Monday, October 02, 2006

Fish oil supplements may reduce heart disease risk more effectively than statin drugs

A large research review showed that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil were more effective than statin drugs in reducing the risk of death from heart disease.

A large research review published in the April 11, 2005 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine analyzed the effects of various dietary and drug regimens on overall mortality and mortality from coronary heart disease. Researchers reviewed 97 clinical trials that, in total, included 275,000 men and women. This analysis evaluated the risk of death as a function of diet, the use of lipid lowering drugs, intakes of omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish and fish oil supplements), and intakes of the B vitamin niacin. Statins (a class of lipid lowering drugs) and omega-3 fatty acids significantly lowered both overall mortality and death due to heart disease during the trial periods. When compared to controls, overall mortality risk was reduced 13% by statin drugs and 23% by omega-3 fatty acids. When the risk of death from heart disease alone was examined, statin drugs and omega-3 fatty acids lowered mortality by 22% and 32%, respectively. Omega-3 fatty acids did not reduce cholesterol levels significantly. As such, researchers suggested that their benefits may have been due to protection against heart arrhythmias and systemic inflammation.

Source: Effect of Different Antilipidemic Agents and Diets on Mortality, Marco Studer, Matthias Briel, Bernd Leimenstoll, Tracy R. Glass, Heiner C. Bucher, Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165:725-730.