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Meta-Analysis Validates Cardiovascular Benefit of Omega-3 EFA Consumption


A newly published meta-analysis sought to reveal whether marine omega‐3 supplementation is associated with reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study team included data from 13 trials. They specifically looked at rates of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease (CHD) death, total CHD, total stroke, CVD death, total CVD and major vascular events. They also conducted a meta‐regression to estimate the dose–response relationship between marine omega‐3 dosage and risk of each prespecified outcome.

During a mean treatment duration of five years, the data showed there were 3,838 myocardial infarctions, 3,008 CHD deaths, 8,435 total CHD events, 2,683 strokes, 5,017 CVD deaths, 15,759 total CVD events, and 16,478 major vascular events were documented.

In the analysis excluding REDUCE‐IT (Reduction of Cardiovascular Events with Icosapent Ethyl‐Intervention Trial), marine omega‐3 supplementation was associated with significantly lower risk of myocardial infarction. Inverse associations for all outcomes were strengthened after including REDUCE‐IT while introducing statistically significant heterogeneity. Statistically significant linear dose–response relationships were found for total CVD and major vascular events in the analyses with and without including REDUCE‐IT.

The authors concluded that “marine omega‐3 supplementation lowers risk for myocardial infarction, CHD death, total CHD, CVD death and total CVD, even after exclusion of REDUCE‐IT. Risk reductions appeared to be linearly related to marine omega‐3 dose.”


Hu, et al. “Marine Omega‐3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease: An Updated Meta‐Analysis of 13 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 127,477 Participants” J Am Heart Assn. 2019;8:e013543