Omega3 And Heart Health Article Feb 2010

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The Cardiovascular Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Omega3 And Heart Health Article Feb 2010

  1. 1. NMR News: Volume 3, Issue 2, February 2010 The Cardiovascular Benefits of Omega- 3 Fatty Acids By: Charles Spielholz, Ph.D. Abstract: Evidence in the biomedical literature supports a role for omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular health. Based on the strength of this evidence, the American Heart Association recommends that healthy people eat two servings of fatty fish per week in order to help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. T he omega-3 fatty acids appear to have docosahexaenoic acid. In this mini-review, the positive effects on human health. Evidence role played by omega-3 fatty acids in in the primary literature suggests roles for cardiovascular health will be examined. these fatty acids in heart health, inflammation, the central nervous system, and in mental health. There is much evidence in the biomedical It is clearly known that omega-3 fatty acids are literature to show that the omega-3 fatty acids components of cell membranes and are also play a role in cardiovascular health (1), and that involved in some cellular signal transduction supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids have processes. Some of the omega-3 fatty acids can beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. These be synthesized by humans from other molecules. include lowering triglyceride levels (2,3), Those omega-3 fatty acids that cannot be preventing arrhythmias (4,5) decreasing synthesized but are required by humans for inflammation (4), decreasing platelet normal physiological and biochemical function aggregation (clotting) (6), and stabilizing plaques are termed essential and must be obtained in the (7). There is also a report that omega-3 fatty acids diet. Essential omega-3 fatty acids include alpha- may lower blood pressure (8), although that linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and observation has not been clearly replicated. The 1
  2. 2. NMR News: Volume 3, Issue 2, February 2010 effect of omega-3 fatty acids on lowering indicated that alpha-linolenic acid decreases level triglyceride levels appears to be most of C-reactive protein, but not total cholesterol, pronounced in people with the highest levels of LDL cholesterol or triglycerol levels (21,22). triglycerides, that is those people with the greatest risk (2). Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Although not Omega-3 fatty acids supplements also appear to quite as well studied as alpha-linolenic acid, be helpful in people undergoing treatment for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid cardiovascular disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease the risk of appear to enhance the effect of statin drugs, arrhythmia and thrombosis, decrease the which are used to lower cholesterol (2,9,10). development of plaque along blood vessel walls, Published evidence also indicates that omega-3s decrease serum triglycerides, decrease may be helpful in people with implanted inflammation, and to cause a small decrease in defibrillators, although the results of this work blood pressure (23,24). are not yet definitive (11,12,13). At least one study indicated that omega-3s improve results for The observations and studies listed above all patients who have undergone bypass surgery require further investigation in order to (14). understand the exact mechanism by which these omega-3 fatty acids function. However, it is clear Several studies assessing the effect of specific that omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health and do not appear to have any serious side have been performed. The fatty acids studied effects. In fact the benefits of omega-3 fatty were alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, acids for cardiovascular health are so convincing and docosahexaenoic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid that the American Heart Association cannot be synthesized by humans and is required recommends that healthy people obtain omega-3 in the diet. In two large studies, one with 45,000 fatty acids in their diets by eating fatty fish, such men over a 14 year period and one with 76,000 as salmon, twice a week (25). It has been shown women over a 10 year period, increases in alpha- that the cardiovascular benefit of eating fatty fish linolenic acid intake were associated with outweighs any risks that may arise from eating significant decreases in cardiovascular disease fish that may be contaminated with pollutants, and fatal cardiovascular disease, respectively such as mercury (26). (15,16). Two additional large scale studies confirmed these results (17,18) although two studies did not (19,20). Additional research has 2
  3. 3. NMR News: Volume 3, Issue 2, February 2010 Figure Legend: Structures of omega-3 fatty acids that are considered to be heart healthy. (1) Eicosapentaenoic acid (2) Docosahexaenoic acid (3) Alpha-linolenic acid 3
