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FDA Approves Fish Oil For Heart Disease

In another case of conventional medicine wising up to healthy, safer ways to treat illness, last week the FDA approved claims of a reduced risk of coronary heart disease on conventional foods that contain eiscosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids.

Scientific evidence indicates that these fatty acids may be beneficial in reducing coronary heart disease, a significant health problem that causes 500,000 deaths annually in the United States. FDA announced a similar qualified health claim in 2000 for dietary supplements containing EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids and the reduced risk of heart disease.

However, those excellent sources of EPA and DHA--salmon, lake trout, tuna and herring--are tainted by contaminants that can harm you:

  • Mercury
  • PCBs
  • Radioactive substances like strontium
  • Toxic metals such as cadmium, lead, chromium and arsenic

A healthier option for obtaining the nutritional benefits of omega-3 is regularly consuming high-quality fish oil.

What's more, two additional studies have found fish oil might also prevent dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythms.

In one study, compared to the beginning of the trial, people receiving fish oil had significantly fewer and less severe arrhythmias. People taking fish oil had 46.9 percent, 67.8 percent, 71.8 percent, and 100 percent fewer occurrences of the four types of arrhythmia monitored in the study: atrial premature complexes, ventricular premature complexes, couplets and triplets.

The other study involved some 4,800 people over 65 who were monitored for a potentially serious type of arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation over 12 years. In that study, frequent fish eaters were found to have a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation than people who were not. Compared to those who ate fish less than once a month, patients who ate fish once to three times a month were 24 percent less likely to suffer atrial fibrillation.

Science Blog September 8, 2004 September 10, 2004

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