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Omega-3 fatty acid supplements show no benefit in preventing cardiovascular disease

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Review of: Abdelhamid AA, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Syst Revs 2018;7:10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub3.

Key learning points

  • Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish or supplements derived from fish or plants had no effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease or overall mortality.

  • Eating more alpha-linolenic acid from plant sources, such as linseeds, enriched margarine or walnuts, slightly reduced cardiovascular events but had no impact on cardiovascular deaths and all-cause mortality.

An updated Cochrane review found high-quality evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish or plant sources did not prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) or affect overall mortality.1


This update to a previous review included 79 randomised controlled trials (112 059 participants) that compared diet advice or dietary supplementation to promote omega-3 fatty acid intake with placebo, no supplementation, …

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  • Contributors DTB team.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.