Summary

Observational studies across various populations with different dietary habits support the notion that moderate consumption of fish exerts a protective effect on death from MI or sudden cardiac arrest. Dietary intervention trials demonstrate the efficacy of marine n-3 fatty acids on acute MI death in patients at high risk of or previously diagnosed with MI. Experimental studies in animals and biomarker studies in humans have indicated that the protective effect of fish on acute MI mortality is likely due to the marine n-3 fatty acids in seafood through their anti-arrhythmic properties. If the observed protection of moderate fish consumption on MI mortality is real, the public health implication of such an intervention could be substantial. In 1998, approximately 456,000 deaths in the U.S. were due to acute MI.48 At present, only about 15% of adult Americans eat more than one serving of fish per week.4 Our findings suggest that if this percentage of fish consumption increases to 50% in adult Americans, the result could be approximately 55,000 fewer deaths from acute MI alone in the U.S. annually.

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