Science Update

New study demonstrates fish oils improve heart function post heart attack

According to a new study just published 3 days ago in the journal Circulation high dose fish oils post heart attack improved heart function and reduced scarring.

After a heart attack the shape and function of the heart can change which could end up leading to heart failure. Unfortunately there are limited things that can improve healing of the heart or prevent adverse remodeling. This new study demonstrates the significant role of omega-3 fatty acids in supporting the structure and tissue of the heart.

The study included 360 heart attack survivors. Researchers compared patients taking 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily for six months to those taking a placebo. There was a 5.8% reduction in left ventricular end-systolic volume index (predicts patient outcome) and a 5.6% reduction in fibrosis formation in the non-damaged heart muscle of the fish oil group.

The treatment was safe and effective. Both groups received treatment based on guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association. Blood tests were used to confirm that patients in the omega-3 fatty acids group were compliant to the treatment.

This study is significant since heart failure is a major problem post heart attack. The results demonstrate that omega-3 fatty acids help to improve cardiac remodeling which allows the heart to contract better and decreases fibrosis in the region that is not damaged.

Fish oil supplementation is essential for cardiovascular health. Some doctors recommend fish oils to improve LDL particle size and lower triglycerides as well as for their anti-inflammatory properties and simply for their support of overall health since these fats are essential for the normal function of all of our cells.

Patients with heart failure are individuals who have a disruption in their metabolic processes and as the heart muscle weakens it cannot meet metabolic demands. Thus additional nutrients are also essential for these individuals including the energy-supportive nutrients ribose CoQ10 and l-carnitine.

Ribose is a key nutrient for quickly restoring cardiac energy stores. It is needed to synthesize adenine nucleotides certain vitamins and other important cellular compounds.

CoQ10 plays a central role in the production of ATP and is required for muscle contraction and other cellular processes.

Carnitine supports the heart by the delivery of fat to the heart muscle which is its main fuel source.

In addition magnesium and potassium should be considered to support all cardiovascular conditions. These nutrients are often depleted in heart failure most commonly by the use of diuretic medications.

By Michael Jurgelewicz DC DACBN DCBCN