- Supplementation with Omega 3 essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA, has been associated with a 35% reduced risk of fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack), a 13% reduced risk of heart attack and a 9% reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
To quantify the effect of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and the effect of dosage.
This study is designed as a random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomized control trials with EPA/DHA supplementation. This is an update and expanded analysis of a previously published meta-analysis which covers all randomized control trials with EPA/DHA interventions and cardiovascular outcomes published before August 2019. The outcomes included are myocardial infarction (MI), coronary heart disease (CHD) events, CVD events (a composite of MI, angina, stroke, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, sudden death, and non-scheduled cardiovascular surgical interventions), CHD mortality and fatal MI. The strength of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation framework.
A total of 40 studies with a combined 135,267 participants were included. Supplementation was associated with reduced risk of MI (relative risk [RR], 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80 to 0.96), high certainty number needed to treat (NNT) of 272; CHD events (RR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.84 to 0.97), high certainty NNT of 192; fatal MI (RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.46 to 0.91]), moderate certainty NNT = 128; and CHD mortality (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85 to 0.98), low certainty NNT = 431, but not CVD events (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.00). The effect is dose dependent for CVD events and MI.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Supplementation with EPA and DHA is an effective lifestyle strategy for CVD prevention, and the protective effect probably increases with dosage.