Fish oil supplements do not protect against death from heart disease. That’s the conclusion from a large Italian study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Previous Italian studies known as GISSI had suggested that fish oil might be a valuable way to ward off heart disease.
The researchers randomly assigned more than 12,000 high-risk subjects to take a daily dose of either 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil or a placebo pill containing olive oil. Both groups experienced fewer heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths than expected after one year.
After five years of follow up, there was still no difference between the groups with respect to these events nor regarding hospitalization for cardiovascular causes. The investigators conclude that in these patients at high risk for heart problems, omega-3 fatty acids did not prevent premature death from cardiovascular causes.
We discuss a variety of approaches to bolstering cardiovascular well-being in our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health.
[New England Journal of Medicine, May 9, 2013]