Increased Consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Dementia and Inflammatory Disease

July 4, 2004

Increased Consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Dementia and Inflammatory Disease

NEW YORK — A panel of nutrition researchers will discuss the important role of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexanoic acid (DHA), in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases at a press conference on July 1, 2004, at Griffis Faculty Club at 525 East 68th Street, Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York.

The experts will also highlight studies showing that a combination of oral folate (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 can lower high blood plasma and serum levels of the amino acid, homocysteine, providing a protective effect against cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Panelists will include: Ernst J. Schaefer, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Senior Scientist and Director, Lipid Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition.

Research Center on Aging and Director, Lipid and Heart Disease Prevention Clinic, Boston, and a collaborating investigator of the Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA; Kristin R. Baker, Ph.D., Instructor, Clinical Epidemiology Research and Training Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; and Barbara Levine, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nutrition in Clinical Medicine and Director, Nutrition Information Center, Weill College of Medicine of Cornell University, New York, NY. Jeffrey S. Borer, M.D., Gladys & Roland Harriman Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, New York- Presbyterian Hospital-New York Weill Cornell Center, New York, NY, will serve as moderator.

In the past two decades, randomized trials have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids, principally the two major Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), significantly decrease mortality from cardiovascular disease. More recently¸ scientists have been discovering these fatty acids also may have a protective effect in dementia, as well as in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Schaefer will discuss the relationship of fatty acids to dementia (two-thirds of which is Alzheimer’s Disease). He will present recent data from the Framingham Heart Study indicating that an elevated plasma homocysteine level (>14 micromoles/L) is a significant risk factor for dementia (two fold increased risk). Moreover, he will discuss recent observations from the Framingham Heart Study indicating that top quartile plasma DHA levels (correlated with consuming 180 mg/day or more of DHA) are associated with about a 50 percent decreased risk of dementia prospectively.

Dr. Levine, who will focus on cardiovascular risks, has been studying DHA and its effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL (high-density lipoproteins) in overweight and obese patients with metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X – a constellation of any one or a combination of the following disorders: hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes mellitus and hypertriglyceridemia.

Dr. Baker will present studies on the relation of Omega-3 fatty acids to inflammatory disease, especially rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The conference is being funded through an educational grant from PBM Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Gordonsville, VA. The company has recently launched a new dietary supplement, Animi-3, available by prescription, containing 500 mg of pharmaceutically pure Omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 35 mg EPA), 1 mg of Folic Acid, 12.5 mg B6 and 500 mcg B12.