The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel and sardines apparently do more than help reduce triglyceride levels and blood clotting. Three new studies confirm that eating fish high in omega-3s can cut the incidence of heart disease by nearly a third, that healthy men with the highest counts of omega-3s have an 81 percent lower risk of sudden death, and that giving fish-oil capsules to heart-attack patients reduces their chances of sudden death by 42 percent.
The reports were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and Circulation, respectively.
The American Heart Association already recommends eating two servings of fatty or oily fish a week. In a commentary published in NEJM, Irwin Rosenberg, M.D., professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University, calls such a diet “potentially lifesaving.” When the heart is under stress, it can develop abnormal rhythms that can lead to sudden death, Rosenberg notes. But omega-3s, which get incorporated into cell membranes, seem to help stabilize the heart.
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