And they were just as effective as statin drugs, and offered a similar level of protection.
The study - the Japan EPA Lipid Intervention Study (JELIS) - is interesting on several counts. It exclusively involves Japanese people, whose fish intake is on average far higher than that in the West, and the researchers were testing at far higher levels of supplementation than have ever before been monitored.
They found that those who ate around two servings a week of fish were getting all the protection they needed against fatal heart attack. In fact, taking extra supplementation on top didn't offer up any more benefits.
But those who were also supplementing with 900 mg of EPA and DHA daily reduced their chances of developing non-fatal heart problems by around 19 per cent.
The study, which involved 18,645 participants with high cholesterol levels who were randomly given either a supplement or a statin, is the first to confirm that high dosages have a protective effect against heart disease. Earlier studies from the West were unable to find any benefit because they were testing at far lower levels.
(Source: Lancet, 2007; 369: 1090)
E-news broadcast 5 April 2007 No.348 [Subscribe]