ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Freckles, Moles May Indicate Risk for Eye Cancer
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Add your Article

Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

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 Japanese men living in Japan had far higher rates of smoking -- 47 percent -- and smoking is one of the most significant heart disease risk factors.

But they had significantly less coronary artery calcifications and less build-up in their carotid arteries.

The levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood were 9.2 percent for men living in Japan, 3.9 percent for white men, and 4.8 percent for Japanese-American men. Yet, Japanese-American men had more coronary artery calcifications and more build-up in their carotid arteries than the white men and the men in Japan.

"Fish is an important factor in keeping the Japanese healthy," said the author of an accompanying editorial, William Harris, director of the Metabolism and Nutrition Research Center, Sanford Research/USD, in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"The combination of increased fish oil and a low saturated fat diet is probably the best way to lower heart disease risk. Eskimos have a diet high in omega-3s, but also high in saturated fat, and they don't have the same low levels of heart disease," he added.

Harris said what's important is to consume fish or fish oil on an ongoing basis. "A month of supplements won't get you there," he said. But, if you don't like fish, he said that fish oil supplements can also improve your health, but he suggested that you read the supplement label and make sure that each capsule contains one gram of omega-3s. And, he said, they don't have to be expensive to be effective.

If you don't have heart disease, he said, two grams a day "is more than adequate." And, if you like fish, that's even better.

"Choose oily fish, not fried fish, but fish that naturally contain omega-3s, like salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, herring and mackerel, and you need to eat about two 4-ounce servings a week," Harris added.

More information

To learn more about fish, omega-3s and heart health, visit the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Akira Sekikawa, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh; William S. Harris, Ph.D., senior scientist, and director, Metabolism and Nutrition Research Center, Sanford Research/USD, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Aug. 5, 2008, Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Last Updated: July 29, 2008

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