N-3 Fatty Acids in low dose don't protect our hearts

EPA-DHA and ALA not so good at heart protection in low doses

New data published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM 2010;363:2015-2-26 Nov 18th) give results from awell-designed (multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind) trial. The Alpha Omega Trial group reports that in 4837 patients between 60 and 80 who had a heart attack (myocardial infarction) and who also got currently recommended blood pressure, abnormal clot preventing and cholesterol (lipid lowering) treatments did not show a significantly different results versus patients who got placebo over the 40 months of the study.

The people had an average of 18.8 grams of margarine a day. Interestingly, ALA (1.9 grams daily) or EPA-DHA (226 mg/150 mg) did not lower the risk of having a fatal or non-fatal heart or blood vessel event (cardiovascular event) or a cardiac intervention. What may be important is that Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA) alone (compared to placebo or EPA-DHA) WAS linked to a lowering of major heart and blood vessel events that DID approach being significant). The authors conclude that low-dose ALA or EPA-DHA didn't lower rates of cardiovascular events in the patients studied. I wonder what would have happened if the Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA) daily dose was increased. This looks like an area full of potential for research.

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