Researchers from the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital and Research Institute (IGTP) and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona showed in a recent study that a diet rich in omega-3 helps to survive a heart attack. The fatty acids were found to reduce the risk of death and hospitalization for heart attacks. The results were recently presented in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology”.
The regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids through animal and vegetable foods strengthens the heart membranes and thus helps to reduce the risk of death in people who suffer a heart attack. A current Spanish nourishing study occupies this.
The working group analyzed the data of 950 patients, who were treated due to a heart attack in the hospital. The blood omega-3 content was measured in all participants. The measurement allows a very precise determination of how many fatty acids the patients consumed in the weeks before the heart attack. It was already shown that a high level of omega-3 in the blood reduced the risk of complications. After discharge from hospital, the test persons were monitored over a period of three years.
There are two major groups of omega-3 fatty acids: The so-called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is found mainly in fatty fish. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) also belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids and comes from vegetable foods such as walnuts and soybeans.
Omega-3 reduces the risk of complications of heart attacks
The researchers point out that the two types of omega-3 fatty acids perform different tasks and complement each other to some extent. For example, EPA is incorporated into the membranes of heart muscle cells. This accumulation reduces the damage caused by a heart attack.
The effects of ALA, on the other hand, have been much less studied. The current study shows that the two types of fatty acid do not have exactly the same effect, but seem to complement each other. For example, a high EPA level was more likely to be associated with a lower risk of being hospitalized again due to a cardiovascular cause. In contrast, higher levels of ALA were more strongly associated with a generally lower risk of death.
“The inclusion of marine and vegetable omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of patients at risk of cardiovascular disease is an integrative strategy to improve both their quality of life and their prognosis in the event of a heart attack,” summarizes Research Director Antoni Bayés. The study also highlights the complementary but not competing effects of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids. (vb)
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of death after a heart attack
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.