Diet-NutritionHeart DiseaseOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating fatty fish and the risk of atherosclerosis

The results from this study suggest that diet, rather than genetics, accounts for the two-fold lower coronary heart disease mortality in Japan than in the US.

First, the details.

  • 3 groups or adult men were studied.
    • 281 Japanese born and living in Japan
    • 306 Caucasians born and living in the US
    • 281 Japanese-Americans born and living in the US
  • Each participant was monitored for changes in the thickness of the carotid artery walls, coronary artery calcification, and fatty acid blood levels (triglycerides).

And, the results.

  • Japanese men had the lowest levels of atherosclerosis; whereas whites and Japanese Americans had similar levels.
  • Japanese also had 2-fold higher levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids than the other groups.
  • In Japanese men, higher levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids were associated with less thickening of the coronary artery.
  • Neither whites nor Japanese Americans showed this association.

The bottom line?
Dr. William Harris, in a MedPage review of the study thinks, “Decades of a moderately high omega-3 dietary intake may be the best way to slow atherosclerosis.”

8/2/08 21:38 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.