operate differently, yet still be complementary in protecting heart health. In this article, we describe a study among Japanese and US men in which high levels of DHA, but not EPA, were associated with a more favorable marker of atherosclerosis, the thickness…

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Lower Risk of Heart Failure Linked to Higher Blood EPA Levels

In congestive heart failure, the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood for the rest of the body’s needs. The condition can develop as a result of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or other disorder. About 75% of patients with heart failure have hypertension, but a previous heart attack (myocardial infarction) also poses a high risk of the condition. After the age of 40, the chance of developing heart failure is 1 in 5 for both men and women. According to the American Heart Association, about half…

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