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Cardiovascular Health: Omega-3s Help the Heart

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cardiometabolic deaths in the US are estimated to be linked to low omega-3 intake, according to a 2017 publication.

Most Americans (95.7%) are below the cardio-protective levels of Omega-3 fatty acids(1) – without even knowing it. A 2017 publication reported that low omega-3 intake was estimated to contribute to 54,626 cardiometabolic deaths.(2) Similarly, a 2013 meta-analysis of interventional clinical trials found that 22% of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) are attributable to insufficient EPA/DHA intake, and that every additional 100 mg/day reduces the risk of coronary heart disease death by 5%.(3)

Read below about the many reasons to recommend omega-3s for your patient’s heart.

Reduction In Cardiac Death Risk

A meta-analysis published in 2017 showed that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3s reduced the risk of cardiac death by a statistically-significant average of 8%. The meta-analysis showed even greater — 17% — risk reduction in groups who had elevated triglycerides or LDL cholesterol. The greatest reduction in cardiac death rates—an almost 30% risk reduction—was observed in trials that utilized dosages of more than 1 gram of EPA and DHA per day. 

Reduction In Coronary Heart Disease Risk

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that EPA and DHA omega-3 consumption may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, particularly in higher risk populations – a 16 percent reduction in those with high triglycerides and a 14 percent reduction in those with high LDL cholesterol. These findings are particularly relevant for the management of CHD risk in the general US population because 25% of Americans older than 20 years are estimated to have triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or more and 27% of Americans aged between 40 and 74 years have LDL cholesterol levels of 130 mg/dL or more.

Blood Pressure Reduction

A meta-analysis of 70 randomized controlled trials found statistically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a risk factor for coronary heart disease. This is as effective as lifestyle changes, like increasing physical activity, and restricting alcohol or sodium intake.

Triglyceride Lowering

Twenty-one meta-analyses have demonstrated a 20-40% reduction in serum triglycerides with increased intake of EPA and DHA omega-3s.

Reduction In Atrial Fibrillation

While the role of omega-3s in the prevention or treatment of atrial fibrillation is not yet fully established, there does appear to be strong evidence suggesting a role in reducing post-operative atrial fibrillation.

Recovery Post-MI

Emerging research shows that omega-3s have the potential to improve heart function and support recovery following a heart attack.

Decreased Heart Rate

There is considerable evidence for the role of omega-3s in reducing heart rate as well as heart rate variability.

Healthy Blood Vessels

Omega-3s support healthy blood vessels by decreasing arterial stiffness and increasing endothelial function.