Omega-3 supplements do not protect against cardiovascular disease, meta-analysis shows

A meta-analysis of 79 trials showed that increasing long-chain omega-3 had little or no effect on death from all causes, cardiovascular deaths, cardiovascular events, coronary heart disease deaths, stroke or arrhythmia.

Omega 3 tablets

Increasing omega-3 intake does not benefit cardiovascular health, show the results of a recent Cochrane review[1]
.

The research included 79 randomised controlled trials lasting at least 12 months, most of which involved supplementation with long-chain omega-3, while others involved dietary advice to increase fatty acid intake. In total, the data included 112,059 participants.

A meta-analysis found little or no effect of increasing long-chain omega-3 intake on death from all causes, cardiovascular deaths, cardiovascular events, coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths, stroke or arrhythmia. There was low-quality evidence that eating alpha-linolenic acid-rich (plant-based) foods may slightly reduce cardiovascular events, CHD deaths and arrhythmia.

Lead author Lee Hooper, a reader in research synthesis, nutrition and hydration at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, said: “We can be confident in the findings of this review, which go against the popular belief that long-chain omega 3 supplements protect the heart.

“This large systematic review included information from many thousands of people over long periods; despite all this information, we don’t see protective effects.”

References

[1] Abdelhamid A, Brown T, Brainard J et al. Omega-3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018 Jul 18;7:CD012345. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub3

Last updated
Citation
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, September 2018, Vol 10, No 9;10(9):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205377