Image: CC/ Peter Rosbjerg
Primer: There is significant debate whether treatment with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) can prevent major cardiovascular disease. Both European and U.S. guidelines recommend consuming omega-3s after an MI, either as supplements or through increased dietary consumption. However, there remains controversy about the relationship between PUFAs consumption and major cardiovascular events because some randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have shown a benefit and others have not.
This [meta-anlysis]: In a Systematic Review & Meta-analysis published in JAMA, the author’s pooled assessed all RCTs with treatment lasting at least one year, regardless of methodological study characteristics, prevention setting, or supplementation mode. A total of 20 RCTs were compiled, which contained data from more than 68,000 patients, and 7,044 death, 3,993 cardiac deaths, 1,150 sudden deaths, 1,837 MIs, and 1,490 strokes. By using an adjusted P-value of 0.0063 to account for multiple comparisons testing, there were no significant associations between PUFAs and any outcomes: all cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction and stroke. None of the absolute risk reductions were statistically significant either.
In sum: PUFAs supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events across various patient populations. The authors concluded that the findings “do not justify the use of PUFAs as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or guidelines supports PUFAs administration.”