Tuesday, 20 October 2015

What’s best for Cardiovascular Diseases?




First published in International Aquafeed, September-October 2015

In my May/June article, some of the latest data on the functionality of statins and fish lipids against Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) were given. The story goes on and some related developments are given below. 



In the US, an FDA advisory panel has voted at the beginning of June to recommend approval of two new injectable cholesterol-lowering drugs that work differently than statins. These two drugs, Praluent by the drug company Sanofi and Repatha from Amgen, are a class of drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors. These drugs block the PCSK9 protein in the blood, which allows the body to more effectively reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol.
      
Two articles claiming cholesterol-reducing statins may be unsafe are to be investigated and could be retracted by the British Medical Journal. The authors have withdrawn figures suggesting up to 20 percent of users would suffer harmful side effects such as liver disease and kidney problems.

Given that about seven million people in the UK at risk of heart disease are prescribed statins, experts fear the articles, which were widely reported in October 2014, will have discouraged people from taking them. British Medical Journal (BMJ) editor-in-chief Dr Fiona Godlee said last May it was publicising the withdrawal of the sideeffects figures "so that patients who could benefit from statins are not wrongly deterred from starting or continuing treatment because of exaggerated concerns over side effects". But the scientific question: how severe are the real side effects of statins?

On the other front, for example, the one of consuming fish instead of statins, the news is encouraging:

Eating fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel, at least three to four times a week has been shown to boost levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lessen the risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the journal PLoS One.

In a relevant recent research announcement, Australian researchers have found that fish oil supplements do not protect against heart disease with the evidence suggesting that eating fish is of greater benefit to the heart. Researchers examined the benefit of fish oil supplements for the hearts of healthy people and those who have had a heart attack and are taking the supplement to prevent further episodes.

The study, which has been published in the Heart, Lung and Circulation Journal, has prompted the National Heart Foundation to review its guidelines on fish and fish oil supplements. The Foundation said it shows higher fish intake is consistently associated with lower rates of sudden cardiac death, stroke, heart failure and heart attack. It is urging all Australians to eat two to three servings of fish a week, including oily fish.

The evidence is clear and the news for the Aquaculture society is rosy! Eating fish protects better against CVDs (and without side effects) than any current drug at the moment! Plus, fish has a pleasant flavour!





Ioannis Zabetakis
 
@yanzabet      

Read the magazine HERE.

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