If you take omega-3 fatty acids every day, good for you. These fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have well-documented benefits when it comes to your heart and brain health.
Now we’re learning that—in high doses—they may also help boost recovery after a heart attack.
During a heart attack, your heart can become permanently damaged. This puts additional strain on the heart, which can lead to heart failure if left untreated. Unfortunately, options that promote healing of the tissue and prevent further damage are limited.
This makes today’s news particularly exciting.
In a new clinical trial, 360 heart attack survivors took either a 4 gram dose of omega-3s or a placebo for six months. This regimen began within a month of the heart attack, with the patients divided equally into the two groups.
The omega-3 group had nearly a 6 percent increase in heart function, and a 5.6 percent reduction of scar tissue in the heart muscle. These results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids help the heart to contract better, while also reducing scarring of connective tissue.
The researchers also observed a reduction in biomarkers for inflammation, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids have some anti-inflammatory properties.
“Heart failure is still a major problem after a heart attack despite all the therapy we have and the advances in interventional care,” said Raymond Y. Kwong, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study.
“Our findings show that omega-3 fatty acids are a safe and effective treatment in improving cardiac remodeling, so it may be promising in reducing the incidence of heart failure or death, which are still major healthcare burdens to patients who suffer a heart attack.”
SOURCE: Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, may aid healing after heart attack. News Release. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report. Jul 2016.