Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Health – What’s the Updates?

Jul 26, 2021

Introduction
 

Cardiovascular health is the attention for decades since relevant diseases remain the major cause of death worldwide. While significant advances in medical treatments are available, we should always start taking care at the prevention stage, in which Omega-3 has been recommended all this while for cardiovascular health. However, this comes along with many debates. Facts speak louder than words, let us look into the latest scientific updates.

Latest Science Discovery Show Promising Cardiovascular Protective Effect
 

A review article summarized a total of 40 studies that focuses on determining whether supplementation with EPA+DHA (varied from 400 – 5500mg/day) helps reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, and the relationship between dosage and other predictors and the risk of CVD outcomes 1:
  Reported promising effectiveness of EPA+DHA supplementation in CVD prevention
  The protective effect appears to be better with increasing dosage, especially among those having high CVD risk
  Clinicians should begin to consider the potential benefits of Omega-3 (EPA+DHA) supplementation with 1000 – 2000mg/day dosages for  primary* and secondary** CVD prevention

*primary prevention = trying to prevent from getting a disease
**secondary prevention = trying to detect a disease early and prevent it from getting worse

 

Another literature review article published on how Omega-3 works to benefit CVD, which looking at the haemostatic system (blood clotting) 2:
  Daily supplementation of Omega-3 (minimum 4000mg) effectively inhibits platelet adhesion, hence reduce risk for CVD events
  There might be a possibility of using EPA+DHA supplement as supporting treatment on anticoagulation, which should be at least 2 weeks of minimum 4000mg/day
  For those with low omega-3 intake from food, at least 6 weeks of supplementation on Omega-3 is recommended to get the health effect

*Important remark: get medical advice before consuming Omega-3 at higher than indicated dose

 

A long-term (8-12 years) observational study was done on a large population (around 428k people aged 40-69 years old) with no CVD, to investigate the outcome of habitual Omega-3 supplementation3 :
  The general population with habitual use of fish oil is associated with a lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality and provide a marginal benefit against cardiovascular disease
  Those with CVD events (hypertension) get significant protective effects from the habitual use of fish oil
  Several suggestions are explained on the benefits for clinical outcomes of supplementation of Omega-3, such as beneficial effects on blood pressure, plasma triglycerides, and heart rate
The Wrap Up
 

From several scientific studies, we knew that Omega-3 supplementation still gives a promising effect on CVD protection. It should be continuously advised as supplementation for CVD primary and secondary prevention due to the improvement reported. Regular intake is always suggested, especially for those having higher CVD risk or already experiencing CVD. Furthermore, a high dosage should be medically recommended according to individual clinical conditions, with extra caution if taking blood thinning medicine.

References
 
  1. Bernasconi AA et al. 2021. Effect of Omega-3 Dosage on Cardiovascular Outcomes: An Updated Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression of Interventional Trials. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 96 (2): 304-313.
  2. Golanski J et al. 2021. Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Their Metabolites on Haemostasis – Current Perspectives in Cardiovascular Disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22 (2394).
  3. Li ZH et al. 2020. Associations of habitual fish oil supplementation with cardiovascular outcomes and all cause mortality: evidence from a large population based cohort study. BMJ. 368:m456.