A medical practitioner, Dr Arikawe Adeolu, said on Thursday
in Abuja that excessive consumption of catfish could increase the
chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Adeolu, a practitioner at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja,
gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that catfish contained omega-6 fatty acids, which could increase the level of inflammation in the body.
He added that inflammation was the underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and diabetes.
He said that although catfish also contained omega-3 fatty acids,
which had a lot of health benefits, the ratio of omega-6 was far greater
than omega-3 fatty acids.
Adeolu said that this made it necessary for the fish to be consumed in moderation to prevent health complications.
“Catfish is rich in two fatty acids – omega-3 fatty acids and the omega-6 fatty acids.
“The omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the concentration of bad
cholesterol in the blood stream and increase the concentration of good
cholesterol in the blood stream.
“It also helps protect the heart and the cardiovascular system from
any form of disease, prevents inflammation within the body and helps
reduce the quantity or concentration of inflammatory substances in the
“The underlining basis for most cardiovascular diseases, diabetes,
cancer, Alzheimer disease and many other diseases that we know today, is
chronic inflammation, which signifies a long standing inflammation in
“This is where the catfish controversy comes in. A lot of reports
have advised against eating it and this is because although it contains
omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits, it contains more
omega-6 fatty acids.
“Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory in the sense that they
increase the level of inflammation within the body and make one more
predisposed to any kind of disease.
“When catfish features a lot in your diet, you consume more omega-6
fatty acids in your diet than the protective omega-3 fatty acids.
“Therefore, you are more predisposed to diseases if you consume a lot of catfish.
“The optimal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is
supposed to be four to one, but because the catfish is reared
artificially and is fed with synthesised food, the ratio can be up to
ten to one,’’ he said.