Taking This Supplement Daily Slashes Your Risk of Heart Attack, Study Says
This one-a-day pill was found to have "significant protective effects" in a meta analysis.
If you're someone who takes their heart health seriously, there's a good chance you have a daily routine. After all, staving off cardiovascular disease typically involves maintaining a good diet and exercising regularly. But according to a study, there's also a daily supplement that can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Read on to see what you should be adding to your health regimen.
Taking daily omega-3 supplements can greatly reduce your risk of a heart attack.
In 2019, a team of researchers at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston performed a meta-analysis to better understand the potential link between high consumption of omega-3 fish oil supplements and improved cardiovascular health. Overall, the group considered 13 studies from around the world that included data from over 120,000 participants.
Results of the analysis found that people who took a daily omega-3 fish oil supplement saw a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease other than strokes compared with those who took a placebo. Specifically, those who took an omega-3 supplement daily saw an eight percent risk reduction of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.
Results also found that daily higher doses reduced the risk of heart attack even more.
Besides regular consumption, the study also found that quantity also had a positive effect on heart health. Data revealed that those who ingested more than the typical daily dosage of 840 milligrams of omega-3 fish oil per day saw an even greater reduction in their risk of cardiovascular disease.
"This meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence regarding the effects of omega-3 supplementation on risk of multiple CVD [cardiovascular disease] outcomes," Yang Hu, the study's first author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School, said in a press release from the university. "We found significant protective effects of daily omega-3 supplementation against most CVD outcome risks, and the associations appeared to be in a dose-response manner."
The researchers concluded high omega-3 oils consumption should be part of a heart-healthy routine.
The study's authors concluded that an eight percent reduction might seem like an insignificant number in terms of risk reduction. But given the millions of cardiovascular disease-related deaths reported each year, they argued that the numbers could potentially translate into hundreds of thousands of lives saved.
"Although public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, being physically active, and having other healthy lifestyle practices, this study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may have a role in appropriate patients," JoAnn Manson, MD, the study's senior author, said in a statement.
The meta-analysis wasn't the first to link omega-3s with significant health benefits—whether it's in supplement form or its natural state. In one such study published in BMJ in 2018, researchers followed 2,622 adults with an average age of 74 from 1992 and 2015 to see if they developed any chronic diseases or other mental or physical ailments.
After investigators measured the level of certain omega-3 oils in participants' blood samples, results found that those in the top one-fifth percentile of high omega-3 levels were 18 percent less likely to show signs of unhealthy aging, The New York Times reports. "In our study, we found that adults with higher blood levels of omega-3s from seafood were more likely to live longer and healthier lives. So it is a great idea to eat more fish," Heidi T.M. Lai, PhD, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University, said.