Different outcomes for omega-3 heart trials: Why?

aDepartment of Pediatrics, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA bHuman Development and Health Academic Unit, Institute of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 12/2011; 15(2):97-8. DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834ec9e5
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review: Several recent randomized trials and subsequent meta-analyses have questioned the value of n-3 fatty acid supplementation in cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Recent findings: This report focuses on four clinical trials published between 2010 and 2012 that have failed to show benefits of n-3 fatty acids, and on one meta-analysis from 2012 that used a controversial statistical approach in reaching a conclusion of no effect. Summary: The question of the extent to which n-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces risk for cardiovascular disease remains open. Future studies must be properly powered, use doses of n-3 fatty acids significantly higher than those provided in background diets, focus on patient populations with low n-3 fatty acid tissue levels, treat for longer periods of time, and consider the effects of these agents in the great majority of patients who are not on guideline-directed therapeutic regimens. The strong evidence-base from prospective cohort studies and the ever-deepening understanding of the cellular effects of long-chain n-3 fatty acids together support the need for these nutrients in reducing cardiovascular risk. Short-term findings from randomized controlled trials need to be interpreted in the light of all the evidence.
    11/2012; 16(2). DOI:10.1097/MCO.0b013e32835bf380
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acid research began about 90 years ago but intensified in recent years. Essential fatty acids (linoleic and α-linolenic) must come from diet. Other fatty acids may come from diet or may be synthesized. Fatty acids are major components of cell membrane structure, modulate gene transcription, function as cytokine precursors, and serve as energy sources in complex, interconnected systems. It is increasingly apparent that dietary fatty acids influence these vital functions and affect human health. While the strongest evidence for influence is found in cardiovascular disease and mental health, many additional conditions are affected. Problematic changes in the fatty acid composition of human diet have also taken place over the last century. This review summarizes current understanding of the pervasive roles of essential fatty acids and their metabolites in human health.
    Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 10/2013; 18(4):268-289. DOI:10.1177/2156587213488788
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