herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Broken heart this Feb 14th? ... try fish

Meerkats at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire explore a giant love heart that has been introduced to their enclosure in time for Valentines day
Meerkats at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire explore a giant love heart that has been introduced to their enclosure in time for Valentines day

Eating oily fish has long been known to keep your heart healthy, but scientists have also found it can mend a damaged heart.

Diets high in omega-3 fatty acid foods could also help fix damaged blood vessels faster, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, a study has discovered.

Professor of nutritional physiology Parveen Yaqoob carried out the study by testing two emerging markers of cardiovascular disease which are of particular interest to researchers.

The first was endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which are stem cells made in the bone marrow that repair the linings of blood vessels when they become damaged.

Previous studies have found a higher number of EPCs is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

To test this the researchers introduced small amounts (3g per day) of fish oils to a group of volunteers of mixed ages with mild cardiovascular risk.

At the end of the eight-week period this study group increased their EPC numbers by up to 15pc compared to a control group, Prof Yaqoob found.

The second marker, endothelial microparticles (EMPs), are tiny circular vesicles which are shed when the lining of blood vessels is damaged.

Large numbers of these indicate a high degree of blood vessel damage and are associated with a greater risk of heart disease.

hnews@herald.ie

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