Dr. Evangelos C. Rizos of the University Hospital of Ioannina in Greece and colleagues performed systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the association between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and major cardiovascular outcomes.
Twenty studies were identified, which involved 68,680 randomized patients and 7,044 deaths, 3,993 cardiac deaths, 1,150 sudden deaths, 1,837 heart attacks, and 1,490 strokes. Analysis indicated no statistically significant association with all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, heart attack, and stroke when all supplement studies were considered, the study said.
"Treatment with marine-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for the prevention of major cardiovascular adverse outcomes has been supported by a number of randomized clinical trials and refuted by others," Rizos said in a statement. "Although their mechanism of action is not clear, their postulated effect on cardiovascular outcomes might be due to their ability to lower triglyceride levels, prevent serious arrhythmias, or even decrease platelet aggregation and lower blood pressure."
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were not statistically significantly associated with major cardiovascular outcomes across various patient populations.
"Our findings do not justify the use of omega-3 as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or guidelines supporting dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids administration," Rizos said.