Taking fish oil could decrease seizures in those who suffer from epilepsy, and a diet too low in salt may be just as bad for your health as high-salt diets, two recent studies indicate.
The studies were reported in The Natural Standard.
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Fish oil has two omega-3 fatty acids that are known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. Experts believe omega-3 fatty acids offer a variety of health benefits. They include a decreased risk for coronary heart disease and healthier cholesterol levels. Previous research has indicated that omega-3 supplements may promote better brain energy and overall health in those with epilepsy.
In a recent study, 24 people with drug-resistant epilepsy were randomly selected to receive low doses of fish oil, high doses of fish oil or a placebo every day for 10 weeks. Following a six-week washout period, subjects switched treatments until all of them received all of the treatments for 10 weeks, with six weeks in between. Seizure frequency was recorded during the duration of the study.
Researchers reported that taking a low dose of fish oil was linked to a nearly 34 percent reduction in seizure frequency compared to the placebo. In addition, consuming low-dose fish oil reduced blood pressure. But taking high doses of fish oil did not decrease seizure frequency or improve heart health.
Researchers said that taking low doses of fish oil could decrease seizures and improve the overall health of those with drug-resistant epilepsy. Officials said a larger-scale study is needed to further evaluate the results.
In another recent study, researchers found that having too little salt in your diet is just as harmful, if not more so, than having too much salt.
For adults, the proper sodium intake is 1.5 grams per day, with an upper tolerable limit (UL) of 2.3 grams per day. Most North Americans take in salt at levels much higher than is recommended. Experts believe that increased consumption of sodium salt increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. Too much sodium can also lead to heart disease, kidney disease and stomach cancer.
While there have long been concerns about salt consumption, sodium is needed to help nerves and muscles function – and for fluid and electrolyte balance.
That leaves a concern that some people may not be getting enough salt in their diets.
In the recent study, researchers reviewed urine samples from 101,945 individuals in 17 countries and worked to research the link between salt intake and the risk of heart disease-related problems. Salt intakes were estimated through urine sample measurements.
Researchers reported that those who consumed seven or more grams of sodium per day had a higher risk of death or health events related to heart disease. The link between high salt intake and death or cardiac disease was found to be highest in those with high blood pressure.
But those who took in fewer than three grams of sodium each day faced a higher risk of death or heart disease-related problems. Officials said this suggests a need to ensure that people do not decrease salt intake to extreme lows.
Researchers said sodium intake of between three and six grams per day can lower the risk of death and heart disease. Daily salt intakes that are higher or lower than this appear to increase the risk for death.