Understanding fish oil and heart disease. Is fish oil good for heart disease treatment, or just prevention?

We’ve written about the fish oil heart disease link before. There is no doubt that increasing your intake of Omega 3 found mainly in fish oil can help prevent some types of heart disease and cardio vascular problems.

None other than the American Heart Association recognizes that and recommends minimum levels of Omega 3 intake for this reason.  Specifically the AHA, on their website, say that Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of arrhythmias, (which can lead to sudden cardiac death), can decrease triglyceride levels and decrease the growth rate of plaque in the arteries. They can also help lower blood pressure.

And of course that’s all good for your heart. It helps prevent heart related problems, and keep your heart healthier than it would otherwise be. It shows a clear fish oil heart disease prevention link.
Fish Oil and Heart Disease
However what about people who already have heart related problems? Is there some link between taking fish oil and heart disease treatment? Or is it just prevention?

A series of studies published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology of around 40000 people have shown that there is also a link between Omega 3 and heart disease treatment. The studies have shown that there are also reasons to use Omega 3 supplements, (or to eat a lot of oily fish) to help treat people with known heart related problems.

This is also recognized by the AHA, they recommend minimum levels of Omega 3 dietary intake on their website, and for those people with existing heart problems the minimum level is double that recommended for people with no preexisting, or known, cardio vascular problems.

The new results are found on the website of the Journal, published yesterday, and a good summary is as follows:

“Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid therapy continues to show great promise in primary and, particularly in secondary prevention of cardiovascular (CV) diseases. The most compelling evidence for CV benefits of -3 PUFA comes from 4 controlled trials of nearly 40,000 participants randomized to receive eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) with or without docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in studies of patients in primary prevention, after myocardial infarction, and most recently, with heart failure.”

So there’s growing evidence of the fish oil heart benefits.

It is important to note though that for anyone with known heart problems a doctor should be consulted before starting any regime of Omega 3 fish oil supplementation.

For those who are beginning to look for good Omega 3 supplements it’s worth reading our article on how we have chosen our preferred fish oil supplements.

For those wondering about how much to take, the Journal also provides these guidelines, which accord closely with those published by the AHA. For those without any known vardio vascular conditions, 500 mg per day. For those with known cardio vascular conditions, around 800 – 1000 mg per day, however it notes that there is still a need for more studies to determine the relative amounts of EPA versus DHA.

So if you’re looking to help prevent, or for that matter to treat, future or known heart disease problems, put some serious effort into investigating the properties of fish oil in heart disease prevention, and treatment.

Your life may depend on it.

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