For the 720,000 Americans who have heart attacks every year, omega-3s may be key to protecting their hearts post-cardiac incident. New research, the first to include quantitative cardiac imaging to analyze results, shows how the fatty acids seem to lower inflammation and guard against further decline in heart function.
Results from the randomized, controlled trial was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego in March. The research was noted on sciencedaily.com.
“Giving a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids soon after a heart attack appears to improve cardiac structure and heart functioning above and beyond the standard of care,” said Raymond W. Kwong, M.D., M.P.H, director of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the study’s senior author, said in an ACC release. “Because this is a unique group of patients with remarkably high adherence to [guideline-directed] treatments for acute myocardial infarction already, we feel fairly confident that the benefits from this therapy are additive. The implications of this study could be fairly large,” he said.
Of the 374 patients in the study, the ones who took 4 grams of prescription-only omega-3 fatty acid capsules each day for six months after a heart attach were significantly more likely to show improvements in heart function compared to patients who took the placebo.
“Omega-3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory effects and also promote better cardiac healing,” Kwong said. “This is important because other anti-inflammatory agents, including steroids and NSAIDS, have failed to make a difference after myocardial infarction.”
This adds to the growing library of research linking omega-3s with heart health. A November study from Penn State University suggested that increasing the amount of omega-3’s in your diet, from fish or flax, will likely decrease the risk of heart disease.