A healthy diet is among the most important lifestyle behaviors that can be adopted to reduce the risk of CVD. A cardioprotective
diet is based on the unrefined plant-based foods that are high in fiber. They are either very low in fat or substitute healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for saturated and trans fat, and they are low in refined carbohydrates,
added sugars, and sodium. In contrast, long-term low-carbohydrate eating, based
on meat, increases cardiovascular risk because it boosts LDL-C.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have been recommended as a way to prevent CVD.
Most research has shown that eating fish may benefit CVD health. The benefits, if
any, of marine omega-3 supplementation (fish oil) supplementation are less clear. A
meta-analysis of 10 randomized trials involving 78,000 patients found that that n–3
fatty acids did not lower the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events. A similar
study among people with diabetes, ASCEND (A Study of Cardiovascular Events in
Diabetes), also found little effect from daily marine omega-3 administration.
The VITAL study also found that high dose supplements of n-3 fatty acids are not
effective in preventing heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease.
However, the VITAL study suggests
that high dose supplementation might benefit some ethnic groups and those
who have a low intake of fish. More research to confirm this is needed. In a following
blog, the role of drugs related to fish oils for the treatment of triglycerides
over 500 mg/dl will be presented.
The most recent meta-analysis that included the findings from VITAL found that
daily marine omega-3 supplementation is moderately effective and provided a modest
3% to 8% reduction in CVD endpoints. After an average of five years of use,
omega-3 supplementation lowered rates of myocardial infarction, coronary heart
disease death, total coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease death, and total
cardiovascular disease, but no benefits were found for stroke. The study also found
that the higher the dose of omega-3 supplementation, the more pronounced were
the CVD benefits.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel