Columbia research shows novel benefits of fatty acids in arteries

February 5, 2009

New research from Columbia University Medical Center continues to shed light on the benefits of making fish a staple of any diet.

Fish are generally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown benefit in many health areas such as helping to prevent mental illness and delaying some of the disabilities associated with aging. Eating tuna, sardines, salmon and other so-called cold water fish appears to protect people against clogged arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower triglycerides, a type of fat often found in the bloodstream.

Now, a CUMC research team led by Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D., Director of the Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition, has found that a diet rich in fish oils can prevent the accumulation of fat in the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart. The beneficial actions of fish oil that block cholesterol buildup in arteries are even found at high fat intakes.

The study was conducted in three separate populations of mice: one that was fed a balanced diet, one that was fed a diet resembling a "Western" diet high in saturated fat, and a third that was fed a high fish fat diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Researchers in Dr. Deckelbaum's laboratory, including Chuchun Liz Chang, a Ph.D. student in nutritional and metabolic biology, found that the fatty acids contained in fish oil markedly inhibit the entry of "bad," or LDL, cholesterol into arteries and, as a result, much less cholesterol collects in these vessels.

They found that this is related to the ability of those fatty acids to markedly decrease lipoprotein lipase, a molecule that traps LDL in the arterial wall. This will likely prove to be important as a new mechanism which helps explain benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on heart health.

Dr. Deckelbaum advises those interested in increasing omega-3 intakes do so by either increasing fish intake or by using supplements that contain the "long-chain" fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which are found in cold water fish.

The research was published February 5, 2009 by the American Heart Association's Arteriolosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Source: Columbia University Medical Center

Explore further: The nutrition behind good sperm

Related Stories

The nutrition behind good sperm

June 25, 2015

Males with low sperm quality probably won't get much help from dining down on fish oil supplements and a bag of carrots, recent aquatic-based research suggests.

Farm-raised salmon retains healthy omega-3s when baked

May 14, 2013

Nearly 85 percent of seafood enjoyed by U.S. consumers is imported, and almost half of that is farm raised through a process called "aquaculture," according to the National Aquaculture Association, based in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. ...

An animal to feed your eco-car

March 25, 2013

Researchers at the University of Bergen and Uni Research have found that a certain type of tunicate - ascidiacea - can be used as a renewable source of biofuel and fish food. This is particularly good news for the growing ...

Fish feed for sustainable aquaculture

November 26, 2012

Norwegian researchers have been leading an international effort to make aquaculture more sustainable. In 10 years they have revolutionised fish feed.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.