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Can eating fish lower the risk of strokes?

Can eating fish lower the risk of strokes?

Tuesday, September 27th 2011

People who eat fish a few times each week are slightly less likely to suffer a stroke than those who only eat a little or none at all, according to an international analysis.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish may lower stroke risk through their positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol, wrote Susanna Larsson and Nicola Orsini of Sweden's Karolinska Institute in the journal Stroke.

Their analysis was based on 15 studies conducted in the United States, Europe, Japan and China, each of which asked people how frequently they ate fish, then followed them for between four and 30 years to see who suffered a stroke.

"I think overall, fish does provide a beneficial package of nutrients, in particular the omega-3s, that could explain this lower risk," said Dariush Mozaffarian, a Harvard School of Public Health epidemiologist whose research was included in the analysis.

"A lot of the evidence comes together suggesting that about two to three servings per week is enough to get the benefit." Vitamin D, selenium, and certain types of proteins in fish may also have stroke-related benefits, he added.

Data for the analysis came from close to 400,000 people aged 30 to 103.

Over anywhere from a few years to a few decades, about 9,400 people had a stroke. Eating three extra servings of fish each week was linked to a six-percent drop in stroke risk, which translates to one fewer stroke among a hundred people eating extra fish over a lifetime. The people in each study who ate the most fish were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke than those that ate the least.

Mozaffarian's report separated the effects of different kinds of fish and found that people who ate more fried fish and fish sandwiches, not surprisingly, didn't get any stroke benefit.

But the research can't prove that adding more non-fried fish to your diet will keep you from having a stroke, Mozaffarian told Reuters Health.

People "could have healthier diets in other ways, people could exercise more, people could have better education that could lead them to see their doctors more," he added, all of which could decrease their risk of strokes.

Still, most studies have tried to take those other health and nutrition factors into account to isolate the effects of fish as much as possible -- and they suggest a cause-and-effect relationship, he said.
It's likely that people who start out eating no fish or very little probably have the most to gain by putting it on their plate more often.

"You get a lot of bang for your buck when you go from low intake to moderate, a few servings per week," Mozaffarian said.

After that, the benefit from each extra serving probably goes down.

Fatty fish such as salmon and herring are especially high in omega-3s, The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fatty fish in particular each week.

- Reuters

Sourced from

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following are all helpful for Stroke Prevention:

Hi Strength Q10 Absorb 6X 150mg
Fish Oil 1500mg Odourless
Enzo Brain Recovery Program
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Magnesium Complex
Ginkgo 9,000+
Circulate with Bioactive Ginger
Advanced Antioxidant
Cholesterol Manager

Related health information can be found here:

High Blood Pressure
Cardio Vascular Health
Circulatory Problems
Myocardial Infarction

Related articles can be found here:

CoQ10 and Heart Health
Estrogen-Progestin Associated With Increased Risk of Stroke and Dementia
Healthy Heart and Circulatory System
Higher Fruit, Vegetable Intake Associated With Lower Stroke Risk
Nattokinase and Improved Circulation
Stroke Risk Increased in Hypertensive Women Using HRT
Vitamin B100
Year Round Healthy Circulation With Garlicin HC

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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