A Fishy Way to Heart Attack Healing

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may promote healing after heart attack

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Fish oil might be able to help the heart recover after a heart attack, a new study found.

After a heart attack, the heart's shape and performance can be changed, which is known as cardiac remodeling. This alteration of the heart can lead to additional health issues like heart failure.

But in a new study of nearly 360 heart attack survivors, researchers found that patients taking a high dose (4 grams) of omega-3 fatty acids daily for six months experienced an improvement in heart shape and function. These researchers said these findings may suggest that omega-3 fatty acids allow the heart to better contract, reduce scar tissue in undamaged heart regions and even produce some anti-inflammatory effects.

"Heart failure is still a major problem after a heart attack despite all the therapy we have and the advances in interventional care," said lead study author Raymond Y. Kwong, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a press release. "Our findings show that omega-3 fatty acids are a safe and effective treatment in improving cardiac remodeling, so it may be promising in reducing the incidence of heart failure or death, which are still major health care burdens to patients who suffer a heart attack."

Researchers noted that patients were given the prescription medication Lovaza and were instructed not to take over-the-counter fish oil supplements. Past research on fish oil and heart health has produced conflicting findings.

Ask your doctor if fish oil is right for you.

This study was published in the journal Circulation. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provided funding. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
August 2, 2016
Last Updated:
August 3, 2016