Omega-3s May Lower CVD Risk, New Meta-Analysis Finds

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Boston, MA—A new meta-analysis found that people who received omega-3 fish oil supplements in randomized clinical trials had lower risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) events compared with those who were given placebo.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital included in their meta-analysis three recently completed large-scale trials (VITAL, REDUCE-IT, and ASCEND), increasing the sample size by 64% over previous meta-analyses. The total population analyzed included more than 120,000 adults.

The researchers found that those who took daily omega-3 fish oil supplements lowered their risk for most CVD outcomes except stroke, including an 8% reduced risk for heart attack and coronary heart disease death. The findings also suggested that dosage above the 840mg/day used in most clinical trials may provide greater reduction in risk.

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A press release on the topic noted that several million people experience CVD events worldwide each year, and even a small reduction in risk can translate into hundreds of thousands of CVD deaths avoided.

“Although public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, being physically active, and having other healthy lifestyle practices, this study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may have a role in appropriate patients,” said senior author JoAnn Manson, chief of the Division of Preve.

Harry B. Rice, Ph.D., VP of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs at GOED, told WholeFoods: “The current results, from well-respected scientists, corroborate past research demonstrating omega-3s’ benefits for a range of cardiovascular outcomes. It’s particularly noteworthy that the results conflict with the findings from last year’s Cochrane Review that was used as the basis to discontinue discussions on adopting a Codex Nutrient Reference Value for EPA+DHA.”

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