Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplements were not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.
To assess the role of omega-3 supplementation on major cardiovascular outcomes, researchers analyzed 20 randomized clinical trials evaluating the effect of omega-3 on all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
Results appeared in the September 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association..
Among the 68,680 patients included, there were 7,044 deaths, 3,993 cardiac deaths, 1,150 sudden deaths, 1,837 myocardial infarctions, and 1,490 strokes, but omega-3 intake had no statistically significant associations with any of these outcomes.
Current guidelines issued by major societies recommend omega-3s through supplements or diet for patients after myocardial infarction but Food and Drug administration approval is only for overt hypertriglyceridemia, the authors noted. Some European agencies have approved omega-3s for cardiovascular risk modification.
The varying indications cause confusion in everyday clinical practice, the authors noted.
"Omega-3 PUFAs are not statistically significantly associated with major cardiovascular outcomes across various patient populations," the authors wrote. "Our findings do not justify the use of omega-3 as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or guidelines supporting dietary omega-3 PUFA administration."