Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Alcohol and the Heart, Caffeine as Training Aid

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…omega-3 fatty acids may help with your heart's circuitry? In a study that included 5,096 men and women, associations between fish consumption and electrocardiographic measures of the heart were evaluated. Broiled or baked fish was found to be associated with a lower heart rate and better overall cardiac electrophysiology. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements were found to have a similar effect; however, fried fish did not. Omega-3 fatty acid consumption may reduce the incidence of sudden death and atrial fibrillation, possibly related to anti-arrhythmic effects. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2006; 48(3): 478-484)

…omega-3 fatty acids will help you lose weight? The University of South Australia monitored 68 overweight and obese subjects, divided into four groups, for three months. One group took small daily doses of fish oil and another was given sunflower oil. Both of these groups also performed moderate exercise for 45 minutes three days per week. Two other groups received either fish oil or sunflower oil but performed no exercise. The study found that those who took fish oil and exercised lost an average of 4.5 pounds over the three months. The groups that took sunflower oil and exercised didn’t lose any weight. “The omega-3 found in fish oil increases fat-burning ability by improving blood flow to muscles during exercise,” university researcher Alison Hill told Rueters. (“Australian study finds fish oil helps weight loss.” Reuters; July 28, 2006.

…alcohol may protect seniors from heart failure? The Cardiovascular Health Study documented the medical history and alcohol consumption of almost 5,600 senior citizens for seven to 10 years. Compared to those who drank no alcohol at all, seniors who drank 7-13 drinks per week had a 30% lower risk of heart failure or dying from cardiovascular disease. Those who drank 1-6 drinks per week lowered their risk by 16%. Before you start thinking 'the more the better,' the seniors who had 14 or more drinks per week did not lower their risk. A drink was defined by researchers as a 12-ounce beer, a 6-ounce glass of wine, or an ounce of hard liquor. Scientists hypothesize alcohol is beneficial to the heart because of its vasodialating properties. (“Alcohol may protect seniors from heart failure.” Health Alerts)

…caffeine is a good training aid because it allows you to train longer without getting fatigued? Researchers at York University in Toronto found in a double-blind study of 10 subjects that caffeine increased the time to fatigue during submaximal contractions. The increase in time to fatigue can be partially explained by caffeine’s ability to sustain calcium release in the muscle cells. Calcium plays an integral role in the quality of muscular contractions. (J Appl Physiol 2005; 99: 1056-1063

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