Increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DPA, and DHA may protect men against acute coronary syndrome (ACS), says a new study.
The heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are well-documented, being first reported in the early 1970s by Jorn Dyerberg and his co-workers in The Lancet and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function.
The new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that increased intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may reduce the risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), an umbrella term for a range of symptoms including unstable angina and chest pains.
The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort study involved 57,053 men and women. During an average follow-up time of almost eight years, 1,150 people developed ACS. Men who consumed more than 0.39 grams of PUFAs per day had an associated risk of ACS 27 per cent lower than men who consumed less than 0.39 grams per day.
When the researchers looked at individual omega-3 fatty acids, they did note negative association for EPA, DPA and DHA, but these were considered “less consistent”.
No benefits were observed for women, noted the researchers.
“We found borderline significant negative associations between the intake of marine omega-3 PUFA and ACS among healthy men,” they concluded.
Half a gram needed for heart benefits?
Earlier this year, a ‘state-of-the-art’ review concluded that the science behind the cardiovascular health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supports recommended daily levels of 500 mg.