  4. 4. NMR News: Volume 3, Issue 2, February 2010 References atorvastatin and fish oil on dyslipidaemia in visceral obesity. Eur J Clin Invest. 32:429-436. 1) Lee JH, O'Keefe JH, Lavie CJ, Marchioli R, Harris WS. (2008) Omega-3 fatty acids for cardioprotection. Mayo 10) Yokoyama M, Origasa H, Matsuzaki M, Matsuzawa Clin Proc. 83:324-332. Y, Saito Y, Ishikawa Y, Oikawa S, Sasaki J, Hishida H, Itakura H, Kita T, Kitabatake A, Nakaya N, Sakata T, 2) Balk EM, Lichtenstein AH, Chung M, Kupelnick B, Shimada K, Shirato K. (2007) Effects of Chew P, Lau J. (2006) Effects of omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid on major coronary events in on serum markers of cardiovascular disease risk: a hypercholesterolaemic patients (JELIS): a randomised systematic review. Atherosclerosis. 189:19-30. open-label, blinded endpoint analysis. Lancet. 369:1090-1098. Minor Erratum in: Lancet. 370:220. 3) Pownall HJ, Brauchi D, Kilinc C, Osmundsen K, Pao Q, Payton-Ross C, Gotto AM Jr, Ballantyne CM. (1999) 11) Brouwer IA, Zock PL, Wever EF, Hauer RN, Camm Correlation of serum triglyceride and its reduction by AJ, Bocker D, Otto-Terlouw P, Katan MB, Schouten EG. omega-3 fatty acids with lipid transfer activity and the (2003) Rationale and design of a randomised neutral lipid compositions of high-density and low- controlled clinical trial on supplemental intake of n-3 density lipoproteins. Atherosclerosis. 143:285-297. fatty acids and incidence of cardiac arrhythmia: SOFA. Eur J Clin Nutr. 57:1323-1330. 4) Getz GS, Reardon CA. (2007) Nutrition and cardiovascular disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 12) Leaf A, Albert CM, Josephson M, Steinhaus D, 27:2499-2506. Kluger J, Kang JX, Cox B, Zhang H, Schoenfeld D. (2005) Prevention of fatal arrhythmias in high-risk 5) Reiffel JA, McDonald A. (2006) Antiarrhythmic subjects by fish oil n-3 fatty acid intake. Circulation. effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Am J Cardiol. 98:50i- 112:2762-2768. 60i. 13) Raitt MH, Connor WE, Morris C, Kron J, Halperin B, 6) Harris WS, Assaad B, Poston WC. (2006) Tissue Chugh SS, McClelland J, Cook J, MacMurdy K, omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio and risk for coronary Swenson R, Connor SL, Gerhard G, Kraemer DF, artery disease. Am J Cardiol. 98:19i-26i. Oseran D, Marchant C, Calhoun D, Shnider R, McAnulty J. (2005) Fish oil supplementation and risk of 7) Thies F, Garry JM, Yaqoob P, Rerkasem K, Williams J, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation in Shearman CP, Gallagher PJ, Calder PC, Grimble RF. patients with implantable defibrillators: a randomized (2003) Association of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids controlled trial. JAMA. 293:2884-2891. with stability of atherosclerotic plaques: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 361:477-485. 14) Calo L, Bianconi L, Colivicchi F, Lamberti F, Loricchio ML, de Ruvo E, Meo A, Pandozi C, Staibano 8) Johansen O, Brekke M, Seljeflot I, Abdelnoor M, M, Santini M. (2005) N-3 Fatty acids for the prevention Arnesen H. (1999) N-3 fatty acids do not prevent of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass restenosis after coronary angioplasty: results from the surgery: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Coll CART study. Coronary Angioplasty Restenosis Trial. J Cardiol. 45:1723-1728. Am Coll Cardiol.33:1619-1626. 15) Mozaffarian D, Ascherio A, Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, 9) Chan DC, Watts GF, Mori TA, Barrett PH, Beilin LJ, Willett WC, Siscovick DS, Rimm EB. (2005) Interplay Redgrave TG. (2002)Factorial study of the effects of between different polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk 4
  5. 5. NMR News: Volume 3, Issue 2, February 2010 of coronary heart disease in men. Circulation. 111:157- 23) Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ (2003) 164 Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: new recommendations from the American Heart 16) Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Rimm EB, Wolk A, Association. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 23:151-152. Colditz GA, Hennekens CH, Willett WC. (1999) Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic 24) Wang C, Harris WS, Chung M, Lichtenstein AH, Balk heart disease among women. Am J Clin Nutr. 69:890- EM, Kupelnick B, Jordan HS, Lau J. (2006) n-3 Fatty 897. acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha- linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes 17) Dolecek TA. (1992) Epidemiological evidence of in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a relationships between dietary polyunsaturated fatty systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 84:5-17. acids and mortality in the multiple risk factor intervention trial. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 200:177-182. 25) American Heart Association Website (February 2010) 18) Albert CM, Oh K, Whang W, Manson JE, Chae CU, http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identif Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. (2005) Dietary alpha- ier=4632 linolenic acid intake and risk of sudden cardiac death and coronary heart disease. Circulation. 112:3232-3238. 26) Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB. (2006) Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks 19) Pietinen P, Ascherio A, Korhonen P, Hartman AM, and the benefits. JAMA. 296:1885-1899 Willett WC, Albanes D, Virtamo J. (1997) Intake of fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in a cohort of Finnish men. The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. Am J Epidemiol. 145:876- 887. 20) Oomen CM, Ocke MC, Feskens EJ, Kok FJ, Kromhout D. (2001) alpha-Linolenic acid intake is not beneficially associated with 10-y risk of coronary artery disease incidence: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 74:457-463. 21) Wendland E, Farmer A, Glasziou P, Neil A. (2006) Effect of alpha linolenic acid on cardiovascular risk markers: a systematic review. Heart. 92:166-169. 22) Bemelmans WJ, Lefrandt JD, Feskens EJ, van Haelst PL, Broer J, Meyboom-de Jong B, May JF, Tervaert JW, Smit AJ. (2004) Increased alpha-linolenic acid intake lowers C-reactive protein, but has no effect on markers of atherosclerosis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 58:1083- 1089. 5

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