High consumption of omega-3s ‘cuts obesity-related disease risk’

March 25th, 2011 - 3:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, March 25 (ANI): A new study has suggested that a high intake of omega-3 fats found in fish helps prevent obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

The scientists come to the conclusion after studying Yup’ik Eskimos in Alaska, who on average consume 20 times more omega-3 fats from fish than people in the lower 48 states.

Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in collaboration conducted the study with the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

The fats the researchers were interested in measuring were those found in salmon, sardines and other fatty fish: docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA.

Researchers analyzed data from a community-based study of 330 people living in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta region of southwest Alaska, 70 percent of whom were overweight or obese.

As expected, the researchers found that in participants with low blood levels of DHA and EPA, obesity strongly increased both blood triglycerides (a blood lipid abnormality) and C-reactive protein, or CRP (a measure of overall body inflammation).

Elevated levels of triglycerides and CRP increase the risk of heart disease and, possibly, diabetes.

“These results mimic those found in populations living in the Lower 48 who have similarly low blood levels of EPA and DHA,” said senior author Alan Kristal.

“However, the new finding was that obesity did not increase these risk factors among study participants with high blood levels of omega-3 fats, he said.

Lead author Zeina Makhoul said, “Interestingly, we found that obese persons with high blood levels of omega-3 fats had triglyceride and CRP concentrations that did not differ from those of normal-weight persons.

“It appeared that high intakes of omega-3-rich seafood protected Yup’ik Eskios from some of the harmful effects of obesity,” Makhoul added.

The study was published online March 23 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (ANI)

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