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Doubts over fish oil for heart patients

Tuesday August 31st, 2010

Eating oily fish is thought to be good for the heart - but may make little difference once someone has suffered a heart attack, researchers have warned.

A major study of omega-3 supplements suggests that only some kinds of heart patients might benefit from getting the oils into their diet.

Researchers tested margarines enriched with both fish oil and omega-3 oils derived from plants such as soya and walnut.

Nearly 5,000 people took part in the Dutch research, reported to the conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dubbed the Alpha Omega trial, the research suggested some benefits for women patients and for people with diabetes.

Researcher Professor Daan Kromhout from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, said patients in the research had been receiving the best combinations of heart drugs - and this might explain why dietary supplements had little effect.

He said: "The patients in this trial were very well treated with 98 per cent on antithrombotic agents, 90 per cent on antihypertensive drugs, and 86 per cent on lipid lowering drugs. We found that cardiovascular mortality rate in the study population was only half that expected, probably because of their excellent treatment.

"This may also be why the rate of major cardiovascular events during follow-up was no lower in the fatty acid groups than in the placebo group."

Tags: Diet & Food | Europe | Heart Health

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