Does omega-3 fish oil protect against heart attacks?

Does omega-3 fish oil protect against heart attacks?

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Minimized risk of heart attacks from omega-3 fish oil supplements?

Dietary supplements containing omega-3 fish oil are said to protect people from heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. This is currently the result of a meta-analysis of various randomized clinical studies.

In the current investigation by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that taking omega-3 fish oil as a dietary supplement reduces the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

What did taking omega-3 fish oil do?

The researchers found a link between the daily intake of omega-3 supplements and the reduced risk of most cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction and death from coronary artery disease. However, no benefit could be found for strokes. In addition, higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements appeared to cause even greater risk reduction. The meta-analysis provides the latest information on the effects of omega-3 supplements on the risk of several cardiovascular diseases. Significant protective effects of daily omega-3 supplementation were found in most cardiovascular diseases. The researchers seem to be dealing with a dose-effect relationship.

Previous results on the topic have been partially inconsistent

While observational studies have shown a link between fish consumption and lower risk of heart disease, the results of randomized controlled trials on this topic have been inconsistent. For example, two reviews published last year found no clear evidence of benefit. In the current meta-analysis, the total population included more than 120,000 adult people from 13 randomized studies worldwide. The meta-analysis also included the so-called VITAL study, the largest randomized study on omega-3 fatty acids to date.

Higher dose, higher impact?

The results showed that people who consumed omega-3 fish oil supplements daily were able to reduce their risk for most cardiovascular diseases other than strokes, including an eight percent reduced risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease death. The relationship was particularly evident with higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements. Although the public recommendations should continue to focus on regular fish consumption, a healthy diet for our heart and sufficient physical activity, the current analysis suggests that dietary supplements with omega-3 can also play a role, the researchers report. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Yang Hu, Frank B. Hu, JoAnn E. Manson: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease: An Updated Meta-Analysis of 13 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 127 477 Participants, in Journal of the American Heart Association (query: October 1, 2019 ), JAHA

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