Taking omega 3 supplements may have little impact on decreasing risk of heart disease, strokes, and death, a new Cochrane systemic study found, upsetting previous notions regarding the supplements positive effects on the heart.
Alphalinolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the main types of omega 3 fatty acids.
The new systematic review published in the Cochrane Library is a combination of 79 randomized controlled trials (RCT) on 112,059 people that assessed the effects of taking additional omega 3 fat on heart and circulatory diseases.
The trials lasted about 12 to 72 months and included adults of varying cardiovascular risk – mostly in high-income countries - who look LCn3 supplement capsules and some taking LCn3- or ALA-rich supplements or enriched foods compared to placebo or a usual diet.
Findings showed there was little to no difference in all types of mortality, cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular events, coronary heart disease mortality, stroke or arrhythmia.
“Increasing EPA and DHA has little or no effect on all-cause deaths and cardiovascular events and probably makes little or no difference to cardiovascular death, coronary deaths or events, stroke, or heart irregularities,” the researchers wrote.
The study noted that the two slightly reduce serum triglycerides and raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
“Although EPA and DHA reduce triglycerides, extra omega-3 fats are probably not useful for preventing or treating heart and circulatory diseases,” they said. “However, increasing plant-based ALA may be slightly protective for some heart and circulatory diseases.”
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