Omega-3 fish oil aids in healing after heart attack by improving function of the heart and reducing scarring in the undamaged muscle. This goes according to a new study published in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.
These findings are highly significant as your heart's shape and function can change after heart attack and potentially lead to heart failure. So just how much omega-3 fish oil do you need to take to protect your heart after having a heart attack? Here's the full story.
Previous studies have linked omega-3 dish oil to improved survival for heart attack patients
Previous research has linked the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to improved survival rates for heart attack patients.
However, this new study is the first to explore the role of omega-3 fish oil in improving the tissue and structure of the heart in patients receiving current guideline-based therapy after a heart attack.
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New study finds that omega-3 fish oil aids in healing after heart attack
To reach their findings, researchers behind the new study conducted a randomised clinical trial that included 360 heart attack patients. They divided the patients into two groups – one took a 4 g dose of omea-3 fish oil every day for six months, while the other took a placebo. Physicians took care of the patients and kept an eye out for any potential adverse outcomes by study authors throughout the study.
Researchers found that those in the omega-3 fish oil group had a 5.8% reduction in left ventricular end-systolic volume index – an important clinical marker that can predict patient outcome after a heart attack. They also found that these participants had a 5.6% reduction in measurement of scarred connective tissue formation – known s fibrosis – in the non-damaged heart muscle.
“Heart failure is still a major problem after a heart attack despite all the therapy we have and the advances in interventional care,” reported Raymond Y Kwong, MD, MPH, senior author of the study and director of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts in the USA.
“Our findings show that omega-3 fatty acids are a safe and effective treatment in improving cardiac remodelling, so it may be promising in reducing the incidence of heart failure or death, which are still major healthcare burdens to patients who suffer a heart attack,” added Kwong.
Kwong’s team concluded that their findings suggest that omega-3 fish oil may allow the heart to contract better and reduce fibrosis in the region that isn’t damaged. They also observed a reduction in biomarkers for inflammation, which suggests that omega-3 fish oil has anti-inflammatory benefits.
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