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OILY FISH GOOD FOR HEART

Fish oil supplements save heart patients

BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT


May 25, 2007:

Heart attack victims can hope for a better deal. A medical report says that thousands of them are to be prescribed fish oil supplements under certain guidelines on the anvil.

According to the report, doctors will tell heart patients to eat at least two portions of oily fish per week or take omega 3 fatty acid tablets for up to four years to reduce the risks of a second attack. A clinical trial found daily 1g doses of highly concentrated omega 3 within three months of a heart attack cut the risk of a patient later dying suddenly by 45 per cent, the report added.

Eating oily fish or taking the supplements has a range of health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, better immune system functioning, and improved behaviour in primary school age children, earlier research has stated.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which has brought a report on this, says the wide-ranging advice is designed to reduce the risks of a secondary attack among the 160,000 people who survive a first heart attack each year. Patients will be told to follow a Mediterranean diet, high in fruit, vegetables, grains, olive oil and fish, it said. The diet, two to four portions of oily fish a week, should consist of 7g of omega 3 fatty acids.

According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence estimates, one in five, which run up to around 40,000, patients will be prescribed the pills, the report said. Omega 3 and other fatty acids play a key role in maintaining the structure of cell membranes and are important in regulating blood clotting, body temperature, blood pressure, reproduction and the immune system, it said. The richest sources of omega 3 are oily fish, particularly mackerel, herring, salmon, fresh tuna and trout.

Besides, doctors will continue to advise heart attack sufferers to give up smoking, maintain a healthy weight, reduce alcohol intake and to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day.

 

BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT

 

 

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