Heart Diseases Can Be Healed with Fat: Study Says

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By Indrani Bhattacharyya | July 24, 2014 2:34 PM EST

Most of us spend significant amount of energy and time thinking of newer approaches to shed some weight, to be healthy, to look better.

It is a known fact that too much of fat is not good for heart. But according to a recent study; it is not that all is bad about fat.

Fish carcasses from a massive fish kill in the Bayou Chaland area of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, September 10, 2010.

This work which got published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine states maintaining right kind of fat is necessary for a healthy heart.

Some of the unsaturated dietary fatty acids provide protection against cardiovascular diseases. Eicosapentaenoic acid commonly known as EPA is one such unsaturated fatty acid.

But the exact mechanism through which EPA protects against cardiovascular irregularities was not known before. Also there was not much information available about the specific fat metabolites which play a role in this process.

In this study, a group of scientists from Japan created engineered mice. They were genetically engineered in order to produce their own EPA.

It was observed that these mice were well protected against heart disease and they also showed improved cardiac function when compared to non-genetically engineered mice.

The report suggests that one particular EPA metabolite, known as 18-hydroxyeicosapentaenoic acid (18-HEPE) played most important role in this protection mechanism.

18-HEPE is produced by specific immune cells called macrophages, which dampen inflammation and fibrosis in the heart. Treatment with 18-HEPE confirmed its protective role as far as heart is concerned.

EPA can be provided though diet by consuming lots of oily fish or fish oil such as herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine. Also different types of edible seaweed are good sources of EPA.

It is known to be present in human breast milk.

Regular diet rich in 18-HEPE may prevent heart failure in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Further investigations are required to achieve clearer perspectives about this healing role of fat.

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(Photo: Reuters / /P. J. Hahn/Plaquemines Parish Coastal Zone Manage)
Fish carcasses from a massive fish kill in the Bayou Chaland area of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, September 10, 2010.
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