Recent study points to the importance of omega-3 index targets in reducing the risk of negative cardiovascular health outcomes


In the study, supplementation alone did not have a significant impact on cardiovascular outcomes in patients who've recovered from mycocardial infarction. However, subjects taking omega-3s that had a 5% increase in omega-3 index did see better health outcomes than those who did not.

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A recently published study1 found that omega-3 supplementation six months after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) may have a beneficial long-term impact on cardiovascular health. In the study, called the OMEGA-REMODEL randomized clinical trial, 358 patients who had experienced an AMI received either 4 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids or placebo for six months. These subjects were followed for a median of six years. The primary outcome of the study was a composite of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) that encompass all-cause death, heart failure hospitalization, recurrent acute coronary syndrome, and late coronary artery bypass graft.

Results showed that the group of patients that received omega-3s did not see a decrease in MACE compared to placebo. However, researchers did find that subjects (n=43) that had an increase in the red blood cell omega-3 index greater than or equal to 5% after six months of treatment did have lower annualized MACE rates compare to those without an increase in omega-3 index. These results therefore indicate that a treatment strategy that aims to increase omega-3 index by 5% may lead to favorable outcomes after AMI.

“It is one thing to take an omega-3 supplement, but it’s quite another to taken enough to achieve a healthy target level in your own blood,” explained William S. Harris, PhD, one of the study’s authors, and president of the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI); founder of OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota.

“Maybe they were more faithful in taking their capsules; maybe they took them with food instead of on an empty stomach; maybe they have a genetic predisposition to better absorption/incorporation of EPA and DHA into their cells,” Harris added. “It’s not clear why some people did see an increase in their omega-3 index and others did not, but it appears that that’s what was most important in reducing their long-term risk for MACE.”


  1. Bernhard, B.; Heydari, B.; Adbullah, S.; Francis, S.A.; Lumish, H.; Wang, W.; Jerosch-Herold, M.; Harris, W.S.; Kwong, R.Y. Effect of six month's treatment with omega-3 acid ethyl esters on long-term outcomes after acute myocardial infarction: The OMEGA-REMODEL randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Cardiology. 2024, 399. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2023.131698
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