Omega-3 fatty acid is healthy for all from growing children to heart disease patients. This is the message conveyed to people for years by many health professionals and doctors. In recent years, omega-3 has even been added to some foods such as margarine and eggs.
However, Dutch researchers found in their study of about 5,000 heart attack survivors that eating about 400 milligrams of fish fatty acids per day did not significantly decrease the risk of getting heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular events for those patients who were already getting good care. 400 milligrams of fish fatty acids is the equivalent of 2 fatty fish meals.
At the end of 3 and half years, there was no change in death, heart attack and other heart problems between those who consumed margarine with added omega-3 fatty acids and those who did not.
The findings were presented by researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands during the month of August 2010 at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, and published online by the New England Journal Of Medicine.
Does the results mean that getting more of the fatty acid does not has any benefit? Of course NO!
As confirmed by several studies, omega-3 fish fatty acid (mostly from fish oil) help reduce heart disease. It would reduce the risk of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden death, decrease triglyceride (harmful fats) levels, slow the growth of atherosclerotic plaque that could clog arteries, and lower blood pressure (slightly).
The reason that adding a low-dose of omega-3 fatty acid did not offer extra protection, as explained by the researchers, is that the participants were taken good care by their doctors: they were taking the best medicines to prevent future heart problem. Among the participants, about 98 percent were on anti-platelet treatments, 90 percent were taking blood pressure lowering agents and 85 percent were taking lipid-lowering agents.
As compared to those heart patients in earlier research who did benefit by taking fish oil pills, the participants in this study were also older (aged between 60 and 80) and took part in the study years after their heart attack.