Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is eating fish a big deal for heart health?

Contrary to popular belief and contrary to the sources cited in “Eating your way to a sturdy heart”, by Tara Parker-Pope in the 5/13/08 New York Times, the evidence that eating fish prevents heart attacks is not overwhelming. A 2006 analysis of the well-controlled studies to date concluded that at most, fish or fish oil might reduce mortality by 17%, not a huge effect (Mozaffarian D & Rimm EB 2006 JAMA 296: 1885). Of course fish is good for you in so many ways- it contains protein for healthy muscles & bones (yes bones), and vitamin B12 for energy and improved brain function with aging. Just don’t be cavalier about mercury and other contaminants in fish- they are likely to be a problem if you eat albacore tuna as suggested (stick to the cheap stuff) or farmed salmon (try to get wild fish).

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