Increasing omega-3 intake doesn’t appear to reduce risk for heart disease, stroke, or mortality, according to a new Cochrane review.
Researchers examined 79 randomized, controlled trials that included over 110,000 participants with or without cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomized to receive either supplementation and/or clinician advice to increase intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) or usual or reduced intake for at least 1 year. Most trials compared omega-3 capsules with placebo.
Omega 3s had little to no effect on mortality or adverse cardiovascular events. Increased intake of ALA, found in nuts and seeds, intake might slightly reduce risk for cardiovascular events, coronary mortality, and arrhythmias, but the authors estimate that 1000 people would need to increase their ALA intake to avert one cardiovascular event or coronary death.
They write: “In light of the evidence in this review it would be appropriate to review official recommendations supporting supplemental [omega-3] fatty acid intake.”
Cochrane review (Free abstract)
Background: Physician’s First Watch coverage of study showing no cardiovascular benefit of omega-3 intake(Free)