Omega-3 supplements do not prevent heart disease

Researchers have found there is no link between omega 3 supplements and increased heart health.

Omega 3 supplements do not lower a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, or death, according to a new study in the Cochrane systematic review.

Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of fat that, in small doses, are essential for proper health. They exist in many common foods through substances like alphalinolenic acid (ALA)  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

While humans eat the acids naturally, people around the world promote the increased consumption of omega 3 fatty acids because of the common belief that they protect people from heart disease.

However, researchers from Cochrane found that is not true.

The team reached that conclusion by analyzing the results of 79 randomized trials involving 112,059 people that assessed how much consuming extra omega 3 fats affected both heart disease and circulation.

All of the studies analyzed men and women — some healthy and some not — from North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. During the trial, the subjects were randomly assigned omega 3 fats to maintain their usual intake for at least a year.

That revealed increasing long-chain omega 3 intake provides little or no health benefits. The team also found that the death risk in people who increased their omega 3 intake was 8.8 percent, barely lower than the 9 percent death risk for people in the control group.

In addition, taking long-chain omega 3 fat supplements did not change the risk for stroke, heart irregularities, cardiovascular events, coronary heart deaths, or coronary heart disease events.

That is a strong link that shows the supplements are not as helpful as many believe.

“We can be confident in the findings of this review which go against the popular belief that long-chain omega-3 supplements protect the heart,” said study co-author Lee Hooper, a researcher from the University of East Anglia, according to Science Daily.“This large systematic review included information from many thousands of people over long periods. Despite all this information, we don’t see protective effects.”

The team hopes that the new findings will make people think twice before taking supplements. While certain ones can be beneficial, the team states that healthy foods are a much better option for those looking to increase their heart health.

“Such supplements come with a significant cost, so my advice to anyone buying them in the hope that they reduce the risk of heart disease, I’d advise them to spend their money on vegetables instead,” said Tim Chico, a cardiologist from Sheffield University who was not involved in the study, according to BBC News.

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