Consider The Evidence: Med/Peds Journal Roundup

March 25, 2006

Omega-3 fatty acids: Just a fish tale?

Filed under: BMJ, cardiovascular — medblog @ 10:10 pm

BMJ – A meta-analysis published online first on BMJ.com casts doubt on the purported health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The new study contradicts a 2002 meta-analysis by Bucher et al. which found that intake these fatty acids were protective against fatal coronary events. The inclusion of data from a large European study by Burr in 2003 was the main influence for the new conclusion. From the figure of the source data, it appears that the largest RCTs such as GISSI-P actually favored less Omega-3. Some have even suggested that omega-3 FA's can be pro-arrythmogenic. The cohort trials appear to be clustered around the line of no benefit.

Clearly the trials included are highly variable on the type of intake (dietary vs supplemental) as well as the pre-intervention risk (from healthy to post-MI) – so although there may be a specific subgroup who would yield benefit, it appears that this analysis does not support a general reccomendation for increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake. Is something fishy going on? Hopefully futher research will find out…

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1 Comment »

  1. […] JAMA 6/14 – In March, the BMJ published a review (astutely blogged upon here) on omega-3 fatty acids, that basically showed no advantage to taking the stuff. One of the big hopes penned on the compound was the possibility of preventing some types of arrythmia. […]

    Pingback by Consider The Evidence: Med/Peds Journal Roundup » More on Fish Oil Flop — June 13, 2006 @ 9:14 pm


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