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Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

old message Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Cardiovascular Disease... Darrell Miller 11/11/05


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Date: November 11, 2005 09:32 AM
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Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cardiovascular Disease:
Numerous epidemiological and observational studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids enriched diets are associated with reduction of cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infraction and sudden death. Higher fish intake was associated with decreased incidence of coronary artery disease and cardiovascular mortality in several prospective cohort studies. Putting it in prospective, a minimum of one fish meal a week was associated with a 52% reduction of sudden cardia death.

Randomized clinical trials are adding to the evidence that omega-3s are beneficial in cardiovascular disease, especially from secondary prevention of myocardial infraction.

One of the earliest randomized clinical trials was the diet and reinfraction trial (DART). This trial was designed to examine the effects of dietary intervention in the prevention of secondary myocardial infraction. The subjects advised to increase their intake of oily fish had a 29% reduction in 2-year all-cause mortality. This ovservation lead to the hypothesis that omega-3 fatty acids might protect the myocardium against acute ischemic stress. A post hoc analysis of patients receiving fish oil supplements (900mg/day of EPA and DHA) suggested that the protective effect was attributed to omega-3 fatty acids.

Another randomized placebo-controlled trial of patients admitted to the hospital with suspected acute myocardial infraction showed that supplementation with 1.8 g of omega-3 (EPA and DHA) for on year decreased total cardiac events by 29%. Both total cardiac death and nonfatal myocardial infractions were also reduced by 48%.

The largest randomized clinical trial to test the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease is the GISSI-prevention study. From 1993 to 1995, 11,324 patients surviving myocardial infraction were randomly assigned either vitamin E (300mg daily, as synthetic-a-tocopherol), omega-3 fatty acids (1 g daily, standardized to 850 mg EPA and DHA), both or none. Compared with the control group, patients taking the fish oil showed a 15% reduction in the primary end point of death, nonfatal myocardial infraction, and nonfatal stroke. Patients supplementing with vitamin E online showed no benefit.

With this mounting data, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eathing at least two servings of fish per week (particularly fatty fish). The FDA has also announced a qualified health claim linking a reduced risk of coronary heart disease with the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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