Prevention not a cure? Omega-3 in heart disease

By David Anderson

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid Nutrition

Study reaffirms benefits of long-chain omega-3 for reducing cardiovascular risk factors, but not in its management.

A new meta-analysis has confirmed previous recommendations for using long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC PUFAs) to reduce heart disease risk factors.

However, the study published in Clinical Nutrition​, found omega-3 supplementation did not improve management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or associated complications.

The Spanish team behind the analysis reported that supplementation with at least 1 gram per day of omega 3 LC-PUFAs – either from capsules or marine products – provided a protective effect against cardiovascular risk in healthy adults who were either overweight, suffering from hypertriglyceridemia or hyperlipidaemia.

But contrary to previous findings, the analysis showed that people with existing CVD show no response to PUFA supplementation.

“The use of omega-3 LC-PUFAs for ameliorating CVD risk factors can be recommended. However, the administration of omega-3 does not seem to show any benefit for the management of CVD or associated complications,” ​concluded the Spanish authors.

Study details

The meta-analysis evaluated the scientific evidence, provided between 2012 and 2016, on the effects of taking omega-3 LC- PUFAs on cardiovascular risk factors including inflammation and oxidative stress.

It includes studies using of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) either singly or in combination.

Additional studies were included where omega-3 was used adjunctively to pharmacological treatment or vitamin supplementation, provided the design enabled its effect to be isolated.

The team aggregated this recent evidence from randomised clinical trials (RCTs) into an assessment of the impact of omega-3 LC PUFAs on CVD.

Source: Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.05.015
“Omega 3 fatty acids in cardiovascular disease risk factors: An updated systematic review of randomised clinical trials​”
Authors:Oscar D. Rangel-Huerta , Angel Gil

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