Study: Omega-3s lower risk of fatal heart attack

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine today finds that omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of dying from heart attacks.

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Researchers from around the world formed FORCE (Fatty acids and Outcomes Research Consortium) to pool findings for this 19-study meta-analysis, which included more than 45,000 participants from 16 countries.

After controlling for confounding factors, researchers found that blood levels of omega-3s from both seafood and plant sources were associated with a 10 percent lower risk of fatal heart attacks. Even more striking was that participants with the highest levels of blood omega-3s had a 25 percent lower risk of dying from heart attacks.

In an article for TuftsNow, lead researcher and senior author, Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said “For the leading cause of death in the world, lowering the risk by about 25 percent would be quite meaningful. At a time when some but not other trials of fish oil supplementation have shown benefits, there is uncertainty about cardiovascular effects of omega-3s. Our results lend support to the importance of fish and omega-3 consumption as part of a healthy diet.

Seafood is the premier dietary source of omega-3s, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans eat at least 2-3 servings weekly of a variety of seafood, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout and herring.