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Americas: Omega-3 intake lowers CHD risk

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EPA and DHA omega-3s reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to results of a meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings and sponsored by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).

Among randomized controlled trials (RCTs), there was a statistically significant reduction in CHD risk in higher risk populations, including:

– 16% in those with high triglycerides and 14% in those with high low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol.
– A 6% risk reduction among all populations in RCTs, a finding supported by a statistically significant 18% reduced risk of CHD among prospective cohort studies.

“The 6% reduced risk among RCTs, coupled with an 18 percent risk reduction in prospective cohort studies — which tend to include more real-life dietary scenarios over longer periods — tell a compelling story about the importance of EPA and DHA omega-3s for cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Dominik Alexander, lead author and principal epidemiologist for EpidStat.

Additional study details include:

– The study reviewed 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 16 prospective cohort studies, with 93,000 and 732,000 subjects, respectively.
– The study examined outcomes such as myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death and coronary death.
– The study compared the results of RCTs, which explore interventions under strict clinical conditions, to those of prospective cohort studies that are observational, and followed larger populations for longer periods of time.

“It’s also important that the observed risk reductions were even stronger in patient populations with elevated triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, two risk factors that affect more than one quarter of the American population,” said Dr. Harry Rice, VP of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for GOED.

“The results confirm that increasing omega-3s is a healthy lifestyle intervention that can contribute towards reductions in CHD risk,” added Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED.

“Remember that increasing omega-3 intakes is basically just improving the quality of one’s diet slightly, like reducing the amount of sodium or increasing your dietary fiber.”

“It is a simple, inexpensive, and achievable change that most consumers need to make to optimize their health.”

Study authors said further clinical trials looking specifically at CHD outcomes may continue to provide a better understanding of the promising beneficial relationship between EPA/DHA and CHD risk.

Current RCTs have varying durations, different baseline CHD status for study participants, and utilize several methods for patient selection and randomization.