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Heart benefits of omega-3 fatty acids may need a minimum dose

June 9, 2011

According to a new Canadian review, doses of at least 250 milligrams per day of omega-3 fatty acids are required to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death and other heart conditions.

The review and meta-analysis included eight prospective studies which indicate that increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a significant reduction in sudden cardiac death (1). The analysis showed that daily intakes of 250 mg of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were associated with a 35 percent reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death. In addition, such doses were associated with a near-significant 17 percent decrease in the risk of total fatal coronary events.

The researchers concluded that the intake of 250 mg omega-3 fatty acids per day may be a minimum target to be achieved by the general population for the promotion of cardiovascular health. In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommended a daily intake of 250 mg long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. In the US, the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans did not include specific EPA/DHA recommendations, but instead recommended consumption levels of seafood of 8-12 ounces per week, which provide an average consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA. In the interest of public health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) should consider the current data on health outcomes associated with omega-3 fatty acids, the researchers commented.

References

  1. Musa-Veloso K. et al. Impact of low vs. moderate intakes of long-chain n-3 fatty acids on risk of coronary heart disease. British Journal of Nutrition. 2011.