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Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of heart failure

June 27, 2012

Increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acids may significantly reduce heart failure risk, suggests a new data analysis from the US.

The meta-analysis included seven prospective studies involving 176,441 participants to evaluate a potential relationship between omega-3 fatty acid intakes or blood concentrations and the chance of heart failure (1). The study results indicated that participants with the highest blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) had a 14% lower risk of heart failure, compared to people with the lowest levels. The greatest consumption of fish was associated with a 15% reduction in heart failure risk: for every 15 grams more fish eaten per day, the risk of heart failure was reduced by 5%, and for every 125 mg/d increase in EPA and DHA intakes the associated risk of heart failure was decreased by 3%.

The researchers commented that EPA and DHA and fish have been linked to lower levels of triglycerides and improved blood lipid levels, which could favorably influence heart failure risk. In addition, both EPA and DHA have been reported to improved ventricular function, heart rate, and inflammation. Thus, EPA/DHA consump-tion could be added to the list of lifestyle factors and pharmacological agents that can be used for the primary prevention of heart failure, they concluded. National and international recommendations have consistently focused on daily omega-3 fatty acid intakes of at least 250 mg, but median intakes are about
50 mg/day.

References

  1. Djoussé L. et al. Fish consumption, omega-3 fatty acids and risk of heart failure: A meta-analysis. Clinical Nutrition. Published online June 2012.