MUNICH, GERMANY. There is considerable evidence that fish oil supplements may help prevent or slow down atherosclerosis. Some studies have shown that one of the benefits of fish oil supplementation may be helping to prevent restenosis (reclosing) of the arteries after angioplasty, but more recent studies have found no such effect. One study found that coronary bypass patients who supplemented their diet with 4 grams/day of an 83% fish oil concentrate had less reclosings (distal anastomosis occlusions) of their bypass grafts than did the controls. After one year, the patients taking fish oils had a reclosing (occlusion) rate of 27% while the control patients had a reclosing rate of 33% (a 23% relative improvement).
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Short-term trials have concluded that fish oil supplementation has a favourable effect on several risk factors for atherosclerosis. Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center report the results of a 6-month study designed to determine the effect of fish oil supplementation at various dosages on cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, bleeding time, and blood (plasma phospholipids) levels of fatty acids.
AALBORG, DENMARK. It is increasingly clear that atherosclerosis is, at least partially, an inflammatory disease. There is also growing evidence that high blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks. Danish researchers now report a direct correlation between CRP levels and severity of atherosclerosis. They also suggest that CRP levels can be kept in check by frequent consumption of fish or fish oils. Their study involved 269 patients referred for angiography because of suspected coronary artery disease. Besides undergoing angiography the patients had their CRP levels measured and were also tested for the level of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA, respectfully; both found in fish oils) in their granulocytes (a type of white blood cell). They also filled out a questionnaire about their fish consumption.