We see that doctors more often prescribe Omega-3s to patients to help reduce their cholesterol levels and enhance their heart health. These Omega-3s are made from fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel or supplements that often have a blend of the acids known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A new study has now shown that higher levels of EPA in the bloodstream might be enough to reduce the risk of severe cardiac incidents and deaths due to heart issues in patients. At the same time, DHA might reduce the benefits of higher EPA levels for heart health. The study has found that greater levels of DHA at any level of EPA can exacerbate health outcomes. The study has been done by experts from Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. The lead author of the study and cardiovascular physician assistant from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute, Viet T. Le has said that experts’ advice to eat Omega-3 for cardiovascular benefits is pervasive. However, many studies have shown that this is not true for every type of Omega-3s. He has said that the findings of the new study have revealed that not all Omega-3s are the same. As per the expert, when EPA and DHA are blended as they often are present in supplements might negate the health benefits patients are looking for. The findings of the study will be released at the 2021 American College of Cardiology’s Scientific Session.
The study has looked at nearly 1000 patients for 10 years. In the study, scientists have used the data from the Intermountain Healthcare database called INSPIRE that has been established in 1993. It contains more than 35000 blood samples of around 25000 patients. From this database, experts have found 987 patients who have undergone their first known coronary angiographic study at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute from 1994 to 2012. Experts have calculated circulating levels of EPA and DHA from these blood samples. These patients have been monitored for a decade. The authors of the study have been tracking their severe cardiac events that have included heart attack, stroke, heart failure, which has required hospitalization and death. The authors of the study have claimed that patients who have been identified with higher levels of EPA in their bloodstream have been at a lower risk of severe heart incidents. During the study, they have evaluated how EPA and DHA impact one another. They have said that greater levels of DHA can reduce the good effects of EPA. Experts have found that patients who are found with higher levels of DHA as compared to the levels of EPA are at a greater risk of heart issues.
The lead author of the study, Veit T. Le, has said that the findings of the study have raised serious concerns about the usage of EPA and DHA in combination, especially in supplements. Health experts have said that considering the findings of the new study and many other past studies, patients should be advised to eat foods that are highly rich in Omega-3. They have said that doctors should be very careful while advising their patients to take Omega-3. Patients should avoid taking Omega-3 in pill form as supplements or as combined prescription products. The outcomes of the new study support the findings of a past study called REDUCE-IT that has been done in 2018. This study has found that EPA-only prescription products can reduce the risk of heart issues.