Omega 3: The Super Supplement that Actually Works…
People who received omega-3 fish oil supplements in randomized clinical trials had lower risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) events compared with those who were given placebo, according to a new meta-analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Researchers found an association between daily omega-3 supplementation and reduced risk of most CVD outcomes, including heart attack, death from coronary heart disease, and death from CVD.
In addition, higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements appeared to provide even greater risk reduction.
First author Yang Hu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School, said: “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.”
While observational studies have shown an association between fish consumption and lower heart disease risk, results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been inconsistent.
In this new analysis, the researchers did an updated meta-analysis that included three recently completed large-scale trials, which increased the sample size by 64%.
The total population analyzed by Hu and colleagues included more than 120,000 adults in 13 randomized trials worldwide.
The analysis included the VITAL trial, the largest randomized trial of omega-3s to date.
The findings showed that people who took daily omega-3 fish oil supplements, compared with those who took a placebo, lowered their risk for most CVD outcomes except stroke, including an 8% reduced risk for heart attack and coronary heart disease (CHD) death.
The association was particularly evident at higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplementation.
Given that several million people experience these CVD events worldwide each year, even small reductions in risk can translate into hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and CVD deaths avoided, according to the researchers.