Study shows benefit of fish oil
Results from a recent study on fish oil shows prescription strength fish oil pills may help lower triglycerides.
Triglycerides are fats that circulate in the blood. High triglycerides can lead to narrowing of the arteries and are associated with cardiovascular disease.
About 25 percent of U.S. adults have triglyceride levels above 150 mg/dL, which is borderline high. Rates of elevated triglycerides are on the rise in the United States due to growing rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which boost triglyceride levels. High triglycerides may also cause severe pancreatitis.
“These study results are exciting,” says St. Luke’s Hospital Cardiology Clinic Cardiologist Dr. A. Ersin Atay. “This is the first fish oil study shown to reduce triglycerides and as a result lower cardiovascular events and death.”
The REDUCE-IT study included patients with high triglyceride levels and who had heart disease or risk factors for cardiac events or death. Patients were prescribed a very specific fish oil pill, icosapent ethyl, which contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The study included more than 8,000 participants and results showed the prescription fish oil decreased triglyceride levels significantly as well as adverse cardiac events and deaths.
Many individuals take over the counter fish oil supplements with the hope of health and heart benefits. However over the counter fish oil supplements have not been studied, nor are they monitored by the FDA.
Dr. Atay explains, “It doesn’t mean that over the counter fish oil doesn’t work, it just hasn’t been researched. The value of this study shows the value of prescription fish oil. It has been researched and the results of the study show it does what they thought it would do.”
Dr. Atay states this study is the precurser to more research studies in the future around fish oil, studying different types of fish oils and using different patient populations.
“This is a very exciting study as it’s the first fish oil shown to work. Yet it’s a very specific patient population, and patients should discuss the benefits with their primary care provider,” explains Dr. Atay.
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