The American Heart Association Suggests Fish Oil Supplements May Be The Solution For Heart Failure Patients

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Mar 16, 2017 12:41 PM EDT

A close up of a fish inside a bucket seen after being unloaded from a boat at the port in Songkhla on February 2, 2016. (Photo : Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A new science advisory from the American Heart Association suggests that Omega-3 fish oil supplements may help prevent the death that results from heart disease in patients who recently suffered a heart attack. It also suggests that these supplements could help prevent death and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure. However, there is no medical evidence or scientific research to support the clinical use of the Omega-3 fish oil supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population.

"We cannot make a recommendation to use omega-3 fish oil supplements for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease at this time," chair of the writing committee of the new science advisory published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, David Siscovick, M.D., M.P.H. said.

He continued to say that individuals in the general population who are taking these omega-3 fish oil supplements are only taking them in the absence of scientific evidence to support any benefit of the supplements in preventing conditions like heart attacks, stroke, heart failure or death for people that are not diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

According to Science Daily, an estimation of approximately 18.8 million United States adults, were reported to be taking omega-3 fish oil supplements in 2012. It is also reported that the advisory's writing group reviewed all the randomized clinical research that checked for a potential benefit of omega-3 fish oil supplements in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

The studies reviewed include two studies that were published before 2002 and 13 other studies published since 2002, which is the period when the association last issued a scientific statement on fish and omega-3 fish oil supplements. The reviewed studies are said to have rigorously assessed the clinical benefit of omega-3 fish oil treatment on critical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, atrial fibrillation and others.

Over the years, scientific findings that have focused on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases has shown a  potential benefit of omega-3 fish oil supplements among people who are at risk of dying from heart disease. The findings have also revealed that the supplement is still useful for people who have had a recent heart attack, Siscovick said.

He added that what is new is that patients with heart failure can also benefit from omega-3 fish oil supplements. According to Medical Express, the scientific evidence which supports the heart failure recommendation is gotten from a randomized clinical trial that revealed that a low dose of omega-3 fish oil supplements was able to reduce death rates and hospitalization by 9 percent in individuals with heart failure.  These finding led the authors of the study to conclude that healthcare providers could consider incorporating omega-3 fish oil supplements in the treatments of these patients.

The researchers are reported to have focused mostly on studies that are related to preventing a first heart attack in the general population, or in persons who have high-risk for heart disease. They also look at studies that focused on preventing recurrent events and death in patients who had previously suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke, or atrial fibrillation. This was mainly to determine if scientific studies conducted since 2002 found any additional evidence on the benefits of omega-3 fish oil supplements.

The writing group concluded that treatment with omega-3 fish oil supplement is reasonable in patients who had previously suffered a heart attack or heart failure. Their conclusion is based on the studies that reveal a modest reduction of cardiovascular events or death from coronary heart disease in the clinical study populations.

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