In the News

October 10, 2008

Omega-3 fatty acids and heart failure

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements (fish oil or flax oil capsules) are known to have many benefits, not the least of which is prevention of sudden death in people who either have known heart disease or are at high risk. But a recent study extended these findings to patients with heart failure, a condition in which the heart’s pumping action is weaker than normal, and which is present in millions of Americans.  In this study 6975 patients with known chronic heart failure were randomly divided into two groups (click here for more information on randomized controlled trials). One group was given 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids daily (the equivalent of two Trader Joe's omega-3 capsules - click here for more information on how to know how much omega-3 content is in each capsule), the other group received a placebo (an inactive capsule). They were followed for four years and at the end of this time the study showed that this simple supplement both saved lives and decreased hospital admissions. There were essentially no side effects from this treatment - 3% of patients complained of gastrointestinal discomfort, but this complaint was equally common in the placebo group.

This study once again shows the remarkable value of this simple supplement. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are inexpensive, effective, and have no serious side effects. For more information see the full article on omega-3 fatty acid supplements here.

GISSI-Hf Investigators. Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with chronic heart failure (the GISSI-HF trial): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2008;372:1223-1230.

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