A study consisting of a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and another meta-analysis of prospective observational cohort studies suggests that the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendation of at least 1 g/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is reasonable to lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events.
The findings also suggest that patients with high levels of triglycerides or LDL cholesterol would benefit most by optimal intake of these omega-3 fatty acids.
In the meta-analysis of RCTs, intake of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA) from food or supplements vs controls was associated with a nonsignificant 6% lower rate of CHD—defined as MI, sudden cardiac death, coronary death, or angina.
Delving deeper, intake of omega-3 fatty acid was associated with a significantly lower risk of CHD only in patients with high initial levels of triglycerides (>150 mg/dL) or LDL cholesterol (>130 mg/dL).
In the meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies, a high vs low intake of omega-3 fatty acid was associated with a significant 18% lower rate of CHD.
"Authoritative bodies recommend intake of EPA and DHA for heart and overall health, [and] our comprehensive meta-analysis of data from RCTs and prospective cohort studies supports this recommendation," Dr Dominik D Alexander (EpidStat Institute, Ann Arbor, MI) and colleagues conclude, in their study published in the January 2017 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.