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Mega Heart-Healthy Fat

Omega-3 fats offer a dose of cardio protection.

Omega-3 fatty acids and heart disease

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America, but omega-3 fatty acids can help. And the more, the better. That’s the conclusion reached in a comprehensive review of the role omega-3s play in cardiovascular disease prevention.

A meta-analysis of 40 clinical studies involving more than 135,000 people found an association between supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and a reduction in risk for multiple types of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack.

The effect was dose-dependent—investigators determined that consuming more EPA and DHA than people typically get from fatty fish like salmon and sardines decreased the risk of heart problems even more. For instance, adding an extra 1,000 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day cut the risk of heart attack by 9%. So, if people are not consuming adequate amounts of omega-3s through dietary sources, then supplementation—with guidance from a physician—could help close the gap, particularly for individuals at risk for or with a history of heart conditions.

The review was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

See also: A Fishy Solution to Airborne Pollution

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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