Omega-3 EPA linked to heart health

April 4, 2007 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Omega-3 EPA linked to heart health

According to Japanese researchers, people with high cholesterol taking statins may cut their risk of cardiac events by up to 20 percent by taking an omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) supplement.

Researchers from Kobe University followed over 18,000 adults with high cholesterol who were also taking statins (medication used to lower cholesterol levels, such as Lipitor), and randomly assigned half to receive a daily EPA supplement (1.8 grams).

After a follow up period of four and a half years, researchers found that the group receiving the EPA supplement had a 24 percent lower risk of developing angina and a 19 percent lower risk of non-fatal coronary events (such heart attack) than the group not receiving the supplement.

There have been conflicting findings on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids and heart health.  A recent meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal claimed there was no evidence linking omega-3 intake and heart health.  Other studies have linked omega-3 intake to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as joint health, behaviour, mood and certain cancers.   

These most recent findings, published in the Lancet, add to the growing debate on omega-3 fatty acids.  More studies are needed before solid recommendations can be made.

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