Omega-3 fatty acids get FDA health claim
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a qualified health claim for omega-3 fatty acids. Regular foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can claim to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, which is responsible for a half-million deaths each year in the United States.
Fish oils may:
1. Decrease blood viscosity
2. Reduce total cholesterol
3. Increase “good” HDL cholesterol
4. Lower triglycerides.
5. Reduce tissue damage from acute ishemia
6. Reduce anginal pain
7. improve exercise tolerance
8. Reduce platelet aggregation.
9. Improve blood flow dynamics.
Omego-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, such as salmon, lake trout, tuna and herring, and in some types of algae.
The FDA recommendation is people eat no more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day from food or 2 grams from a dietary supplement.
Wataru Matsuyama, MD, PhD. of Japan’s Kagoshima University Hospital worked with other researchers on a study that found fish oil could effectively treat a lung disease known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
New research from Japan shows that eating foods like salmon, herring, walnuts, and flaxseed oil could help treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Those foods contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are scarce in the typical American diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been studied for conditions including heart diseaseheart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are examples of COPD.
Smoking is a significant cause of the disease.
Japanese doctors put omega-3 fatty acids to the test.
They led a two-year study of COPD patients.
COPD is the world’s No. 5 cause of death, and cases are predicted to rise in coming years, write the researchers.
They included Wataru Matsuyama, MD, PhD. Matsuyama works in the respiratory medicine division of Japan’s Kagoshima University Hospital.
Matsuyama’s study included 64 COPD patients who hadn’t smoked for at least six months.
Patients promised not to take omega-3 supplements (such as fish oil or flaxseed oil capsules) on their own.
They also wrote down everything they ate for four days per month during the study.
The patients’ progress was tracked in two different ways.
Their levels of inflammatory chemicals were tracked.
The farther COPD patients can walk in that test, the better their chances of survival tend to be, the researchers note.
They had a significant drop in lung inflammation.
They also walked farthest in the six-minute walking test.
Side effects seen with two or three patients on each diet included diarrhea and nausea.
Those problems were mild and controllable, write Matsuyama and colleagues.
The researchers suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be a “safe and practical method for treating COPD.”
Since their study was small, they call for bigger, longer studies to check their results.
I use these daily for healthy lung maintenance and because I no longer trust the safety of most fish due to the pollution issues world wide. mgw
“While all omega-3 fats possess immune-boosting qualities, omega-3 fats from fish oil, EPA and DHA, are more biologically potent than omega-3 fat ALA, found in plant sources such as flax seeds.
These fats have also been found, by many animal and clinical studies, to have anti-inflammatory properties, indicating that they might be beneficial to managing diseases such as coronary heart disease, depression and cancer. Omega-3 fats many also help with aging.”
Journal American College Nutrition December 2002;21(6):495-505
I have read that they also help control irregular heart beat and lung health. Barry Sears has his version. I prefer ProEfa.
NOTE: Aspirin-sensitive individuals should avoid fish oils.
Lung disease and fish oils – A review of the evidence
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. The idea that fish and fish oils may protect against lung disease developed from early studies of the dietary habits of Greenland Eskimos. Dr. D.F. Horrobin hypothesized that the high content of omega-3 fatty acids in the Eskimo diet is at least partially responsible for the low prevalence of lung disease in this population group. This makes biological sense inasmuch as omega-3 fatty acids (notably from fish and fish oils) are known to inhibit the synthesis of the inflammatory eicosanoids involved in lung diseases.
Dr. Joel Schwartz, MD of the Harvard Medical School has just published a review of the evidence concerning omega-3 fatty acids and lung disease. Dr. Schwartz concludes that there is good evidence that a high intake of fish helps retard the age-related decline in lung capacity observed among both smokers and non-smokers. He also points out that one long term trial of fish oil supplementation in adult asthma patients showed significant benefits, but that shorter trials (less than 1 year) have not confirmed these findings. Two Australian studies have shown that consumption of fresh fish (particularly oily fish) protects children against wheezing and asthma. The evidence concerning cystic fibrosis is controversial. Some studies have shown that fish oil supplementation suppresses the formation of the inflammatory eicosanoids which are characteristic of cystic fibrosis; however, little or no clinical improvements are noted in these studies. Other studies have found a significant protective effect of fish and fish oil in regard to chronic bronchitis and emphysema (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) especially among smokers.
