Study: Omega-3 in fish can guard against heart attacks

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DENVER -- It’s a good idea to add plenty of salmon, cod and anchovies to your shopping list this week. Researchers say the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can guard against stroke and heart attack and even add years to your life.

A study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, utilized  blood tests and years of clinical exams to confirm that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk for heart disease and death in people over age 65.

The blood test tracked the levels of three different types of omega-3 in 2,692 randomly selected people (the average age at the start of the study was age 74) for 14 years.

The highest blood levels of the three kinds of omega-3, individually and combined, were associated with the lowest total mortality, as blood levels of omega-3 went up, the risk for death declined.

Denver cardiologist Richard Flanigan of Health Mark says the study confirms what doctors have been telling patients for years. “It prevents rhythm disorders and it's preventing clots. Clots are the initiation of all heart attacks and strokes.”

Dr. Flanigan also says omega-3 has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which can be good for joint disorders.

Researchers say to gain the benefits of omega-3 you should eat 400 milligrams per day, which is easier to get if each week you consume a 3.5 ounce serving of farm raised salmon, 5 ounces of anchovies or herring, or 15 – 18 ounces of cod or catfish.

While some doctors say fresh is always better, others say fish oil supplements will do the trick as well.

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