Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

DHA Fats May Provide Heart Health Benefits

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

DHA Fats May Provide Heart Health Benefits

Article excerpt

Updated dietary guidelines released in January 2005 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture mention for the first time docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid. The guidelines, which are issued every five years, represent the federal government's science-based advice to promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity.

The previous guidelines, issued in 2000, recognized that some fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are being studied to determine whether they might protect against heart disease; however, these guidelines did not identify these omega-3 fatty acids as DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The new 2005 guidelines recognize an association between dietary consumption of fatty acids and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease for the general population.

The new guidelines recognize that other sources of DHA may provide similar cardiovascular benefits, although more research is needed. They do not specifically recommend a daily intake of DHA and EPA other than mentioning that two servings of fish per week (about 8 ounces total) might reduce the risk of mortality from coronary heart disease. …

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