Fish Oil Supplements May Not Prevent Heart Trouble
By Steven Reinberg
Although previous research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help those who have already had a heart attack or suffer from heart failure, a new study finds that the supplements do little to prevent cardiac trouble in people who have risk factors for heart disease.
Italian researchers reported that omega-3 fatty acid supplements did not reduce death from heart disease or heart attacks or strokes in this vulnerable group.
“Contrary to the expectations, adding supplemental omega-3 fatty acids does not have any specific advantage in a population that is considered at high risk of cardiovascular disease,” said lead researcher Dr. Gianni Tognoni, from the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milan.
Tognoni said omega-3 fatty acids do seem to help prevent abnormal heart rhythms following a heart attack or heart failure. There appears, however, to be no value in taking the supplements to prevent heart disease, he added.
“Don’t trust too much on drugs that attempt to mimic lifestyle [changes],” Tognoni said. It’s the usual recommendations that really ward off heart disease, he said, including not smoking, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise.
The report was published in the May 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.