New Study Shows Omega-3 PUFAs Are Not Associated With Lower Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are not associated with lower risk of major cardiovascular events including all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction and stroke, according to a study published on Sept. 11 in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

After conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of previously published randomized clinical trials, the authors found no statistically significant association observed with all-cause mortality  (RR, 0.96; 95 percent CI, 0.91 to 1.02; risk reduction [RD] −0.004, 95 percent CI, −0.01 to 0.02), cardiac death (RR, 0.91; 95 percent CI, 0.85 to 0.98; RD, −0.01; 95 percent CI, −0.02 to 0.00), sudden death (RR, 0.87; 95 percent CI, 0.75 to 1.01; RD, −0.003; 95 percent CI, −0.012 to 0.006), myocardial infarction (RR, 0.89; 95 percent CI, 0.76 to 1.04; RD, −0.002; 95 percent CI, −0.007 to 0.002), and stroke (RR, 1.05; 95 percent CI, 0.93 to 1.18; RD, 0.001; 95 percent CI, −0.002 to 0.004).

The authors note that current guidelines recommend use of omega-3 PUFAs through supplements or dietary counseling for patients after myocardial infarction. However, there is controversy about whether to use these agents for cardiovascular protection. The study results showed that "omega-3 PUFAs are not universally statistically significant associated with major cardiovascular outcomes across patient populations at increased cardiovascular risk."

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The authors recommend that an individual patient data meta-analysis be conducted to refine possible associations related to, among others, dose, adherence, baseline intake and cardiovascular disease risk group.

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