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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Therapy: The Tide Turns for a Fish Story

      In the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Alexander et al report on meta-analyses of data addressing the effects of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic (EPA+DHA) omega-3 fatty acids on the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events.
      • Alexander D.
      • Miller P.
      • Van Elswyk M.
      • Kuratko C.
      • Bylsma L.
      A meta-analysis of randomized trials and prospective cohort studies of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic long chain omega-3 fatty acids and coronary heart disease risk.
      Their research employed data from 2 types of studies: (1) randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (approximately 93,000 patients) and (2) prospective cohort studies (approximately 732,000 patients). Their research is, to date, the most comprehensive analysis of its kind within the indexed biomedical literature. The meta-analysis of RCT data discovered that EPA+DHA supplementation produced a non–statistically significant 6% reduction of CHD (hazard ratio [HR], 0.94; 95% CI, 0.85-1.05). Further subgroup analysis found that EPA+DHA significantly reduced CHD risk by 16% (HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.72-0.98) among patients with elevated serum triglyceride (TG) levels (>150 mg/dL) and by 14% (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76-0.98) among patients with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (>130 mg/dL). In the subsequent meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies, Alexander et al discovered that EPA+DHA significantly reduced CHD risk by 18% (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.74-0.92).
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