ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
CANCER
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Vitamin D Best Taken With Largest Meal of Day, Study Finds
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
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
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
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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