A new Greek study suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in oily fish like salmon and sardines may not actually help prevent stroke or heart disease.
After an analysis of many different clinical trials that included over 68,000 people, the Greek researchers reported that fatty acids did not help reduce death rates from strokes, heart attacks, or heart disease. The results were the same whether the Omega-3 was obtained from the actual fish, supplement pills, or natural diet. The review team was led by University Hospital of Ioannina Mosef Elisef.
Almost a decade ago medical evidence pointed towards omega-3s as having a positive protective effect on the heart whether it was taken in pill form or via natural fish. The mechanism behind the fatty acids was not understood, but scientists believe that when omega-3s were regularly consumed the triglycerides increased in the blood. They also stated that blood pressure levels increase and heart rhythm disturbances decreased.
However, over the last decade the picture of perfect health has become a bit cloudier. Earlier in 2012 Korean researchers believed that the omega-3 supplements were not actually helping to prevent heart disease or death based on their study of 20,000 participants.
The Greek study took a look at results from 18 different clinical trials out of which there were two trials in which people consumed omega-2 rich foods and received dietary counselling. The Greek trials dated back to 1989 leading researchers to question if statins or other medications could explain why studies did not originally find that the fatty acids were not effective. However, Elisef and his team decided it was not a related matter.