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Omega-3s for Heart Health
Mar 29, 2018

Numerous population-based studies have found higher intakes of fish/seafood containing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been associated with considerably lower mortality rates from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. Several meta-analyses, which involve the combining of results from multiple human studies, have reported that supplementation with EPA/DHA can reduce the risk of coronary death by approximately 10 to 30 percent. The benefits of such omega-3 fatty acid supplementation over periods of up to five years (often in the range of 900 to 3,000 mg of EPA/DHA daily) against myocardial infarction and cardiac death appear to be particularly evident in those with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Further, a progressively lower risk of heart failure over an average follow-up period of 13 years has been related to increased intakes of EPA/DHA (approaching 700 mg/d).


There is evidence that the short-chain omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid [ALA]) from selected plant sources may reduce the CHD risk in those with low intakes of EPA/DHA (below 100 mg/d). Essentially all population and clinical studies which have supported the cardiovascular health benefits of increased intakes of EPA/DHA have been conducted in those subjects/patients who were consuming regular diets with significant amounts of ALA. Since higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids from fish/seafood and oral supplements predictably result in higher circulating levels of EPA/DHA, it is not surprising that elevated blood levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids have been inversely associated with the risk of sudden death.

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