Two fish servings a week more helpful in preventing heart attack risk than omega-3

Heart Attack

American Heart Association in a recent research reveals that omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements might not help to lower the risk of heart problems in people suffering from heart diseases for a long period of time and are at a high risk.

Experts state that two servings of fish a week is more helpful than taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Previous research claimed omega-3 to be helpful in lowering the risk of heart attacks, fats in the blood and artery clogging. In the current study, however, the positive effects of omega-3 dietary supplements preventing heart diseases have been ruled out.

For the current study, researchers studied the data of 77,917 participants aged 64 years on average with a history of heart diseases or health problems like diabetes. Most of the participants were randomly given omega-3 fatty acid supplements or a placebo or a dummy pill for one year and were monitored thoroughly for an average of 4.4 years.

2,695 people (3.5 percent) died from heart disease, 2,276 (2.9 percent) suffered nonfatal heart attacks, 1,713 (2.2 percent) had strokes while 6,603 (8.5 percent) had to undergo surgery to reopen the clogged arteries. JAMA Cardiology reports that the outcomes were same whether or not people took omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Senior study author Robert Clarke, a public health researcher at the University Of Oxford, UK states that the results showed no beneficiary effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Also, results do not support the current guidelines of the American Heart Association that supports the fact that patients with prior heart diseases can be cured by taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

The trials had different doses and combinations of two omega-3s: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). People took the supplements for one to six years. One of the drawbacks of the study was the randomized trials and lack of data on the smoking habits and cancer history which can definitely be the cause of developing heart disease or death.

Carl Lavie, medical director of the cardiac rehabilitation programme and preventive cardiology, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana said that although there is not much evidence suggesting the fact that omega-3 supplements can prevent heart diseases, patients still find it to be a better option as they are inexpensive and does not have side effects. People taking omega-3 supplements for a long time should not stop as it has other health benefits beyond just preventing heart risks.

"In addition to maintaining a healthy body weight, habitually engaging in physical activity, and not smoking, consumers should regularly eat fatty fish as part of a well-balanced diet or supplement their diets with a high-quality omega-3 supplement," said Dominik Alexander, researcher at the EpidStat Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan.