Omega-3 Improves Heart Damage After Attack

Omega-3 Improves Heart Damage After AttackOmega-3 Improves Heart Damage After Attack

Once a person has had a heart attack, their heart may be damaged, raising their risk of further heart-related problems. But according to a new study, this risk could be reduced with a daily dose of omega-3.

Researchers found that people who took a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids every day for 6 months after a heart attack showed reduced heart muscle scarring and better heart function, compared with heart attack patients who took a placebo.

Senior author Dr. Raymond Y. Kwong, director of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, and colleagues published their findings in the journal Circulation, reported.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of the heart muscle becomes blocked, which starves the heart of oxygen and causes damage.

According to the American Heart Association, the amount of heart muscle damage that occurs following a heart attack is dependent on the size of the area that is deprived of oxygen and how long for.

The heart’s healing process begins soon after a heart attack, taking an average of 8 weeks. However, this normally involves the formation of scar tissue - or fibrosis - which can alter the heart’s structure and function.

Such impairments can increase the risk of other heart-related conditions, including irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and heart failure.

Kwong and colleagues note that, despite advancements in heart therapies, heart failure remains a major issue.

Omega-3 fatty acids are deemed essential for human health, though the body is unable to produce them. As such, we need to get them through food sources, such as oily fish - including salmon, tuna, and halibut - plants and nuts, and dietary supplements.

The team studied 360 adults who had experienced a heart attack.

Patients who took omega-3 showed a 5.6% reduction in scarring of non-damaged heart muscle and a 5.8% reduction in the left ventricular end-systolic volume index - an indicator of a patient’s outcome following a heart attack, compared with those who took a placebo.

Based on the results, researchers believe a daily dose of omega-3 may be beneficial for heart attack patients.