A new study has found that heart attack patients who took certain doses of fish oil supplements had a shorter recovery period than those who did not, by having less scarring and an improved heart function.
The study was recently published in the journal Circulation and in consisted in a six-month analysis of almost 350 people affected by a heart attack at some point in their lives. The patients were separated in two groups. One group received four grams of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, every day for the duration of the study. The other group was given placebo pills.
At the end of the six months, the researchers used MRI to scan the heart and found that among the group who received the fish oil supplements, there was 6 percent less scarred tissue and an improved rate function. A blood sample analysis also revealed lower inflammatory markers among the omega-3 supplement recipients.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are a typical prescription to patients with high triglyceride levels (a type of blood fat). Fish oil is commonly used as a treatment to lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation and decrease clotting.
Fatty acids like those found in fish oil are key components of cell membranes and are known to improve cell signaling, immune and cognitive function. This can help improve the function of healthy heart tissue and avoid further scarring after a heart attack.
The senior author of the study, Dr. Raymond Kwong, director of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has said that:
“What we need to study going forward is whether higher doses of omega-3 can reduce mortality rates. Can we do better than produce 6 percent heart improvement and 6 percent less scarring?”
Although the study’s results suggest a strong correlation between omega-3 acids and a better recovery, the researches warned heart attack survivors not to start taking fish oil supplements without first consulting a doctor. Non-prescription supplements are not regulated for safety or consistent dose while the researchers used a purified form of fish oil with FDA approval.
Do you take fish oil supplements? Have you suffered a heart attack?
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