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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hearth Health

The heart is always on the go, never resting, only slowing down at night and during times of great calmness, such as when meditating. The heart achieves this kind of continuous activity by being composed of cells that have a capacity to work all the time. If the rest of the body had this ability we would truly be supermen. The heart, though, does need nutrients. It is helpful to take certain supplements for heart health. Fish oil has been shown to reduce arrhythmia(1) and CoQ10 has been shown to help with congestive heart failure, among other problems.(2)

Researchers concluded: "Epidemiologic studies, animal studies, and more recently, clinical intervention trials all suggest a role for regular intake of dietary fish oil in reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Prevention of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death is demonstrable at fish or fish oil intakes that have little or no effect on blood pressure or plasma lipids. In animals, dietary intake of fish oil [containing both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20∶5n−3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22∶6n−3)] selectively increases myocardial membrane phospholipid content of DHA, whereas low dose consumption of purified fatty acids shows antiarrhythmic effects of DHA but not EPA. Ventricular fibrillation induced under many conditions, including ischemia, reperfusion, and electrical stimulation, and even arrhythmias induced in vitro with no circulating fatty acids are prevented by prior dietary consumption of fish oil. The preferential accumulation of DHA in myocardial cell membranes, its association with arrhythmia prevention, and the selective ability of pure DHA to prevent ventricular fibrillation all point to DHA as the active component of fish oil. The antiarrhythmic effect of dietary fish oil appears to depend on the accumulation of DHA in myocardial cell membranes."(2)

References
  1. Myocardial membrane fatty acids and the antiarrhythmic actions of dietary fish oil in animal models.
  2. Coenzyme Q10 as an adjunctive in the treatment of chronic congestive heart failure.

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