August 23, 2005

Eating Fish May Cut Risk of Heart Problems

NEW YORK -- A relatively low level of fish consumption may reduce the risk of having a heart attack and other "acute coronary syndrome" (ACS) such as heart-related chest pain, according to researchers in Greece.

Dr. Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, of Harokopio University, Athens, and colleagues analyzed fish consumption among 848 patients who had experienced an ACS and 1078 similar subjects who had not.

The results are published in the International Journal of Cardiology.

After accounting for other potentially influential factors, fish consumption was associated with a 38 percent reduced risk of ACS.

Further analysis showed that fish consumption was tied to an 11 percent reduced risk of developing ACS among smokers and a 24 percent reduced risk among diabetics -- two groups with high risks of heart disease.

Interestingly, this apparent benefit was only seen when no more than 150 grams (about 5 ounces) of fish was consumed each week.

The lack of an association between moderate and high levels of fish consumption was "unexpected," the investigators note. "This observation could possibly suggest a threshold regarding the beneficial effect of fish consumption on (ACS) risk."

SOURCE: International Journal of Cardiology, July 20, 2005.