Increased intake of fish can boost good cholesterol levels

March 3, 2014
Image source: ValleyFoods.je

(Medical Xpress)—Increasing the intake of fatty fish increases the number of large HDL particles, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland. People who increased their intake of fish to a minimum of 3-4 weekly meals had more large HDL particles in their blood than people who are less frequent eaters of fish. Large HDL particles are believed to protect against cardiovascular diseases. The results were published in PLOS ONE.

The consumption of has long been known to be beneficial for health; however, the mechanisms by which fats and other useful nutrients found in fish work in the human body are not fully known. This new study carried out at the UEF provides new information on how the consumption of fish affects the size and lipid concentrations of lipoproteins which transport lipids in the blood. The increased their intake of in particular.

It was observed that a higher intake of fish increased the number of large HDL particles and lipids contained in them. Population-based studies have shown that HDL cholesterol - also known as good cholesterol - and large HDL particles are efficient in sweeping extra cholesterol off artery walls. Large HDL particles have been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, whereas small HDL particles may even have opposite effects.

Positive changes in lipid metabolism were observed in persons who increased their intake of fish most, i.e. in persons who ate at least 3-4 fish meals per week. The study participants ate fatty fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, herring and vendace. No added butter or cream was used in the preparation of fish. The study doesn't give answers to whether a similar effect would have been observed had the study participants mainly eaten low-fat fish such as zander and perch. Low-fat fish may have other health benefits such as lowering of blood pressure, which was observed in an earlier study carried out at the UEF.

State-of-the-art metabolomics was used in the study, enabling for instance a very detailed analysis of lipoprotein particles. The analyses were carried out by the university's NMR Metabolomics Laboratory. Traditionally, cholesterol is divided into "bad" LDL cholesterol and "good" HDL cholesterol, but this method allows the investigation of a total of 14 different particle classes. "People shouldn't fool themselves into thinking that if their standard lipid levels are OK, there's no need to think about the diet, as things are a lot more complicated than that. Soft vegetable fats and fish are something to prefer in any case," Postdoctoral Researcher Maria Lankinen says.

However, the researchers emphasise that a dietary approach to the treatment of increased overall and LDL cholesterol levels is important.

The findings are well in line with the Finnish nutrition recommendations encouraging people to reduce the consumption of red meat and to increase the consumption of fish and other sea foods. Further information on the health effects of fish will become available in the near future as results from the Alfakala project carried out at the UEF Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition become available. The study takes a more detailed approach into the health effects of fish- and plant-derived , and it studies the of fatty and low-fat fish.

Explore further: Fish derived serum omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

More information: Lankinen M, Kolehmainen M, Jääskeläinen, Paananen J, Joukamo L, Kangas AJ, Soininen P, Poutanen K, Mykkänen H, Gylling H, Orešič M, Jauhiainen M, Ala-Korpela M, Uusitupa M, Schwab U. "Effects of Whole Grain, Fish and Bilberries on Serum Metabolic Profile and Lipid Transfer Protein Activities - a Randomized Trial (Sysdimet)." PLOS ONE 2014

Related Stories

Fish derived serum omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

January 14, 2014
High concentrations of serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a University of Eastern Finland study published recently in Diabetes Care. The sources of these fatty acids ...

Low HDL-cholesterol—Not quantity, but quality

April 30, 2013
Many of the genes regulating the inflammation and immune response of the body are also associated with low HDL-cholesterol levels in the circulation, tells the recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland. ...

Dangerous methylmercury levels in sushi

November 25, 2013
Eating sushi can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent study showed that tuna sashimi contains the highest levels of methylmercury in fish-sushi, based on samples taken from across the USA.

Amount and types of fat we eat affect health and risk of disease

January 10, 2014
Healthy adults should consume between 20 percent and 35 percent of their calories from dietary fat, increase their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, and limit their intake of saturated and trans fats, according to an updated ...

Variety and convenience can help women boost their intake of fish

May 6, 2013
Women are often told to eat more red meat, yet Flinders University PhD candidate Lily Chan (pictured) says it is just as important for women to increase their weekly fish intake.

New analysis suggests whole diet approach to lower cardiovascular risk has more evidence than low-fat diets

February 6, 2014
A study published in The American Journal of Medicine reveals that a whole diet approach, which focuses on increased intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish, has more evidence for reducing cardiovascular risk than strategies ...

Recommended for you

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

July 18, 2017
Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found ...

Study: Eating at 'wrong time' affects body weight, circadian rhythms

July 18, 2017
A new high-precision feeding system for lab mice reinforces the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.