Nutrition Business Journal

Omega-3's from Fish Helping Japanese Heart Health

Japanese men who consume a diet containing large amounts of fish may have fewer problems with clogged arteries than their American counterparts, according to a new study. 


The study found that men living in Japan had twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood and lower levels of antherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque inside the arteries).

The findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology compared men aged 40-49 from Kusatsu, Japan and Pennsylvania in the U.S. Interestingly, the study also included third and fourth generation Japanese Americans living in Hawaii. The findings indicated that the Japanese Americans showed many of the characteristics of men living in Pennsylvania. "Our study clearly demonstrated that whites and Japanese-Americans have similar levels of atherosclerosis, which are much higher than in the Japanese in Japan," said Akira Sekikawa, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Japanese eat about 3 ounces of fish per day on average, whereas Americans only consume fish about twice a week. “The death rate from coronary heart disease in Japan has always been puzzlingly low, our study suggests that the very low rates of coronary heart disease among Japanese living in Japan may be due to their lifelong high consumption of fish,” Sekikawa went on to say. More information on the study is available here.

NBJ estimates that the fish/animal oil supplement category in the U.S. grew 29% to $627 million in 2007 as Americans looks for alternate ways to increase their omega-3 intake.

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