High consumption of omega-3 fish oils may reduce artery calcification

High consumption of omega-3 fish oils may reduce artery calcification

An intake of omega-3 fatty acids comparable to those of people living in Japan may be linked to protection against artery calcification and heart disease, according to new research.

The study findings, published in Heart, report that middle-aged Japanese men living in Japan had lower incidence of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than middle-aged white men living in the United States, likely due to the significantly higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

Led by Dr Akira Sekikawa from the University of Pittsburgh, the study followed nearly 300 men for five years, tracking multiple factors that affect cardiovascular health, including cigarette smoking, the level of cholesterol in the blood and alcohol consumption, as well as their rates of diabetes and high blood pressure.

After accounting for risk factors for heart disease, the U.S. men had three times the incidence of coronary artery calcification as the Japanese men, said the team – while the levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid in the blood were more than 100% higher in the Japanese than in the white men.

"The vast difference in heart disease and levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid are not due to genetic factors," said Sekikawa. "When we look at Japanese Americans, we find that their levels of coronary artery calcification are actually higher than that of the rest of the U.S. population."

"Multiple studies have looked at the effect of fish oil on cardiovascular health, with mixed results," she added. "Previous studies investigated substantially lower intake of omega-3 fatty acids than what people in Japan actually get through their diet.”

“Our study seems to indicate that the level of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids consumed must be higher than previously thought to impart substantial protection," said Sekikawa.

Study details

The team noted that the average dietary intake of fish by Japanese people living in Japan is nearly 100 grams each day, while the average American eats about 7 to 13 grams of fish a day, or about one serving a week.

Analysis of their data showed that Japanese men had a significantly lower incidence rate of coronary artery calcification (CAC) compared to white men.

“The incidence rate ratio of CAC taking follow-up time into account between Japanese and white men was 0.321. After adjusting for age, systolic blood pressure, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, diabetes, and other potential confounders, the ratio remained significant,” revealed Sekikawa and colleagues.

"Our findings indicate that it is worthwhile to take another look at the effect of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids on heart disease, particularly when consumed at higher rates than previously investigated,” said Sekikawa.

Source: Heart
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2013-304421
“Long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and incidence rate of coronary artery calcification in Japanese men in Japan and white men in the USA: population based prospective cohort study”
Authors: Akira Sekikawa, Katsuyuki Miura, et al

Related News

Food and supply chain of different omega-3 sources

Look to GM plants and algae to meet omega-3 demand, researchers urge

NICE to update heart health guidance; omega-3s and sterols-stanols considered

NICE to update heart health guidance; omega-3s and sterols-stanols considered

The pyramid of evidence-based medicine. The evidence strength increases as you go up.

Something smells fishy: Why the media silence over the blood pressure benefits of omega-3s?

"It’s very hard to have too much omega-3," said professor Calder.

UK researcher backs supplements for boosting omega-3 intakes

Fish oil during pregnancy could boost baby’s immune system

Fish oil during pregnancy could boost baby’s immune system

Women who took fish liver oil at least three times weekly in adolescence or midlife had a lower risk of heart disease than women who ate none

Fish-liver oil when younger may reduce heart disease risk when older

Echium plantagineum

Echium oil may boost blood omega-3 levels and improve heart health markers: Study

Omega-3 supplements may boost neuropsychological measures for kids who need most support

Omega-3 supplements may boost neuropsychological measures for kids who need most support

Is the omega-3 sector in decline?

Is the omega-3 sector in decline?

Dutch omega-3 player earns sustainable seal

Dutch omega-3 player earns sustainable seal

Omega-3-rich fish intake during pregnancy may boost birth weight for babies: European data

Omega-3-rich fish intake during pregnancy may boost birth weight for babies: European data

Related Products

See more related products