Omega-3 fatty acids always benefit heart

March 12, 2008 at 3:54 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 12 (UPI) -- Omega-3 fatty acids may sometimes result in "fishy burp," but the fatty acids always benefit the cardiovascular system, a U.S. doctor says.

Dr. James O'Keefe of the Mid America Heart Institute in, Kansas City, Mo,. says several trials demonstrate the positive benefits of ingesting omega-3 fatty acids. However, the most compelling evidence for the cardiovascular benefit provided by omega-3 fatty acids comes from three large controlled trials of 32,000 participants randomized to receive omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing DHA and EPA or to act as controls.

"These trials showed reductions in cardiovascular events of 19 percent to 45 percent. Overall, these findings suggest that intake of omega-3 fatty acids, whether from dietary sources such as fish or fish oil supplements, should be increased, especially in those with or at risk for coronary artery disease," O'Keefe says in statement.

The researchers find little evidence of serious adverse effects associated with fish oil consumption. The most common complaints -- nausea, upset stomach and fishy burp -- can be helped by taking the supplement with meals, keeping fish oil capsules in the freezer or using enteric-coated supplements.

O'Keefe is among several contributors summarizing data on omega-3 fatty acids in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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