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A team of researchers from the Germans Trias I Pujol Hospital and Research Institute (IGTP) and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) has shown that regularly consuming foods full of omega-3 fatty acids, from the animal and vegetable roots, strengthens the heart’s membranes and helps improve the prognosis in the event of a myocardial infarction.
To arrive at these conclusions, they used data from 950 patients. The omega-3 amounts in the blood of these individuals were determined when they were admitted to hospital to be treated for the heart attack. This dimension indicates, very accurately, how much of these fats that the patients had consumed in the weeks before the sampling, in other words, before the heart attack.
Incorporating marine and vegetable omega-3s into the diet of patients at risk of cardiovascular disease is an integrative strategy for improving both their quality of life and prognosis if they suffer a heart attack.”
Antoni Bayés, clinical director of Cardiology at Germans Trias
The patients were monitored for three years after being discharged, and the researchers observed that having high levels of omega-3 from the blood at the time of the infarction, which was consumed in the weeks leading up to the heart attack, was associated with a lower risk of complications. The results of the research have just been published in the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The Advantages of omega-3 fatty acids Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a sort of omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish. When we eat oily fish on a regular basis, EPA is incorporated into the phospholipids in the membranes of the cardiomyocytes, protecting them by a vast array of heart stressors. This enrichment of the myocardial membranes limits the damage caused in the event of a heart attack.
The major novelty of the study is that it also focused on a different omega-3 fatty acid, of vegetable origin, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This fat, which can be found in walnuts as well as soybeans and their derivatives, is far less well researched than marine omega-3s. The researchers observed that EPA and ALA do not compete, but are complementary to one another. While high levels of EPA are associated with a lower risk of hospital readmission from cardiovascular causes, higher levels of ALA are associated with a reduced risk of death.
Aleix Sala, a researcher in IMIM-Hospital del Mar and responsible for the blood testing, states:”The article is significant because it highlights the complementary (and non-competitive) effects of both forms of omega-3.”
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute)
Lázaro, I., et al. (2020) Circulating Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Incident Adverse Events in Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.08.073.