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Fish Oils: No Benefit for Heart Attack Patients

Food safety & handling Politics +2 more

US - Omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in the organs of oily fish including salmon and sardines, didnt help heart attack patients prevent another cardiac event, a study found.

The report, presented today at the American College of Cardiology in Orlando, Florida, contradicts previous smaller studies that suggested a daily supplement may help ward off repeat heart attacks, strokes and death, writes Tom Randall for Bloomberg News. After taking a gram of purified fatty-acid supplements each day for a year, patients in the latest research, the biggest of its kind, fared no better than those who were given olive oil.

According to Bloomberg, the 3,827 patients studied also got the best recommended therapy for heart-attacks, the researchers said. Most of the earlier studies were performed when heart-attack treatments were less advanced, they said. New treatments for heart attacks are so effective, they may have overwhelmed benefits from the fatty acids, the scientists said.

“We saw no beneficial effect,” said Jochen Senges, professor of cardiology at Heart Center Ludwigshafen at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in a statement. “In patients who are already taking optimal medical therapy, cardiac event rates become very low and omega-3 do not further improve them.”

In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the supplements a “qualified health claim status” for preventing heart disease, allowing companies to advertise the benefits of the supplements based on evidence. An August study of fish oil to treat heart failure, a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to supply oxygen to other organs, found the pills reduced deaths by 9 percent.

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