Review of studies shows that Fish Oil supplementation reduces the risk of cardiovascular events and death

September 01, 2009

Common and often deadly cardiovascular events include heart attack, stroke, ischemic heart disease with angina, and sudden cardiac death. Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston published the results of a meta-analysis of 11 existing studies which included a total of 39,044 patients in the review. The studies linked Fish Oil Omega-3 supplementation with a lower risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events as well as lower mortality from all causes over the duration of 11 studies.

The researchers sought to determine whether supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for at least a year reduces cardiovascular events in both patients at high risk of cardiovascular death and those at moderate risk. High risk patients were defined as having been recently diagnosed with heart attack or heart failure, or receiving an implanted defibrillator, and those at moderate risk had stable atherosclerotic disease or high cholesterol.

The lead researchers, Drs Marik and Varon selected 11 studies where the combined dose of EPA and DHA in the trials averaged 1.8 grams per day, and the trials lasted an average of 2.2 years. Over follow-up, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 13% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease as well as a 13% reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death, an 8 % reduction in mortality from all causes, and an 8% lower risk of nonfatal cardiovascular events compared with the risks experienced by those who received a placebo. The reductions in mortality were mainly observed in studies that enrolled high risk patients, and the decrease in nonfatal cardiovascular events primarily occurred in moderate risk patients. The study is published in the July, 2009 issue of the journal Clinical Cardiology.