Two major studies were published in 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine after they were released at the American Heart Association’s 2018 Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Illinois.
The studies say that medications that come from fish oil can protect people from fatal heart attacks, strokes and other types of heart disease.
The studies focused on two aspects of Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. In the one study which involved over 8,000 participants who were already taking statins, the additional use of two grams Vascepa twice a day were monitored and the study results showed they had less of a chance of serious heart issues.
Vascepa is a purified version of a fish oil component that targets triglycerides which when elevated can harden arteries and potentially lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Deepak Bhatt, who led the study and is the executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said the practice of cardiology could change with the use of Vascepa in the same way that it was changed 30 years ago with the development of statins.
Bhatt also said that he has been involved in clinical trials for a very long time and this latest trial has so much potential to improve the lives of tens of millions of people.
This first study was sponsored by Amarin Corp. which makes Vascepa.
The other research studied the effects of a different formula of Omega-3 fatty acids in a drug called Lovaza. For this study 26,000 people were followed for over five years and suggested that 28 percent of the people who were given the drug were less likely to suffer a heart attach and 8 percent less likely to have a variety of heart illnesses. Lead researchers say that more study needs to be done, however before the results can be relied on.
People in the second study were given 840 milligrams of Lovaza, less than what is found in a typical serving of salmon. The study also showed that participants who ate less than 1.5 servings of fish per week did see a drop in the number of heart attacks when they started taking the drug.
“The study “further supports . . . the benefits of Omega-3 in heart health,” said JoAnne Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who led the study. Manson encourages people to have more fish in their diet and to at least start with two servings a week.
Fish oil has been shown to have many other health benefits as well.
Lovaza is produced by GSK and The National Institutes of Health sponsored the second study.