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Omega-3 Fish Oil Linked to Reduced Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

Aug 02, 2016 08:01 AM EDT
Fish Oil
A new study showed that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the scarring in the heart following a heart attack.
(Photo : Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that consuming high dosage of omega-3 fish oil could improve heart function and reduce scarring, decreasing the risk of fatal heart attacks.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, suggests that omega-3 fatty acid helps in the reduction of inflammation in patients who have previously suffered heart attack.

"The omega-3 fatty acids seem to be preventing scarring of the otherwise healthy muscle that now has to overwork because of the heart attack," said lead author Dr. Raymond Kwong at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a report from Time.

For the study, the researcher recruited nearly 360 people who have recently experienced heart attack. The participants were randomly assigned to take either four grams of omega-3 fish oil supplements or a placebo pill for six months. The participants were asked to come for a MRI every two months to monitor the changes in their heart muscle.

The researchers observed that the participants taking the omega-3 supplements were 6 percent less likely to suffer decline in their heart function. Furthermore, participants who have the highest levels of omega-3 in their blood showed a 13 percent reduction in scarring compared to those with the lowest level.

Analysis of the of the blood samples revealed that participants taking the supplement have lower levels of inflammatory markers, suggesting that the fish oil might be working by reducing inflammation after heart attack.

People who survived a heart attack have parts of their heart starved of oxygen that can never recover again. Due to the compromised heart tissue, healthy heart tissues will start to compensate for the loss and worked extra hard. Overworked heart muscles promote the development of scarring that can restrict the ability of healthy tissue to function normally.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27.6 million adults in United States were diagnosed with heart disease in 2014. Heart disease is also accountable for 611,105 deaths in the same year.

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