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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Meta-Analysis Finds No CV Benefit of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You mean eating fish fat does not prevent cardiovascular events?

Say it ain't so.
A new meta-analysis looking at the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in patients at high risk for cardiovascular events has shown that the supplements have no effect on hard clinical outcomes, including all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, MI, or stroke [1]. There was a trend toward benefit in the prevention of sudden death, but the reduction failed to reach statistical significance, a finding the researchers believe refutes any supposed antiarrhythmic-mediated effect of omega-3 fatty acids.

"The meta-analysis, taking into account the recent and previously published trials, showed that omega-3 fatty acids did not significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events," senior investigator Dr Moses Elisaf (University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece) told heartwire . "However, there was a trend toward benefit in terms of sudden death, about a 13% reduction, and myocardial infarction, about a 10% reduction, but the decrease was not statistically significant. So, we can conclude from this meta-analysis and other recently published trials that the effect of omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation in high-risk patients is rather low. They are without side effects, but without significant efficacy."

The study is published in the September 12, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some clinical guidelines, including those of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), recommend omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, either through supplements or dietary changes, after MI. Despite the recommendations, there is a large degree of controversy and uncertainty regarding the benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats on the risk of major cardiovascular events. Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved high-dose omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of high triglyceride levels in patients with overt hypertriglyceridemia.

Speaking with heartwire , Elisaf said few trials included in the meta-analysis used the high-dose omega-3 fatty-acid supplements, that being 2 to 4 g per day as approved by the FDA, so more studies are needed to study the benefit of using the high-dose supplements to lower triglyceride levels and prevent cardiovascular events. "We need more data to clearly define the role of omega-3 fatty acids in clinical practice," said Elisaf.
Still think they have any idea what they are talking about?

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