Posted on Oct 02, 2019, 5 p.m.
Omega-3 fish oil derived from the tissues of oily fish is linked to a variety of health benefits including improving cardiovascular health. Supplements have become popular among those wanting to experience these benefits without having to consume fish.
Harvard University researchers conducted a comprehensive meta analysis of randomized clinical trials published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and found that those who received daily omega-3 supplements had a lower risk of heart attack, death from cardiovascular disease, and death from coronary heart disease compared to those who received placebo. Higher doses of fish oil were linked to an even greater decrease in cardiovascular risk, but fish oil supplements did not decrease the risk of suffering a stroke.
“This meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence regarding the effects of omega-3 supplementation on risk of multiple CVD outcomes. We found significant protective effects of daily omega-3 supplementation against most CVD outcome risks and the associations appeared to be in a dose-response manner,” said first author Yang Hu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School, in a university release.
An updated meta-analysis consisting of 3 large scale trials was conducted which included over 120,000 adults from 13 randomized worldwide trials: those who received daily omega-3 fish oil supplements had a lower risk of most cardiovascular diseases, with the exception of strokes, exhibiting an 8% lower risk of heart attack or coronary heart disease mortality.
Those given higher doses had an even more prominent association, suggesting that dosages above the usual 840 mg/day used in most trials may provide an even greater benefit for decreasing cardiovascular risk.
It may be possible that omega-3 fish oil has been underestimated as to what it can do for cardiovascular health in higher doses. Findings may be significant to the millions of people with cardiovascular disease events as even tiny reductions in risk could be enough to avoid heart attack and cardiovascular disease related death.
“Although public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, being physically active, and having other healthy lifestyle practices, this study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may have a role in appropriate patients,” comments senior author Dr. JoAnn Manson.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.