ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Get to Know the Pap Test
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Functional Foods Uncovered
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Man Dies of Brain Inflammation Caused by Deer Tick Virus
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Add your Article

Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- High intake of the omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish and vegetable cooking oils appear to help prevent heart attacks, while the omega-6 fatty acids in vegetables and nuts help keep blood pressure low, two international research teams report.

A study in Costa Rica found that high intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of heart attack by 59 percent, said a report published in the July 8 online issue of Circulation.

In the Costa Rican study, "we compared those subjects who had heart attacks with those who did not have heart attacks," said study author Hannia Campos, a senior lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. They had participants fill out food questionnaires and also analyzed body fat samples to determine levels of alpha-linolenic acid, a major omega-3 fatty acid.

A number of other studies have shown that high intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. This is the first study to look at its association with heart attack risk, Campos said.

"We found that the relationship is not completely linear," she said. "It plateaued after a certain level of intake. After that, higher levels do not mean increased protection."

The protective level turned out to be surprising low -- the amount in two teaspoons of soybean oil or canola oil, half a teaspoon of flaxseed oil or six to 10 walnut halves.

That protective effect could be detected, because the people in the Costa Rican study have a low level of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet, Campos said. "Their overall intake of fish is very low, much lower than in the United States, and the fish they eat are tropical, which are not as fatty as cold-water species," she said.

The high blood pressure study, reported in the July 8 online issue of Hypertension, looked at 4,680 men and women aged 40 to 59 from China, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. It found a significant relationship between intake of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetables, and lower blood pressure.

The report is the latest in a series of studies designed to describe all the factors contributing to high blood pressure, said Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, a professor of preventive medicine emeritus at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

"For diet and serum cholesterol, most of the answers came in the 1960s," Stamler said. "The data on diet and blood pressure have come much more slowly."

Previous reports have shown that higher intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are associated with lower blood pressure, Stamler said. Iron from vegetables -- but not meat -- also is associated with lower blood pressure, he said. "An array of macro- and micronutrients influence blood pressure in a variety of ways," Stamler said.

The latest study indicates that raising linoleic acid intake by 9 grams a day reduces systolic blood pressure (the higher of the 120/80 reading) by about 1.4 points, and diastolic pressure by about 1 point. That small reduction can have a large effect in a big population, the researchers said, with a 2-point reduction reducing coronary heart disease by 4 percent.

"The message of this study is to eat more fruit and more vegetables, more beans, less red meat and less fats," Stamler said. "Fats should be mainly selected to be unsaturated. Vegetable oils should be used but in moderation."

More information

A guide to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is offered by the Vegan Society.



SOURCES: Hannia Campos, Ph.D., senior lecturer, nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Jeremiah Stamler, M.D., professor emeritus, preventive medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago; July 8, 2008, Circulation, online; July 8, 2008, Hypertension, online

Last Updated: July 07, 2008

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