Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine have found that healthy people who eat fish with omega-3s or take fish oil supplements suffer fewer heart attacks than people who do not have omega-3s in their diet.
One study called The Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) found that healthy people who took a fish oil supplement suffered fewer heart attacks, particularly if they were African American or did not regularly eat fish. The fish oil supplements reduced risk of heart attack by 28% over a 5-year follow-up period. The study showed overwhelming benefit of fish oil supplements for African American participants, who had a 77% reduction in their risk of heart attack.
Another study, the Reduction of Cardiovascular Events with Icosapent Ethyl Intervention Trial (REDUCE-IT), found that a purified form of omega-3 fatty acid (EPA) reduced the risk of death by heart disease, heart attack or stroke in people with hardened arteries or other heart risk factors. The supplement, icosapent ethyl, a prescription medication, produced a 20% reduction in the risk of heart-related death, a 31% reduction in heart attacks and a 28% reduction in strokes, compared to those given a placebo.
Both studies show that the omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect on heart health. Omega-3s help lower triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation, decrease blood clotting and help stabilize heart rhythm.
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