Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Omega-3 fatty acids don't improve heart's ability to relax and efficiently refill with blood

Date:
April 24, 2012
Source:
American Physiological Society (APS)
Summary:
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have well-established healthy effects on the heart. But a study suggests these heart-healthy effects don’t include improving diastolic function, the ability of the heart to relax and efficiently fill with blood.

Over the past three decades, researchers have firmly established that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have healthy effects on the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids seem to help both in preventing cardiovascular disease as well as in preventing future heart attacks, strokes, and other adverse events in people who have established cardiovascular disease. These findings have been so strong that the American Heart Association now recommends eating fish or taking fish oil as a preventive measure both for healthy individuals and those with cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanism behind omega-3's healthy effects isn't yet known.

In a new study, Zhaohui Gao, Robert P. Feehan, Lawrence I. Sinoway, and Kevin D. Monahan of the Penn State College of Medicine investigated whether part of omega-3's benefits might rely on improving cardiac diastolic function -- the ability of the heart to relax and efficiently refill with blood at each beat, which declines with age. Their findings show that taking an omega-3 supplement daily for three months didn't change diastolic function in older adults, suggesting that omega-3's benefits might fall on other aspects of cardiovascular function.

An abstract of their study entitled, "Three-Month Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Does Not Improve Cardiac Diastolic Function in Healthy Older Adults," will be discussed at the meeting Experimental Biology 2012 being held April 21-25 at the San Diego Convention Center.

No Effect on Diastolic Function To investigate omega-3's effects on diastolic function, the researchers recruited 11 healthy adults with an average age of 66 years -- a prime age group in which hearts begin to show signs of aging, including diastolic dysfunction. The researchers gave these volunteers, split nearly equally between men and women, echocardiograms to measure heart structure and function. This echocardiogram included traditional Doppler measures, as well as cutting edge tissue Doppler imaging and 2D speckle tracking imaging, two newer technologies that give more detailed views of the heart.

Over the next 12 weeks, these volunteers each took daily omega-3 supplements containing 1.9 grams EPA and 1.5 grams DHA. The researchers then repeated the echocardiograms.

Results show that between the first and second scans, the volunteers had no detectable improvements in diastolic function, says study leader Kevin Monahan, Ph.D., suggesting that fish oil didn't change this important parameter of cardiac health.

Keep Up the Fish Oil However, Monahan says, the results shouldn't deter people from taking fish oil or other omega-3 supplements for heart health. "I don't think there's any reason to stop taking fish oil based on our data," he says. "From a big picture standpoint, we know that consumption of fish and fish oil reduces cardiac disease risk and mortality. Just because omega-3 supplements doesn't improve diastolic function over 12 weeks in this population doesn't mean that these nutrients don't exert other important cardiac effects."

He notes that a longer trial may produce more noticeable results on diastolic function, or that omega-3 fatty acids may produce more profound effects on other aspects of heart function, preventing heart disease in other ways.

Diastolic dysfunction can be a harbinger of heart failure, Monahan says, causing symptoms including shortness of breath and severe fatigue with physical activity. Heart failure is a prevalent and expensive condition in the U.S., with estimated costs in the tens of billions of dollars.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society (APS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society (APS). "Omega-3 fatty acids don't improve heart's ability to relax and efficiently refill with blood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424162220.htm>.
American Physiological Society (APS). (2012, April 24). Omega-3 fatty acids don't improve heart's ability to relax and efficiently refill with blood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424162220.htm
American Physiological Society (APS). "Omega-3 fatty acids don't improve heart's ability to relax and efficiently refill with blood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424162220.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins