Moves to further investigate the impact of fish consumption on heart health have been undertaken in a new study by Edinburgh university in Scotland.
The study - funded by British Heart Foundation - will look at the way fish and fish oil supplements could help reduce inflammation of the arteries and break down the blood clots which cause heart disease.
Dr David Newby, a senior lecturer in Cardiology, commented: "People with a diet rich in fish, such as Eskimos, have a reduced risk of suffering a heart attack. This is likely to be due to the specific actions of fish oils and the research will look at the way this is achieved.
"We will look at the actions of both fish oil supplementation and increased fish consumption on blood vessel function. The benefits of simple changes in diet or the use of food supplements may provide a more acceptable and natural method of preventing heart attacks."
Patients who have suffered heart attacks and smokers with no history of heart disease will take part in the project. Cigarette smokers are particularly at increased risk of heart disease and have abnormalities in how their blood vessels work. Scientists will look at the effects of fish and fish oil supplements on the blood vessels and blood components.
The research will involve eating fatty or lean fish, or taking fish oil supplements, several times a week for three months. Fatty fish rich in oils include mackerel and salmon, whereas cod and plaice are decidely non-fatty lean fish.
Professor Sir Charles George, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation added: "I hope this study provides a greater understanding of how fish can benefit the heart and arteries and encourages more people to eat more fish and reduce their chances of developing coronary heart disease, the UK's single biggest killer."