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Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Date:7/29/2008

Long-term omega-3 consumption appears to combat some traditional risk factors, study finds,,,,

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Despite high levels of smoking, Japanese men are far less likely to have dangerous plaque build-up in their blood vessels than white or Japanese-American men, a difference that researchers believe stems from a lifelong, near-daily consumption of fish.

"Japanese living in Japan eat fish every day, about 100 grams every day," said study author Dr. Akira Sekikawa, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "They also have very low rates of coronary heart disease, even with a high rate of smoking and other risk factors."

Results of the study are in the Aug. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Current American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines recommend eating oily fish, such as salmon or albacore tuna, at least twice a week if you don't have heart disease. If you already have heart disease, the AHA suggests getting at least one gram of omega-3 fatty acids daily, preferably from fatty fish. However, the AHA cautions that you shouldn't consume more than two grams of fish oil daily without first consulting your doctor, because of a risk of excessive bleeding.

Sekikawa's study included 281 Japanese men, 306 white American men, and 281 Japanese-American men. Along with giving blood samples, all of the men underwent electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) to measure coronary artery calcification (plaque deposits on the heart's arteries) and ultrasound examinations of the carotid artery in the neck.

Overall, the researchers found that Japanese-American men had the highest number of heart disease risk factors of all three groups. They had the highest average body-mass index, blood pressure, triglycerides and the highest levels of diabetes.

The Jap
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