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Plant-fish oil combination better for female heart disease prevention

Goole, UK, January 21/PRNewswire/ -- Combined fish (omega 3) and plant (omega 6) derived fatty acids are more effective for combating heart disease than fish oils alone according to a new study in women. (Effects of supplementation with fish oil-derived n-3 fatty acids and (-linolenic acid on circulating plasma lipids and fatty acid profiles in women 1-3: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (77, 1:37-42,2003).

The study using specially enriched oils from Croda (UK) was carried out at the University of Guelph, Canada and showed an estimated 43 per cent reduction in myocardial infarction risk over a 10-year period among women taking a mixture of 4g EPA and DHA fish oils with 2g GLA from plant oil.

In Europe, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and accounts for more deaths in women than men: 55 per cent of deaths in women and 43 per cent of deaths in men (British Heart Foundation).

Yet, according to Dr Claire Packer, scientist at Croda Healthcare, women are missing out when it comes to research into heart disease. She is called for more research: "Traditional heart protective benefits of the female hormone oestrogen are apparently being compromised by factors such as poor diet, obesity, diabetes and smoking and we need more research into how dietary supplements can reduce levels of risk in the female population."

In the month long study, thirty-one women were assigned to one of four groups: the control group took 4g of EPA/DHA fish oil alone daily and the other three received 4g of EPA/DHA with varying quantities of GLA.

At the end of the study, the group receiving 2g of GLA with EPA/DHA demonstrated the greatest overall reduction in heart attack risk factors with significantly reduced plasma triacylglycerol concentrations (-35 per cent), LDL cholesterol (-11.3 per cent) and non-HDL cholesterol (-14.4 per cent).

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