Heart association recommends fish oil

In the American Heart Association Journal, Circulation (November, 2002), the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is discussed. Omega-3 fatty acids make the blood less likely to form clots that cause heart attack as well as protect against irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden cardiac death. Since 2000 the American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines have recommended that healthy adults eat at least two servings of fish per week, particularly fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, lake trout, albacore tuna and salmon (which are high in eicosapentaenoid and docoahexaenoicacids—essential fatty acids found in fish oil –also called EPA and DHA, respectively).

People with high triglyceridesshould be taking between two and four grams of EPA and DHA. Caution is urged with doses above three grams, the FDA warns of excessive bleeding in some people. It is best to check with a physician and to make sure that high doses of the oil are not taken along with drugs that can interfere with clotting.

The danger of mercury contamination has caused the FDA to warn against children, pregnant women, and nursing women to eat too much fish. They are not as likely to suffer from heart disease, hightriglycerides, or irregular heartbeats as they are likely to be harmed by mercury contamination.

For others, the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks, according to the American Heart Association article. This is especially true of older and middle aged people at risk for heart disease and high triglycerides. Research has shown the many benefits from omega-3 consumption. They include decreased risk of sudden death and arrhythmia, lower blood pressure,  decreasedtriglyceride levels, decreased thrombosis (blood clot), and improved arterial health (with a decrease in the growth of atherosclerotic plaque).

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