Fish oil supplements could raise heart disease and stroke risk in these people

A comprehensive study published in BMJ Medicine has uncovered some complex effects of fish oil supplements on heart health. Traditionally praised for their omega-3 fatty acids, these supplements are commonly recommended to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

However, the latest findings from a vast long-term study involving over 400,000 participants suggest that the benefits of fish oil may vary depending on an individual’s heart health status.

The researchers aimed to provide more definitive insights into how fish oil supplements affect the risk of developing new cardiovascular conditions and the progression of existing ones.

They utilized data from the UK Biobank, focusing on adults aged 40 to 69 who were monitored for up to 12 years.

During this period, participants provided information on their diet, including the intake of fish and fish oil supplements, and their health outcomes were tracked using medical records.

Among the participants, nearly a third reported regular use of fish oil supplements.

This group generally consisted of older individuals, predominantly white and female, who also consumed more oily fish compared to non-users. They were less likely to smoke and tended to live in less deprived areas.

The findings from this extensive monitoring revealed nuanced roles of fish oil supplements in cardiovascular health.

For individuals with no prior heart disease, regular use of these supplements was associated with a 13% increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation and a 5% increased risk of stroke.

This suggests that in people with good cardiovascular health, fish oil supplements might actually raise the risk of certain heart conditions.

Conversely, for those already suffering from cardiovascular diseases, fish oil supplements seemed to offer some benefits.

These individuals experienced a 15% reduced risk of progressing from atrial fibrillation to having a heart attack and a 9% lower risk of moving from heart failure to death.

This indicates that fish oil could potentially slow the worsening of existing heart conditions and improve survival rates.

The study also highlighted how factors such as age, sex, smoking habits, and the use of certain medications influenced the effects of fish oil.

For example, women and non-smokers with good cardiovascular health who used fish oil supplements had a 6% higher risk of experiencing serious heart issues like heart attacks or strokes.

On the other hand, older individuals and men seemed to benefit more from the supplements, showing reduced risks of death.

Despite these significant findings, the researchers caution that the study, being observational, does not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

The variations in the dosage and formulation of fish oil supplements, which were not detailed in the study, could also affect the outcomes. Additionally, since most participants were white, the results may not apply universally across different ethnic groups.

In conclusion, while fish oil supplements continue to be a popular choice for those looking to enhance their heart health, their impact may depend greatly on an individual’s existing cardiovascular condition.

The study calls for further research to fully understand how fish oil supplements can be effectively utilized in the prevention and management of heart disease.

If you care about stroke, please read studies that diets high in flavonoids could help reduce stroke risk, and MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce the risk of dementia, and tea and coffee may help lower your risk of stroke, dementia.

The research findings can be found in BMJ Medicine.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.