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Fish, omega 3 can reduce risk of heart attack, study finds



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MONDAY, November 11, 2018 – Eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement can reduce your risk of heart attack, according to a pair of clinical trials led by Harvard.

The heart benefits of omega-3 fatty acids were found in healthy people and people with conditions that put them at increased risk of heart attack, stroke or heart disease, both studies were found.

The Vitamin D and Omega-3 version found that healthy people who took a fish oil supplement had a lower heart attack, especially if they were black or not regularly eating fish.

Meanwhile, the omega-3 fatty acid purification form reduces the risk of death from heart disease, heart attack or stroke in people with hard arteries or other heart risk factors, according to the findings of Incident Reduction Cardiovascular with Iosbent Ethyl Intervention Trial.

Both studies give strong evidence that the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, sardines or asna can have a beneficial effect on heart health, says Dr. JoAnn Manson, the leading preventative medication at Brigham and the Hospital of Women in Boston, and leading researcher for the VITAL test.

"We do not recommend that everyone in the world begins to take fish oil supplements. In terms of the omega 3, the best thing to do is try and get more dietary fish," said Manson. "If people do not eat fish, there may be some benefits of adding fish oil. We recommend that they discuss that with their healthcare provider."

The results of the clinical trials were presented on Saturday at the American Heart Society annual meeting in Chicago, and will be published simultaneously at New England Journal of Medicine.

For the VITAL test, almost 26,000 US countries and women aged 50 and over were randomly assigned to take 1 gram of fish oil or 2,000 International Units of vitamin D every day, or fanbo. Participants did not have a history of heart problems.

Fish oil supplements reduced the risk of having a heart attack by 28 per cent over a five-year subsequent period, but did not affect the risk of a person with a stroke or cancer, researchers found.

"The lower risk of having a heart attack was found especially in those with low-fish eating," said Manson. "That group dropped by 19 per cent in all major cardiovascular events, as well as a 40 per cent reduction in heart attack."

VITAL also found an extensive benefit of fish oil supplements for black participants, with a 77 per cent reduction in their risk of heart attack.

"If that can be confirmed in a follow-up study, then it could point to a very promising approach to reducing health inequality," said Manson. Tenders tend to have a greater risk of heart disease than white and other racial groups.

The clinical test did not find a vitamin D heart health benefit, although it reduces the risk of cancer death by 25 percent.

Dr. Satjit Bhusri is a guardian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This is a very important test and this is a constant change in the prevention of heart disease," said Busri, who was not part of the studies. "Reduction in a heart attack has since not been seen since this has been inhibited since initial prevention since the early trials of aspirin therapy."

In the REDUCE-IT test, another research team in Brigham and the Women's Hospital proved the benefits of a pure and stable form of the omega-3 fatty acid called EPA.

The attachment, ethyl icosapent, is a prescribed medication that has been approved to reduce triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.

LLEWI-IT included more than 8,000 patients taking statins to lower their cholesterol and prevent either heart attack or first heart attack. Around 7 in 10 patients had the hard artery study, while the rest had diabetes and at least one other heart risk factor.

People who took ethyl icosapent had a 20 per cent reduction in their risk of heart related death, a 31 percent reduction in heart attack and a 28 percent reduction in a stroke, compared to those given in placebo, researchers found.

"The REDUCE-IT experiment sets out a new standard of care for patients with high triglycerides and who are in higher cardiovascular risk despite statin therapy," said lead researcher Dr Deepak Bhatt, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital, hospital news release. "Perhaps this is the biggest development in cardiovascular stomach since statins."

There are many ways in which omega-3 fatty acids could help heart health, says Manson. They are known to reduce triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation, reduce blood clotting and help stabilize heart rhythm.

People who are interested in taking fish oil supplements should discuss this with their doctor first, Dr Helene Glassberg, associate professor of clinical cardiovascular medicine in Penn Pennsylvania Medicine. It did not relate to the studies.

"It has the effect of thinning blood. If you're on attracting blood, this may not be for you," said Glassberg.

Glassberg and Manson agree that the best first step would be to increase fish in your diet. Eating at least two services a week would be good, says Manson.

For someone who is healthy but trying to prevent heart disease, "I'm still at the top of my list as a way of life," said Glassberg. "Take it in your diet if you can, from omega-3 fatty fish such as salmon or sardines. That's the place to start because these are natural. This is the best way to get and not spending $ 30 on a bottle of supplements on a health food store. "

More information

Harvard Medical School has more omega 3 fatty acids and heart health.

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