TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Omega-3 fatty acids have been touted as a way to reduce the risk of a host of cardiovascular problems, but now Greek researchers report that may not be true.
Their finding runs counter to the recommendations of many experts, including American Heart Association officials, who say it's important to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids for good heart health.
"Currently, American Heart Association Guidelines provide a recommendation that fish oil supplementation may be considered in individuals with cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association and a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was not involved in the new study.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish oil) supplements have been demonstrated in many, but not all, randomized clinical trials to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by 10 percent to 15 percent, Fonarow said.
The Greek team published its report in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
To look at the connection between omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease, a team led by Dr. Evangelos Rizos, of the University Hospital of Ioannina, pooled the results of 20 studies.
This process, called a meta-analysis, attempts to identify common findings across several studies. The limitation of this type of research, however, is in how well the study findings correlate, since they include different populations and different methods.
In this case, the studies included almost 69,000 people who were either taking supplements or not.
In all, there were more than 7,000 deaths, almost 4,000 cardiac deaths, more than 1,100 sudden deaths, almost 2,000 heart attacks and almost 1,500 strokes.
Rizos' group didn't find any statistically significant association between suppl
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