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American Heart Association Recommends DHA and EPA to Protect Heart
Columbia MD, 21 November 2002

Martek Biosciences Corporation today commented on the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Statement entitled "Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease," published in the November 19, 2002 edition of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The statement outlines the findings of a comprehensive report that examined the cardiovascular health benefit of omega-3 fatty acids from plant and fish sources, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The report concluded that consumption of such omega-3 fatty acids, either through diet or supplements, reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease. The statement refers to studies that have indicated the following to be associated with the intake of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Decreased risk of sudden death and arrhythmia.
  • Decreased thrombosis (blood clot).
  • Decreased triglyceride levels.
  • Decreased growth of atherosclerotic plaque.
  • Improved arterial health.
  • Lower blood pressure.

The statement concludes that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of heart disease and recommends that healthy individuals eat a variety of fish (preferably oily) at least twice a week. The statement cautioned, however, that fish intake "must be balanced with concerns about environmental pollutants" because some species of fish may contain significant levels of methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and other contaminants. Both the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency have advised that children, pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and nursing mothers limit their intake of certain fish. In consideration of the health risks posed by such contaminants, the authors of the statement conclude by stating, "The availability of high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplements, free of contaminants, is an important prerequisite to their extensive use."

Martek Biosciences Corporation has developed a vegetarian, contaminant- free form of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA. Martek's plant-derived DHA is the only DHA that has been reviewed by the FDA and cleared for use in infant formulas. This contaminant-free DHA is also available nationwide as an adult nutritional supplement under the trade name "Neuromins®."

Martek Biosciences Corporation (www.martekbio.com) develops, manufactures and sells products from microalgae.

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