Omega-3: Fishing Out the Recent Evidence

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH


June 04, 2013

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Hello. This is Dr. JoAnn Manson, Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. I'd like to talk today about the recent confusing reports on omega-3 fish oil. Is there a way for us to make sense of these recent studies that seem to be at odds with earlier evidence that suggested cardioprotection from omega-3 fatty acids? Have omegas-3 fatty acids lost their luster, or are there other explanations for these recent findings?

There are several mechanisms through which omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cardiovascular disease, including reducing inflammation, lowering clotting risk, reducing triglyceride levels, and lowering the risk for irregular heart rhythms. However, the recent randomized trials[1,2,3] in high-risk populations (those with either multiple risk factors or a history of cardiovascular disease) have suggested very little benefit from omega-3 fatty acids.


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