There were two recent interesting studies on fish oil/ omega-3 fatty acids. In the January edition of the journal Circulation, researchers in Japan reported on a study of over 41,000 men and women between 40 and 59 years old who were known to not have either cardiovascular disease or cancer1.
The individuals were enrolled from 1990 to 1992 and followed to 2001, with food frequency questionnaires completed at the beginning of the study and again in 1995. At the end of the study, it was found that individuals whose fish consumption was in the top one fifth of participants (eight times a week) compared to those in the lowest fifth (consuming fish only once a week) were found to have a 37 percent reduction in coronary artery disease and a 56 percent decrease risk of heart attack. Further, it was analyzed that coronary artery disease risk was lowered by 42 percent for those who had intake of 2.1 grams per day compared to those with the lowest intake at 300 mg a day.
I came across another study that was presented last month at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology meeting2. In the study, 24 men with a history of substance abuse, some of whom ehibited aggressive behavior, were assigned to two groups. One group received three grams (five capsules) per day of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of purified fish oil (2,250 mg EPA, 500 mg DHA, and 250 mg of other omega-3 fatty acids). The other group was given placebo. They were followed at baseline and every month thereafter for a total of three months. A questionnaire was utilized to assess anger level. It was found at the end of the study, the 13 patients who received fish oil showed a statistically- significant and progressive decrease in anger level, whereas the 11 men given placebo observed no change. Lead researcher, Laure Buydens, suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the pathophysiology of anger, as well as depressive, suicidal and aggressive behaviors.
The last study regards an herbal medicinal etract called pelargonium sidoides. In the study, 124 adult patients with acute bronchitis were randomized and supplemented with either pelargonium sidoides etract or placebo for seven days. Within the first four days, over 68 percent of patients given the supplement reported improvement compared with only 1/3 in the placebo group. After seven days, nearly 80 percent of the supplemented group were able to resume normal activities, where only less than half of the patients given placebo could do so. The study concluded that supplementation with the etract resulted in complete recovery or major improvement in 85 percent of patients, compared to just 30 percent for placebo. No adverse effects were noted with the medicinal etract.
The last thing I would like to touch upon in this week’s newsletter is the future of health care in the U.S. Current estimates are that we are spending $1.7 trillion a year on health care, representing about 14 percent of our gross domestic product. Yet with this tremendous cost in health care, we are far from the healthiest country. So what can be done? Quite clearly the status quo is not the answer. Health care costs continue to rise at an alarming rate and may eventually bankrupt our families and even this country. One of the major costs is that of cardiovascular/cerebrovascular disease. There was a recent article in USA Today interviewing Salim Yusuf, a global heart specialist, at McMaster University in Toronto. He indicated that changing our way of living could dramatically shrink the $400 billion annual cost for heart treatment and lost productivity. So what are the risk factors he mentions? They include: smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stress, a desk bound job and a diet rich in processed foods, low in fruit and fiber and missing a daily thimble full of alcohol.
I would also like to strongly recommend 2,000 mg per day of concentrated and purified molecularly-distilled omega-3 fish oil.
- Hiroyasu Iso, Minatsu Kobayashi, Junko Ishihara, Satoshi Sasaki, Katsutoshi Okada, Yoshikuni Kita, Yoshihiro Kokubo, Shoichiro Tsugane for the JPHC Study Group. Intake of Fish and n3 Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Among Japanese: The Japan Public Health Center-Based (JPHC) Study Cohort I. Circulation 113: 195 – 202.
- L Buydes, M Branchey, A Roy. N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Decrease Feelings of Anger in A Population of Substance Abusers. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2005; 30(1):S87-S88.