Fish oil can help reduce deaths from heart disease, according to new evidence reports announced today by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The systematic reviews of the available literature found evidence that long chain omega-3 fatty acids, the beneficial component ingested by eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement, reduce heart attack and other problems related to heart and blood vessel disease in persons who already have these conditions, as well as their overall risk of death.
Although omega-3 fatty acids do not alter total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, evidence suggests that they can reduce levels of triglycerides — a fat in the blood that may contribute to heart disease.
The review also found other evidence indicating that fish oil can help lower high blood pressure slightly, may reduce risk of coronary artery re-blockage after angioplasty, may increase exercise capability among patients with clogged arteries, and may possibly reduce the risk of irregular heart beats — particularly in individuals with a recent heart attack.
“These findings will help health care professionals and the public understand which benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been scientifically proven and pinpoint areas where additional evidence is needed,” said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, AHRQ director.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Apr 22, 2004