Monday, January 30, 2012

Omega -3 - fatty acids and Heart Disease

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We know that Omega 3 fatty Acids , EPA and DHA, in Fish Oil  reduce triglyceride levels but do they reduce the risk of having heart disease.

There is one study done in Japan, Jelis Study (Japan EPA Lipid intervention Study) reported in Lancet 2007;369: 1090-8

 This study was included 18,000 patients with and without heart disease with total cholesterol of 251 mg/dl (6.5 mmol/L ) and LDL of 171 ( 4.4 mmol/L ) and randomized to a low dose statin alone or a statin plus 1.8 grams of EPA purified from omega - 3- fatty acids in fish oil and followed for an average of 4.6 years.
 Results ;
       Statin only group  --- ------------     3.5%  had a major coronary event
       Statin  plus 1.8 grams of EPA --   2.8%  had a major coronary event

A 19% relative risk reduction in the group receiving 1.8 gms of EPA

 There was a followup analysis of this study reported in Artherosclerosis 2009 may:204(1):233.
 This analysis looked at people in the Jelis study with elevated Triglycerides > 150 mg/dl and
  HDL < 40 mg/dl. In this higher risk group, EPA treatment resulted in a 53% relative risk reduction.

There is another planned study - REDUCE IT ( Reduction of Cardiovascular Events with EPA intervention trial ) that will specifically look at the effects of Triglyceride reduction  and cardiovascular risk. Hopefully this study , to be completed in 6 years ,will provide us with a more definitive answer .

For now , Omega 3 fatty acids , are still my first choice.

Have fun , Be Smart and Defeat Diabetes
David Calder,MD

Click on the link below to learn more about ," Fixing The 9 " and preventing heart disease.

Diabetes Office Visits- Helps You Prevent Heart Disease


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Your comments and questions are appreciated. David Calder,MD