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Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease heart failure risk

April 6, 2010

Increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish may reduce women’s risk of heart failure by about 25 percent, according to a new study.

In the observation study, dietary intakes of 36,234 women aged between 48 and 83 participating in the Swedish Mammography Cohort were analyzed using food-frequency questionnaires (1). Over the course of 18 years of study, 651 cases of heart failure were documented. Eating one serving of fatty fish per week was associated with a 14 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure, compared with women who did not eat any fatty fish.

The benefits appear to be linked to the omega-3 content of the fish, the researchers commented. The highest intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids was linked to a reduction in the risk of heart failure by 25 percent.

The heart health benefits of consuming oily fish, and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, are well-documented. To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function. Beyond heart health, omega-3 fatty acids, most notably eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits, including reduced risk of certain cancers, good development of a baby during pregnancy, joint health, and improved behavior and mood.

References

  1. Levitan E. B. et al. Fatty fish, marine omega-3 fatty acids and incidence of heart failure. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010.