Margarines with low Omega-3 don’t appear to protect heart patients

A diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids don’t appear to give additional protection against further cardiac trouble in patients, revealed by Dutch researchers.

Researchers focused on a group of 4837 Dutch heart attack patients between the ages of 60 and 80, slightly more than three-quarters of whom were men.

All had experienced a heart attack at some point in the decade leading up to the study, and all were taking blood pressure medications, anti-clotting drugs and statins.

At the study’s start, the patients were instructed to consume one of four different types of margarines:
– one supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids;
– one supplemented with the plant-derived ALA;
– one supplemented with both omega-3 fatty acids and ALA;
– and one with no supplements.

The amount of supplementation added to the various margarines was deemed to be “low-dose.” During the study, the patients consumed an average of 18.8 grams of margarine per day, which meant ingestion of an average of 226 milligrams of EPA combined with 150 milligrams of DHA omega-3 fatty acids and/or 1.9 grams of ALA.

By the study’s end, almost 14 percent of the heart attack patients had experienced another “major cardiovascular event,” with some cases ending in death.

None of the low-dose supplements seemed to stave off such events in most of the patients.

Study author Daan Kromhout, from the division of human nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, is to present the findings Sunday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Stockholm; the study will appear online in the New England Journal of Medicine simultaneously.

This research was conducted in collaboration with the cardiology departments of 32 Dutch hospitals. The research was funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Unilever R & D, Vlaardingen.

Source: Wageningen University, Netherlands

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