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Eating more fish or taking omega-3 fish oil supplements can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, finding studies

(CBS NEWS / HEALTHDAY) Eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction,…

(CBS NEWS / HEALTHDAY) Eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, according to a few Harvard-led clinical trials.

The heart’s benefits of omega-3 fatty acids were found both in healthy people and in those with conditions that posed them at increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke or heart disease, found the two studies.

Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) found that healthy people who took a fish oil supplement suffered less heart attacks, especially if they were black or not regularly eaten fish.

Meanwhile, a purified form of omega-3 fatty acid reduced the risk of deaths from heart disease, heart disease or stroke in people with cured arteries or other cardiovascular factors, according to the results of the reduction of cardiovascular disease with the Icosapent Ethyl Intervention Trial (REDUCE-IT ).

The two studies provide strong evidence that omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, SARD ines or tuna can have a positive effect on heart health, says Doctor JoAnn Manson, director of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and lead researchers for the VITAL trial.

“We do not recommend that everyone in the world start to take fish oil supplements.” In terms of omega 3’s, it’s best to try to get more food, “Manson says.” If people are not going to eat fish, there may be some Benefits of taking a fish oil supplement. We recommend that they discuss it with their health care provider. “

Results from both clinical trials would be presented Saturday at the American Heart Association Annual Meeting in Chicago and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine .

For the VITAL trial, nearly 26,000 American men and women aged 50 and over were randomly assigned to take 1

gram of fish oil or 2000 international units of vitamin D daily or a placebo. The participants had no heart story problems.

The fish oil supplement reduces the risk of myocardial infarction by 28 percent over a five-year follow-up period, but they do not affect a person’s risk of stroke or cancer, researchers found.

“The lower risk of heart attack was found especially in those with low consumption of fish,” Manson said. “This group had a 19 percent reduction in all major cardiovascular diseases plus a 40 percent reduced heart attack.”

VITAL also found serious benefit from fish oil supplements for black participants, who had a 77 percent reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction.

“If confirmed in a follow-up study, it can point to a very promising way to reduce a health shift,” Manson said. Black tend to be at greater risk for heart disease than white and other racial groups.

The clinical trial found no health benefit of vitamin D, although it reduced the risk of cancer death by 25 percent.

Dr. Sati Bhusri is a cardiologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “This is a very important and impressive attempt. The result will have a lasting change in the prevention of heart disease,” says Bhusri, who was not involved in the studies. “A decrease in myocardial infarction this depth has not seen since primary prevention since the early trials of aspirin treatment.”

In the REDUCE-IT trial, another research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital tested the benefits of a pure and stable form of omega-3 fatty acid known as EPA.

The supplement, icosapent ethyl, is a prescription drug approved to reduce triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.

REDUCE-IT included more than 8000 patients who took statins to lower cholesterol and prevent either a first or repeated heart attack or stroke. About 7 out of 10 patients in the study had cured arteries, while the rest had diabetes and at least one other cardiovascular factor.

People taking icosapent ethyl had a 20 percent reduction in the risk of heart related death, a 31 percent reduction in myocardial infarction and 28 percent reduction in stroke compared to those receiving placebo, researchers found.

“The REDUCE-IT study sets a new standard for care for patients with elevated triglycerides and has increased cardiovascular risk despite statin therapy,” researcher Dr Deepak Bhatt, Executive Director of Intervention Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in the newsletter at the hospital. “This may be the greatest development in cardiovascular prevention since statins.”

There are many ways that omega-3 fatty acids could help heart health, Manson said. They are known to lower triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation, reduce blood clotting and help stabilize heart rate.

People interested in supplementing fish oil should discuss it with their doctor first, “said Dr. Helene Glassberg, Associate Professor of Clinical Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Medicine. She was not involved in the studies.

“It has a blood thinning effect. If you are on a blood thinner, this may not be for you,” says Glassberg.

Glassberg and Manson agree that the best first step would be to increase the fish in your diet. Eating at least two servings a week would be good, Manson said.

For someone who is healthy but seems to prevent heart disease, “is still at the top of my list of lifestyles,” says Glassberg. “Get it in your diet if you can, from omega-3 fat fish like salmon or sardines. This is the place to start because they are natural. This is the best way to get it and do not spend $ 30 on a bottle of dietary supplement on a health food store. “

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