Tuesday, February 4, 2014. The results of a meta-analysis published on December 25, 2013 in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases reveals a reduction in the risk of dying from cardiac or any other causes among coronary heart disease (CHD) patients supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids in trials ranging from less than three months to 4.6 years.
Researchers at China's Nanjing University selected fourteen clinical trials involving a total of 16,318 participants randomized to receive a placebo and 16,338 subjects given the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and/or DHA that evaluated the supplements' effects on cardiovascular events, cardiac death, sudden cardiac death or death from any cause. Trials included patients with established coronary artery atherosclerosis, angina, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction and ischemic heart failure.
Participants assigned to omega-3 fatty acids demonstrated a trend toward reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events over the studies' follow-up periods in comparison with the control subjects. A separate analysis limited to those diagnosed with coronary atherosclerosis (before any occurrence of heart attack or heart failure) uncovered a 51% reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events in association with omega-3 supplementation compared to placebo. Additionally, supplementing with a higher dose of omega-3 (more than 1 gram per day) was associated with a 22% lower risk of major cardiovascular events. Those who received the fatty acids had a 13% lower average risk of dying from cardiac causes, a 14% lower risk of sudden cardiac death and an 8% lower risk of death from any cause over follow-up in comparison with subjects who received a placebo.
"An impressive feature indicated by our meta-analysis is that omega-3 PUFAs supplements in patients with CHD is associated with a significant reduction of the risks of death from cardiac causes, sudden cardiac death and death from all causes," Y. T. Wen and coauthors write. They remark that the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in coronary heart disease include improvements in lipids, blood pressure, cardiac and vascular function, prostanoids, coagulation and immunological responses, and recommend further clinical investigations.