Along with their many other benefits, omega three fatty acids, primarily found in fish, have now been found protective against the development of heart failure. (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2 August, 2011, pp. 160-170) In adults aged 65 years or older, the incidence of new onset heart failure was substantially lower in subjects with the highest blood concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids. Over an observation period of 10 years, people in the lowest quartile of fish oil concentrations had twice the risk of developing heart failure as those in the highest quartile.
Heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalizations in older adults, and one of the most common causes of death.
This beneficial effect of fish oil likely results from several factors:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased heart muscle elasticity leading to improved filling during the relaxation phase
- Dilatation of larger blood vessels, with lowering of vascular resistance
- Increased production of nitric oxide to dilate blood vessels
- Increase of HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering of triglycerides