ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
CAREGIVING
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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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