Study Finds No Benefit of Omega-3s for Heart Health?

September 22, 2010

'Low doses of omega-3 fatty acids did not significantly reduce the rates of cardiovascular end points,' wrote the author of a large-scale study on omega-3s published in the New England Journal of Medicine .

'Low doses of omega-3 fatty acids did not significantly reduce the rates of cardiovascular end points,' wrote the author of a large-scale study on omega-3s published in the New England Journal of Medicine .

From April 2002 to December 2006, 4837 patients with a history of heart attacks were enrolled in a 40-month cohort study known as the Alpha Omega Trial Group. One of four margarines'”containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), all three omega-3s, or placebo'”was added to each subject...s daily diet, and individual rates of major cardiovascular incidents were measured.

None of the three omega-3s resulted in a reduction of cardiovascular events compared to placebo. The biggest hint of improvement with omega-3 was identified in women who experienced a reduction with ALA that only 'approached significance.'

Such a long-term and large-scale study might send a bad signal about omega-3s, but hold your thoughts.

Since all of the involved patients had history of cardiovascular problems, the study...s author noted that 'The lack of an effect of EPA-DHA in our trial could be due to an improvement in cardio-protective drug treatment,' as all patients were reported as having been enrolled in prescription drug therapy.

The author went on to state that for cardiovascular patients who are receiving good clinical care and are at a low-risk of heart attacks, 'a beneficial effect of low doses of EPA-DHA is difficult to prove.'

The non-significant improvement in women from ALA may have even been due to change, wrote the lead researcher.

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