Study Shows the Omega-3 Index is an Important Factor for Improving Health Outcomes After a Heart Attack

March 6, 2024, Sioux Falls, SD: A new study published in the March edition of the International Journal of Cardiology shows that increasing an individual’s omega-3 status (i.e., Omega-3 Index) can improve long-term health outcomes after a heart attack.

The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of 6 months of omega-3 treatment following a heart attack. The original study was 6 months long; this new research paper represents what happened 6 years later.

For this study, researchers evaluated a total of about 360 patients admitted with a heart attack to three hospitals in Boston. Six years after the original study, the researchers wanted to answer two questions: Was there a difference in the rate of Major Adverse Cardiac Events (MACE) in people 1) who were assigned to the omega-3 group vs the placebo group, or 2) who – regardless of group assignment – experienced an increase in the Omega-3 Index by at least 5% while on treatment?

Of the 180 people who were assigned to the omega-3 group initially, about 133 returned at 6 months and had their Omega-3 Index measured. Of them, the Omega-3 Index increased by 5% or more during treatment in 43 of the patients.

While the researchers found that there was no difference in MACE rates between the omega-3 and placebo groups based on random assignment, there was about a 60% reduction in risk for MACE when comparing those people whose Omega-3 Index increased by 5% or more to those who did not.

“It is one thing to take an omega-3 supplement, but it’s quite another to taken ENOUGH to achieve a healthy target level in your own blood,”  explained William S. Harris, PhD, President of the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI); founder of OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota.

In this study, the people who derived long-term benefit were those who reached higher levels of omega-3s in their blood for whatever reason. “Maybe they were more faithful in taking their capsules; maybe they took them with food instead of on an empty stomach; maybe they have a genetic predisposition to better absorption/incorporation of EPA and DHA into their cells,” Dr. Harris said, adding, “It’s not clear why some people did see an increase in their Omega-3 Index and others did not, but it appears that that’s what was most important in reducing their long-term risk for MACE.”

Dr. Harris went on to suggest that one of the reasons for the apparent failures of past omega-3 studies could be that people did not increase their Omega-3 Index sufficiently to benefit. “It also indicates that people should focus more on achieving a healthy Omega-3 Index (i.e., 8% or higher) rather than relying on simply taking an omega-3 supplement and hoping for the best,” he said.

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Study Link: The OMEGA-REMODEL Randomized Clinical Trial, March 2024; International Journal of Cardiology

 

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Becky Wright

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becky@omegaquant.com

 

About OmegaQuant:

OmegaQuant is an independent, CLIA-certified lab that offers nutritional status testing to researchers, clinicians and the public. OmegaQuant performs analysis in Sioux Falls, SD, for commercial and academic research collaborators, and for consumers interested in monitoring their nutritional status in both blood and breast milk. Its goal is to offer the highest quality fatty acid analytical services to researchers and to provide simple tests of nutritional status to consumers, with the ultimate purpose of advancing the science and use of certain nutrients to improve health. Internationally, OmegaQuant works with lab partners based in Australia and the UK. In the UK, it has a partnership with the University of Stirling, based in the Scotland, to help process blood samples from Europe. Learn more @ www.omegaquant.com

 

About FARI:

FARI was established in 2020 as a non-profit foundation that brings together nutrition scientists and biostatistical experts with strong publication records and expertise in fatty acids to accelerate discovery of the relationship between fatty acids, especially omega-3s, and health. FARI is currently the only organization focused directly on discovering and publishing research evaluating the health effects of individual fatty acids. Learn more @ www.faresinst.org

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