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EPA and DHA omega-3s lower heart disease risk: Study

EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids help reduce risk of heart disease.

By Amy Wallace
EPA and DHA omega-3s lower heart disease risk: Study
New study finds that taking EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. kamilla02/PixaBay

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A new study from the Mayo Clinic finds taking EPA and DHA omega-3s can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, or CHD.

Researchers examined 18 randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, with 93,000 subjects, and 16 prospective cohort studies with 732,000 subjects for incidences of myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death and coronary death.

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The study found that in RCTs, there was a significant reduction in CHD in 16 percent of people with high triglycerides and 14 percent of people with high LDL cholesterol in higher risk populations.

"What makes this paper unique is that it looked at the effects of EPA and DHA on coronary heart disease specifically, which is an important nuance considering coronary heart disease accounts for half of all cardiovascular deaths in the U.S.," Dr. Dominik Alexander, lead author and Principal Epidemiologist for EpidStat, said in a press release.

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"The 6 percent reduced risk amount RCTs, coupled with an 18 percent risk reduction in prospective cohort studies -- which tend to include more real-life dietary scenarios over longer periods -- tell a compelling story about the importance of EPA and DHA omega-3s for cardiovascular health."

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The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s, or GOED, funded the research.

"There are important public health implications related to reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, and therefore we are encouraged by the results of this comprehensive analysis," Dr. Harry Rice, vice president of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for GOED, said in a press release. "It's also important that the observed risk reductions were even stronger in patient populations with elevated triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, two risk factors that affect more than one quarter of the American population."

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Future clinical trials will look specifically at CHD outcomes to provide a better understanding of the beneficial relationship between EPA/DHA and CHD risk.

The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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