Dr. Schwartz concludes that there is a good case for fish and fish oils being protective against the development of chronic lung diseases, but that more research is needed to establish conclusive proof of benefits.
Schwartz, Joel. Role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in lung disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71 (suppl), January 2000, pp. 393S-96S
It is important to remember that approximately 60 percent of the human brain is composed of fatty material–and 25 percent of that material is DHA.
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Fish oils may protect against bronchitis and emphysema
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA. Researchers at the University of Minnesota report that smokers who eat fish regularly are much less likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. They believe the protective effect is due to the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content of fish. Other studies have shown that fish oils have anti- inflammatory properties and benefit patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. The study included 8960 people, 55 per cent of which were former smokers and 45 per cent current smokers. The researchers found that present or former smokers who ate four servings of fish per week had about half the risk of developing chronic bronchitis as did smokers who only ate 0.5 serving or less per week. Heavy fish eaters had only one third the risk of getting emphysema as did smokers who ate little fish. Eating four servings of fish per week corresponds to a daily intake of about 480 mg of fish oils (EPA and DHA). The researchers conclude that a high dietary intake of fish oils (n-3 fatty acids) may protect cigarette smokers against chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
Shahar, Eyal, et al. Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 331, No. 4, July 28, 1994, pp. 228- 33
Fish oil helps cystic fibrosis victims
NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA. Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that daily supplementation with fish oil capsules alleviates many of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a serious, inherited childhood disease which involves a malfunctioning of the body’s mucus glands. An abnormally thick mucus is produced which clogs the lungs and results in breathing difficulties. Other symptoms include persistent cough and wheezing, repeated lung infections, and a failure to gain weight. Sixteen cystic fibrosis patients aged 12 to 26 took part in the experiment. Half the group received fish oil capsules providing 2.7 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per day while the other half received identical olive oil capsules as a placebo. After six weeks of treatment the patients receiving EPA coughed up significantly less sputum, were breathing easier (both forced expiatory volume and vital capacity were up) and generally felt better. The Australian researchers believe that the EPA acts by modifying the role of leukotriene B4. Leukotriene B4 is thought to be the main culprit in the excessive inflammatory response to bacteria which characterizes cystic fibrosis.
Lawrence, R. and Sorrell, T. Eicosapentaenoic acid in cystic fibrosis: evidence of a pathogenetic role for leukotriene B4. The Lancet, Vol. 342, August 21, 1993, pp. 465-69
Cystic fibrosis and fish oils
GENT, BELGIUM. There is evidence that cystic fibrosis patients with high plasma phospholipid levels of omega-3 fatty acids have better lung function than patients with lower levels. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is, unfortunately, often accompanied by fat malabsorption so it is not clear whether oral fat supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids would benefit CF patients.
Researchers at the State University of Gent set up an experiment to see if CF patients are able to absorb omega-3s effectively by mouth. The trial involved 9 CF patients (4 females and 5 males) ranging in age from 7 to 20 years. All had been diagnosed with pancreatic insufficiency and had poor fat absorption despite supplementing with pancreatic enzyme preparations. The patients were assigned to receive either 6 fish oil capsules per day for a month followed by 6 placebo capsules for a month or 6 placebo capsules daily for a month followed by 6 fish oil capsules daily for a month. Each fish oil capsule contained 335 mg of salmon oil and 165 mg of commercial soy lecithin and provided 152 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. The placebo capsules contained 500 mg of pharmaceutical-grade liquid paraffin.
The researchers found that the CF patients who took fish oil showed a marked increase in their phospholipid levels of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] (increase of 327%) and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] (increase of 215%). The levels of EPA and DHA returned to baseline 2 weeks after discontinuing supplementation. The researchers also noted that patients with low initial levels of EPA showed the greatest increase in EPA levels after supplementation. They conclude that oral supplementation with fish oil and lecithin is effective in increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids especially EPA and DHA in cystic fibrosis patients.
Christophe, Armand, et al. Increase of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the major serum lipid classes of patients with cystic fibrosis. Ann Nutr Metab, Vol. 36, 1992, pp. 304-12