Indoor Air Pollution and Fish Oil
According to a new study, daily consumption of fish oil supplements prevents a decline in heart rate variability associated with exposure to indoor pollution. Heart rate variability is a measurement of how much the intervals between heartbeats vary and lower variability is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death.
A normal heart often has varying intervals between beats, where the intervals can be shorter or longer. The frequency with which these variations occur are an indication of how well the heart is functioning. An unhealthy heart loses the ability to fine tune itself through these variations. Exposure to fine particulate matter, especially in the elderly, has been linked to reductions in heart rate variability.
In the current randomized, double-blind study, researchers gave 50 relatively healthy nursing home residents in Mexico City either 2 grams per day of fish oil supplements or 2 grams per day of soy oil as a control. The scientists also measured particulate matter both indoors and outdoors and noted how subjects’ heart rate variability changed in relation to an increase in particulate matter.
After five months, consuming two grams of fish oil supplements per day prevented a decline in heart rate variability that occurred after exposure to air pollution. Subjects who consumed soy oil, on the other hand, received no significant protection against impaired heart rate variability caused by indoor air pollution.
Romieu I, Tellez-Rojo MM, Lazo M, Manzano-Patino A, Cortez-Lugo M, Julien P, Belanger MC, Hernandez-Avila M, Holguin F. Omega-3 Fatty Acid prevents heart rate variability reductions associated with particulate matter. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Dec 15;172(12):1534-40. Epub 2005 Oct 6.
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