February 6, 2009

Fish body oils remove fat from aorta

U.S. researchers found that a diet rich in fish oils can prevent the accumulation of fat in the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart.

Columbia University Medical Center researchers said that eating tuna, sardines, salmon and other so-called cold water fish appears to protect people against clogged arteries.

The researchers team led by Dr. Richard J. Deckelbaum said that omega-3 fatty acids can also lower triglycerides, a type of fat often found in the bloodstream.

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 one that was fed a high fish fat diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

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

The researchers 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.

The findings are published in the journal Arteriolosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.