Oily fish such as Sardines are my number one, favorite “superfood” for preventing auto-immune, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Sardines rightly deserve their label as a “superfood” and are a great source of many commonly deficient nutrients including Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, protein, long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids(EPA/DHA), bioavailable calcium and selenium, iodine, Co-Enzyme Q10 and many others.
When you study the nutritional composition of oily fish such as sardines, it’s not difficult to see why they pack such a potent punch for treating and preventing autoimmune, neurodegenerative and especially cardiovascular diseases, according to scientific research.
Auto-immune, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases share many of the same common root causes, some of which include systemic inflammation, oxidative/nitrosative stress, hyperhomocysteinemia, lowered antioxidant status, mitochondrial dysfunction and micronutrient deficiencies.
In this article, I will explain the four main reasons, why I believe sardines to be an excellent “superfood” to consume for individuals with auto-immune, neuro-degenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Great Source Of Anti-Inflammatory Long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids(EPA/DHA)
Research has found that long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory properties.
Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate inflammation in the body through a variety of mechanisms, such as inhibiting the production of inflammatory producing substances such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes and cytokines.
Sardines are one of the best dietary sources of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA(docosahexaenoic acid).
A single can serving of sardines provides around 60% of the daily recommend intake for Omega-3 fatty acids.
Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved and their genetic patterns were established.
Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of approximately 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1-16.7/1.
Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects. 
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to support cardiovascular health through a variety of mechanisms, such as lowering triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure and reducing blood clotting.
Packed With Vitamin B12 – Essential For Homocysteine Metabolism & Methylation
Sardines are one of the richest dietary sources of Vitamin B12, which research has found to be an extremely common nutrient deficiency in individuals with auto-immune, neuro-degenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Vitamin B12 is one of the many nutrients required by the methylation process, for the re-methylation and breakdown of homocysteine.
Elevated levels of the non-protein amino acid homocysteine and hypomethylation function, due to nutrient deficiencies such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 and folate, have been implicated to play a role in multiple auto-immune and neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.
Homocysteine hasn’t only been shown to play a role in the pathophysiology of both auto-immune and neuro-degenerative diseases, but research also now considers elevated homocysteine to be a leading independent cardiovascular disease risk factor.
A single can serving of sardines provides well over 100% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamin B12.
A number of studies have now also found that vegetarians and in particular vegans are at significant risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia.
Rare Dietary Source Of Vitamin D3 – A Natural Immuno-Modulator
One can of sardines provides around 50% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin D.
A number of studies have now linked Vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of developing auto-immune, neuro-degenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Vitamin D3 has potent immuno-modulatory properties and plays a role in the maintenance of immune system homeostasis.
A study from 2013 published in the European Heart Journal concluded:
Vitamin D deficiency is a highly prevalent condition and is independently associated with most cardiovascular disease risk factors and to CVD morbidity and mortality.
Despite a large body of experimental, cross-sectional, and prospective evidence that implicate vitamin D deficiency in the pathogenesis of CVD, the causality of this relationship remains to be established. Most importantly, randomized trials of vitamin D therapy with CVD endpoint are needed to support a role for vitamin D therapy in cardiovascular protection. 
Boost Co-Enzyme Q10 Levels & Support The Mitochondria
Research has found that mitochondrial dysfunction and Co-Enzyme Q10 deficiency to play a role in the pathophysiology of many serious health problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and cardiovascular diseases/heart failure.
Increased oxidative/nitrosative stress, systemic inflammation and lowered antioxidant status, results in damage to the mitochondria, which eventually leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular energy disorders.
Co-Enzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like nutrient found in the mitochondria, which is heavily involved in cellular energy(ATP) metabolism.
Co-Enzyme Q10 is an extremely important nutrient for cardiovascular health and research has found Co-Q10 to be helpful for the treatment of many cardiovascular diseases such as CHF(Congestive Heart Failure).
Co-Enzyme Q10 has potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful for normalizing inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress disorders, which is part of the pathophysiology of heart disease.
Individuals with heart disease have routinely shown in studies to have lower plasma, tissue and myocardial levels of Co-Enzyme Q10.
Oily fish such as sardines are considered to be one of the best dietary sources of Co-Enzyme Q10. Once again vegetarians and in particular strict vegans are at risk of low intake of Co-Enzyme Q10, as animal food sources tend to be the most reliable Co-Q10 dietary sources.
 The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids.
 Vitamin D and cardiovascular disease: is the evidence solid?
 Vitamin D: modulator of the immune system.
 Coenzyme Q10 for the treatment of heart failure: a review of the literature
 Plasma homocysteine levels in multiple sclerosis.
 Alzheimer’s disease: still a perplexing problem
 Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is related to fatigue, autonomic and neurocognitive symptoms and is another risk factor explaining the early mortality in ME/CFS due to cardiovascular disorder.
 Mitochondrial dysfunction is a trigger of Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology
The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.