Omega-3 fatty acids and prevention of cardiovascular events

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Abstract

Linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are precursors of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The effects of omega-3 on cardiovascular risk factors – such as lipoprotein levels, blood pressure and glycemia – are very modest at standard low doses, significant only for large intakes. The observation of food habits in population cohorts allowed to define the effects of rich in ALA, EPA, DHA on the risk of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease and sudden death. For ALA the results are inconsistent. Randomised trials have shown that oils enriched in EPA and DHA have an undeniable impact on heart rhythm. Consumers of long-chain fatty acid have lower heart rates than controls. The meta-analysis of cohort studies shows that consumption of omega-3 long- chain (EPA-DHA) reduces total mortality, death from cardiac causes, sudden death and possibly stroke. The data from prevention trials with omega-3 long-chain showed a decrease in coronary events, including fatal, in secondary prevention. These results are relatively consistent to believe that EPA and DHA intake reduces the fatal complications of myocardial infarction. In the present talk the most recent results of clinical trials on the prevention of CVD events by omega-3 fatty acids will be presented.

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