A brand new meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials with over 120,000 participants has confirmed what many doctors and health professionals have been saying for quite a while now.
Omega-3 fish oil supplements help lower cardiovascular disease risk.
The researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital performed the study, the results of which are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Those results showed that people in randomized trials who received Omega-3 fish oil supplements reduced their risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) events when compared with the outcomes for those who got a placebo.
Researchers found a connection between daily Omega-3 supplementation and reduced risk of most CVD outcomes. Those outcomes included heart attacks, death from coronary heart disease and from CVD. There was no benefit noted regarding prevention of stroke, however. An interesting side note was the association between higher doses of Omega-3 supplements and greater risk reduction.
“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,” said first author Yang Hu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School.
Previous observational studies showed an association between fish consumption and lower heart disease risk. However, previous results from randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) have been inconsistent, with two reviews published last year failing to find clear evidence for benefit.
For this study, Hu and colleagues wanted to maximize sample size. They included three recently completed large-scale trials, increasing their sample size by a whopping 64%. Included in their sample was the VITAL trial, which was the largest randomized trial of Omega-3’s to date
The findings were clear. People taking daily Omega-3 fish oil supplements reduced their risk for most cardiovascular disease outcomes when compared to those who took a placebo. This included an 8% reduced risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease (CHD) death. Considering the fact that millions of people experience CVD events each year across the globe, even seemingly small reductions in risk translate to hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and CVD deaths being avoided, says Hu and the research team.
The association was particularly evident at higher doses of Omega-3 fish oil supplements. This suggests that exceeding the 840 mg/day used in most other randomized clinical trials may be the difference in reducing CVD risk.
“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.
It seems that this may be one supplement that does what it’s claimed to do. In an industry that seems to have far more outlandish claims than real results, that’s refreshing. It may just be lifesaving, too!
Keep the faith and keep after it!