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Eating fish may explain very low levels of heart disease in Japan
Date:7/28/2008

he buildup of cholesterol in the arteries," said Akira Sekikawa, M.D., Ph.D., study lead author and assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "Increasing fish intake to two times a week for healthy people is currently recommended in the U.S. Our study shows much higher intake of fish observed in the Japanese may have strong anti-atherogenic effect."

Fish consumption among the Japanese is one of the highest in the world. Japanese men consume an average of 100 grams, equivalent to about 3.75 ounces, of fish every day from early in life. Meanwhile, Americans typically eat fish less than two times a week.

"The Japanese eat a very high level of fish compared to other developed countries," said Dr. Sekikawa. "While we don't recommend Americans change their diets to eat fish at these quantities because of concerns about mercury levels in some fish, increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids in the U.S. could have a very substantial impact on heart disease. Given the similar levels of atherosclerosis in Japanese Americans and white Americans, it also tells us that lower levels of heart disease among Japanese men are much more likely lifestyle related than a result of genetic differences," said Dr. Sekikawa.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found primarily in fish. The two most potent omega-3 fatty acids are known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and are usually found in oily fishes, such as mackerel, salmon and tuna.


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Contact: Clare Collins
CollCX@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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