Most people, whether healthy or having cardiovascular disease (CVD), would benefit from regular consumption of oily fish, concluded speakers at the EuroPRevent 2012 meeting. While eating whole fish undoubtedly offers the optimum approach for increasing omega-3 intakes in both primary and secondary prevention, delegates heard, supplements have a major role to play in increasing omega-3 intakes for people who do not like fish. The EuroPRevent 2012 meeting, held 3 May to 5 May 2012 in Dublin, Ireland, was organised by the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
The symposium " A fish a day keeps the doctor away" (1) centred on the cardiovascular disease (CVD) benefits of the long chain highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in the flesh of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines. In the round table debate speakers attempted to unravel the current confusion where initial studies showed eating fish/taking omega 3 supplements delivered CVD benefits, but more recent studies with supplements failed to reproduce these effects.
"Omega-3 fatty acids are really important to human health, whether you're talking about CVD, brain or immune health. Heath professionals have a key role to play in educating the public about the beneficial effects of including fish in their diets," said Philip Calder, a metabolic biochemist and nutritionist from the University of Southampton, UK.
The latest European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice, also launched at the EuroPRevent 2012 meeting, recommend that people should eat fish at least twice a week, one meal of which should be oily fish (2). For people opting for supplements, warned Calder, it is best to take pharmaceutical grade preparations of omega-3 oils since not all over
|Contact: ESC Press Office|
European Society of Cardiology