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How to Restore the Heart After an Attack

Prescription-strength fish oil given after a heart attack was able to help restore the heart to better health and function.

A heart attack usually does significant damage to the cardiac muscle. The question is how to restore the heart after it has suffered that kind of serious insult.

Omega-3 Fats Help Restore the Heart:

Fish oil has been the subject of numerous flip-flops based on medical research. Some studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil protect the heart, while others have not shown any benefit.

New research from Boston shows that concentrated fish oil can help remodel heart tissue and restore the heart after a heart attack. The researchers recruited 360 volunteers who had just had heart attacks and randomly assigned them to take Lovaza (omega-3-acid ethyl esters) or placebo for six months.

The Benefits of Lovaza:

Those taking the prescription omega-3 fatty acids in Lovaza had healthier left ventricle function and less scar tissue in their heart muscle at the end of the study. They also had lower levels of inflammatory compounds in their blood.

The investigators hope that this might make heart attack survivors less likely to develop heart failure later. Although the dose of omega-3 fats was high at 4 grams a day, no serious side effects were reported.

Circulation, online Aug 1, 2016

While it might be tempting to try taking over the counter fish oil capsules instead of pricey Lovaza, there’s no good way to tell if you are really getting an equivalent dose. Moreover, fish oil sometimes produces unpleasant aftertastes. So while healthy people are smart to include fish in their menus a few times a week, those who have had a heart attack may need a prescription for Lovaza to help restore the heart.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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