Increased Omega-3 Intake Linked to Cardioprotection

Study suggests that supplementing with EPA and DHA reduces multiple types of cardiovascular risk.

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Rochester, MN—Research study commissioned Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, provides “the most comprehensive analysis of the role of omega-3 dosage on cardiovascular prevention to date.” That’s according to a press release from Elsevier, which publishes the peer-reviewed medical journal. The meta-analysis, which is an in-depth review of 40 clinical trials, concludes that intake of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3 fats is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events and reduced risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), including fatal heart attack. As the release notes, CHD is the cause of 7.4 million deaths globally each year.

As outlined in the release, EPA+DHA supplementation is associated with:

  • 35% reduced risk of fatal myocardial infarction
  • 13% reduced risk of myocardial infarction
  • 10% reduced risk of CHD events
  • 9% reduced risk of CHD mortality

“The study supports the notion that EPA and DHA intake contributes to cardioprotection, and that whatever patients are getting through the diet, they likely need more,” said study co-author Carl “Chip” Lavie, M.D., a cardiologist at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, LA.

Adding an extra 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack even more, according to the release, with risk of cardiovascular disease events decreasing by 5.8% and risk for heart attack decreasing 9.0%. Researchers looked at the effect of dosages of up to 5,500 mg/day.

The release notes that this research corroborates the results of an earlier meta-analysis from Harvard School of Public Health. The total population analyzed in that research included more than 120,000 adults; this new paper represents the totality of the evidence to date and includes more than 135,000 study participants.

“When separate analyses arrive at similar results, that’s not only validating; it also underscores the science base needed to inform future intake recommendations,” said co-author Aldo Bernasconi, Ph.D., Vice President of Data Science for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), in the release. “Because this paper included more studies and all dosages, the estimates for a dose-response are more precise and the conclusions stronger.”

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Dr. Lavie’s take-home: “People should consider the benefits of omega-3 supplements, at doses of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day – far higher than what is typical, even among people who regularly eat fish. Given the safety and diminished potential for interaction with other medications, the positive results of this study strongly suggest omega-3 supplements are a relatively low-cost, high-impact way to improve heart health with few associated risks and should be considered as part of a standard preventive treatment for most patients with cardiovascular diseases and those recovering from myocardial infarction.”

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