Something Fishy About Women and Heart Disease

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Women's Health, Food and Nutrition, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

For years, I've been informing people something fishy about women and heart diseasethat eating healthy fish and fish oils has overwhelming health benefits, such as:

  • reducing silent inflammation;
  • lowering  C-reactive protein in the blood;
  • preventing  sudden death;
  • prevention of all causes of mortality, including cancer;
  • easing depression;
  • stabilizing coronary artery plaque to prevent rupture; and
  • improving a whole host of medical conditions, including asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, ADD, and more. 

One 2004 study documented that postmenopausal women with documented coronary artery disease who had higher intakes of fish and essential omega-3 oils enjoyed reduced cardiovascular events and mortality.

Researchers decided to look at the association between fish intake and the progression of coronary artery disease in postmenopausal women.  In this moderately sized cohort of postmenopausal women (229 of them), their usual fish intake was estimated with a food questionnaire. 

Researchers used the goal standard of quantitative coronary angiography before and after the study and evaluated any changes in the blockages of the coronary arteries.  After performing more than 3,000 of these in his career, Dr. Sinatra can personally attest to the accuracy of such a study.

The results demonstrated that eating two or more servings of fish a week was associated with a significant reduction in the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in women with coronary artery disease. There reversal was particularly prominent in one group of postmenopausal women—those with diabetes. But what can you take home from this information? 

So, if you’re a diabetic postmenopausal woman with coronary artery disease, your bottom line preventative health measure is take a high-quality fish oil for plaque stabilization, and now for possible plaque reversal as well.  

This is one of the major reasons fish oil is a staple in my supplemental foundation program. If you have cardiovascular problems, fish oil can help protect you from rupturing atherosclerotic plaque, and will help prevent progression of your coronary disease. 

There is nothing fishy about this story! So try a little healthy fish once a week. Just remember to eat “healthy fish,” particularly wild migratory salmon, small halibut, scrod, cod, mackerel and Mahi Mahi to mention a few. Swordfish, tile fish, shark, and orange roughy should be avoided because of their high mercury content, as well as all farm-raised fish because of high mercury, insecticide, and pesticide concentrations.

You can also supplement your fish dinner with a daily high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you are a diabetic woman with heart problems over the age of 55.

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