Fish, Soy Oils Benefit Heart Health

May 23, 2005

1 Min Read
Fish, Soy Oils Benefit Heart Health

Fish, Soy Oils Benefit Heart Health

ATLANTA--Supplementation with omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) from either fish oil or soy oil increases heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of cardiac function, in elderly patients, according to a new study in Chest</I> (127:1102-7, 2005). Reduced HRV is associated with increased mortality and arrhythmic complications in patients who have had a heart attack or those at high risk for heart disease.

In the current study, researchers from Atlanta, Boston and Cuernavaca, Mexico, established a baseline HRV for 58 elderly patients and then supplemented the patients for 11 weeks with either 2 g/d of fish oil or 2 g/d of soy oil. Patients receiving the fish oil, which supplies long-chain EFAs, experienced increased HRV within the first three weeks and posted a higher total increase in HRV over the course of the study. The patients taking soy oil, a source of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, took just over eight weeks to see a significant increase in HRV. Neither group reported significant side effects.

"Our findings contradict the current belief in the medical community that increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids produces only long-term cardiac benefits," said Fernando Holguin, M.D., the study's lead author and a researcher at Emory University. "Taking a daily supplement of fish or soy oil may help reduce the risk of suffering an adverse cardiovascular event, especially in persons with known cardiovascular disease or at increased risk for it."

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