As detailed in a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials involving more than 120,000 adults.
The studies were designed to analyze the cardiovascular effects of daily doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements particularly on the risks of heart attack, coronary heart disease (CHD), CHD death, CVD, CVD death, major vascular events and stroke.
“This meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence regarding the effects of omega-3 supplementation on [the] risk of multiple CVD outcomes,” Yang Hu, the study’s first author said, adding that they found significant protective effects from daily omega-3 supplementation against most CVD-related events.
For their study, the researchers included three recent large-scale trials that increased the sample size by 64 percent. Among these trials was the VITAL trial, which is considered by experts to be one of the largest randomized trials on omega-3 supplementation to date.
According to the research team, their results showed that people who took fish oil supplements every day lowered their risk of CVD-related outcomes, with the exception of stroke. Daily supplementation also lowered the risk of heart attack and CHD death by eight percent, with high doses of omega-3s linked to greater risk reduction.
In addition, the researchers found that doses above 840 mg/day provide the greatest protective benefits.
“Omega-3 supplementation may have a role in appropriate patients,” senior author JoAnn Manson said, noting that it is particularly beneficial when combined with a heart-healthy diet and regular physical activity.
According to the researchers, considering that millions of people around the world experience major CVD events each year, even small reductions in their risk can help prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and CVD deaths. (Related: Can fish oil and curcumin prevent muscle atrophy?) (See more news about fish oils at FishOils.news)
Aside from heart-related issues and concerns, fish oil supplements have also been linked to the following health benefits:
- Optimal eye health
- Reduced inflammation
- Healthy skin and hair
- Reductions in liver fat
- Management of symptoms related to depression
- Management of hyperactivity in children
- Management of asthma symptoms
- Healthy bone development
Before buying fish oil supplements, experts recommend checking the label for dosage instructions and omega-3 concentration. These factors, experts say, help ensure the quality of the supplement you are planning to take.
A high-quality fish oil supplement, experts said, must have between 200 to 500 mg of combined eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per serving, and must be in the form of either triglycerides, reformed triglycerides, free fatty acids and phospholipids.
Despite the benefits and convenience offered by fish oil capsules and other supplements, however, eating whole foods will always be better for your health.
To get enough omega-3 fatty acids, experts recommend eating two portions of fatty fish and seafood per week. These include:
- Wild-caught salmon
- Lake trout
- Rainbow trout
- Arctic char
- Albacore tuna
Fish oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are scientifically proven to be heart-healthy fats. To decrease your risk of CVD and CVD-related death, include rich sources of omega-3s in your diet or take high-quality fish oil supplements.