Although omega-3 fish oil supplements may reduce the risk of death following a heart attack, there is a lack of scientific research to support using these supplements to prevent heart disease in people who have not a heart attack, according to an advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA).
“We cannot make a recommendation to use omega-3 fish oil supplements for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease at this time,” Dr. David Siscovick, chair of the writing committee of the science advisory published in the AHA journal Circulation, said in a release. “People in the general population who are taking omega-3 fish oil supplements are taking them in the absence of scientific data that shows any benefit of the supplements in preventing heart attacks, stroke, heart failure or death for people who do not have a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.”
About 19 million people in the United States reported taking the supplement in 2012.
All trials that looked at the role of fish oil supplements in preventing cardiovascular disease were reviewed. The studies generally assessed the clinical impact of omega-3 fish oil on outcomes such as heart attacks, strokes and atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder.
“Scientific findings from the past two decades that focused on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases continue to show that among people who are at risk of dying from heart disease, the potential benefit of omega-3 fish oil supplements is still useful for people who have had a recent heart attack, which is consistent with the 2002 statement,” Siscovick said. “What is new is that people with heart failure also may benefit from omega-3 fish oil supplements.”
Fish oil supplements beneficial following a heart attack, AHA says
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