Eating Fish Fails to Prevent Heart Failure
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From Albertina Torsoli,

The study found no difference in the risk of developing heart failure between those who ate fish and those who didn’t.

Eating fish, shown in previous studies to promote heart health, failed to stave off cardiac failure in a study by Dutch researchers.

The analysis, which started in 1990 and involved 5,299 men and women over the age of 55 living in a Rotterdam suburb, found no difference in the risk of developing heart failure between those who ate fish and those who didn’t, according to a press release posted on the AlphaGalileo science Web site. The study will be published today in the European Journal of Heart Failure, the release said.

“Scientists and health authorities are increasingly persuaded that the intake of fish, even in small amounts, will protect against the risk of fatal myocardial infarction,” or heart attack, study investigator Marianne Geleinjse, from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, said in the statement. “However, there is no strong evidence that eating fish will protect against heart failure.”

Heart failure isn’t a one-time event like a heart attack. It’s a gradual weakening of the heart’s pumping power, leaving sufferers with poor circulation that leads to shortness of breath, painfully swollen legs and fluids that pool in the lungs. About 30 million people in Europe are affected with heart failure, the single biggest reason for acute hospital admission, according to the release.

The researchers set out to investigate whether the fatty acids and vitamins found in fish protected consumers against heart failure the way they seem to do against heart attacks. During the 11.4 years of follow-up, 669 of the people monitored developed heart failure, according the release.

Individuals had been asked to indicate the frequency, amount and kind of fish they had eaten, either as a hot meal, a sandwich or between meals. Fish consumption in the Netherlands is very low, on average less than one portion a week, the researchers said. A daily fish consumption of more than 20 grams a day, high for the group studied, led to no added protection against heart failure, the researchers said.

“Maybe higher intakes are needed for any protection against heart failure,” Geleinjse said.

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