My Patients Ask — Do fish oil supplements prevent heart or cardiovascular disease?

The short answer for most patients, even those at high risk for cardiovascular disease is, unfortunately, “No,” according to several very large and well-performed studies.

Results of a post-hoc analysis of the STRENGTH trial, presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, found increased blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) a year post-supplementation with daily omega-3 carboxylic acid (fish oil containing EPA and DHA) were not tied to lower cardiovascular risk.

The findings were similar to neutral results seen in three other large studies, the VITAL, ASCEND, and ORIGIN trials, which used lower-dose omega-3 fatty acids.

In other words, according to one of the researchers, “The findings do not support the use of omega-3 carboxylic acid (fish oil combining EPA and DHA) for patients at high CV risk.” Even worse, he noted, “Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was also associated with elevated risk for atrial fibrillation.”

However, fish oil supplements with a pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acid-containing EPA but not DHA (icosapent ethyl, Vascepa, Amarin Pharmaceuticals) has been shown in two randomized-controlled trials to be superior to placebo for reducing risk for cardiovascular disease, especially in patients with high levels of triglycerides (TG).

The results were also published in JAMA Cardiology.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.


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