Study Shows Omega3 Supplements More Beneficial for Heart Failure than Statins

According to two new studies from Munich, Germany, long term use of Omega 3 fatty acids reduced the risk of death and incidence of hospitalization for heart related illness in heart failure patients. Crestor, a popular cholesterol medication (statin), showed no beneficial effect on the patients studied.

The Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell'Infarto Miocardico Heart Failure (GISSI-HF) trial, published online in the Lancet, was presented August 31 at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2008, revealing a 9% reduction in deaths, from all causes with Omega 3 fatty acids, an 8% reduction in hospitalization. Two separate studies were used to determine the results. Study investigators write, "Although this moderate benefit was smaller than was expected, we should note that it was obtained in a population already treated with recommended therapies, was consistent across all the predefined subgroups, and was further supported by the findings of the per-protocol analysis."

The GISSI-HF study randomly enrolled patients diagnosed with class 2 to 4 heart failure, assigning them to 1 Gram of fish oil daily or placebo. The patients were followed for 3.9 years. End points of the study included hospitalization for heart related issues, or death.

Dr Luigi Tavazzi (Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy, chaired the study, presenting the findings at the meeting, saying in an accompanying editorial, “fish oils are a "effective, safe, simple, and cheap" option for patients with chronic heart failure. Supporting that statement, Dr Gregg Fonarow (University of California, Los Angeles says even though "questions remain about the mechanism of action, optimum dosing, and formulation, supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [PUFA] should join the short list of evidence-based life-prolonging therapies for heart failure."

The exact reason for the benefits of Omega 3’s in heart failure is not entirely clear. Past studies have shown a more favorable benefit (21% risk reduction for death) for patients who have had heart attack (MI). Dr. Tavazzi suggests the "mechanisms of action in heart-failure patients are broader than post-MI patients."

Dr Gianni Tognoni (Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan) presented the Crestor treatment findings at the conference, which ultimately showed no difference in outcomes between those who received the statin and those who did not, even though LDL cholesterol levels were lowered with the drug. Dr. Tognoni suggests… "although statin therapy lowers concentrations of LDL cholesterol, is well tolerated, and seems reasonably safe, it does not produce meaningful improvements in survival in patients with chronic heart failure." The results are contrary to the current push to provide heart failure patients with statin therapy.

A November, 2007 publication of the CORONA trial did show that hospitalizations were significantly decreased with the use of Crestor in heart failure patients, which may lead to some disappointment from clinicians in the findings of the GISSI-HF trial.

Omega 3 fatty acids have repeatedly been shown to have a beneficial effect on health. Please make sure you include fish or other sources of omega 3 fatty acids into your diet.

Source: Heartwire


Statin Benefits in Heart Failure Include Protection Against Sudden Death in Pilot Trial
Eating Fish May Benefit Aging Brains
Omega 3’s, not Genes, Responsible for Japan’s Lower Heart Disease Rates
Are You Feeling Aggressive? Try Omega 3’s

Helpful Link:

Dietary Sources of Omega 3 fatty acids
Purchase Omega 3-6-9