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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect the Spinal Cord, Heart, Brain and Eyes

DENVER, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Long-chain (seafood) omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) continue to prove their value in heart, brain and eye health, according to recent research summarized in the March 2008 Fats of Life and PUFA Newsletter electronic publications. Groundbreaking studies also show that omega-3s may improve recovery from spinal cord injury and dry eye syndrome.

The effect of fish oil consumption on arterial elasticity, which allows for more rapid blood flow, was examined in China in overweight patients with high blood pressure. Participants who took 900 mg of seafood omega-3s daily for eight weeks had a 21% increase in arterial elasticity.

"While blood pressure did not change in these participants, their arterial elasticity significantly improved," said Editor Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc. "This observation suggests another way in which these omega-3s protect heart health."

A US study reported that marine omega-3s prevented atrial fibrillation- uncontrolled rapid trembling -- from developing in animals with fast heartbeats. By increasing the heart's recovery time, the omega-3s prevented abnormal rhythms from becoming established.

Investigators in the Netherlands recently examined the relationship between children's omega-3 status at birth, which depends on the mother's omega-3 intake during pregnancy, and their motor development at age seven. Those with the highest levels of the omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) at birth had significantly higher total motor scores than children born with less DHA.

"This means that a mother's consumption of seafood omega-3s during pregnancy is important for her child's later motor development," Nettleton said.

Two other studies covered by the e-newsletters report improvement in mental disorders with dietary seafood omega-3s. Treating substance abuse patients with these omega-3s, mainly EPA (eicosapen-taenoic acid), for example, resulted in significantly lower scores for anxiety and anger. In adults diagnosed with neuroticism, researchers found the condition was related to low blood levels of EPA.

Groundbreaking animal research suggests that human treatment with DHA within the first hour after a spinal cord injury could be effective in limiting the extent and spread of damage. Also included in the e-newsletters is a report of significantly reduced inflammation and corneal damage in dry eye syndrome with eye drops containing the plant omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid.

The quarterly Fats of Life and PUFA Newsletter, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products, are at and by complimentary subscription.

SOURCE Fats of Life
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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