Taking supplements of Omega-3, the fatty acids found in fish, showed no added benefits for heart attack patients, a German study found Monday, contradicting previous research.
"The OMEGA trial found no significant differences in the rates of heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death or death from any cause among patients assigned to guidelines-based optimal medical care alone or optimal medical care plus Omega-3 fatty acids," the study said.
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But it goes against the findings of earlier studies which have said Omega-3 extracts can prolong the lives of heart attack patients.
The study authors said, however, that those studies had been conducted when the treatment for heart conditions was not as advanced as it is today.
"In our study, we saw no beneficial effect. In patients who are already taking optimal medical therapy, cardiac event rates become very low and Omega-3 do not further improve them," said Jochen Senges, a professor of cardiology at the Heart Center Ludwigshafen, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
The study involved 3,827 patients from 104 German hospitals, heart centers and university hospitals.
Between three to 14 days after suffering a heart attack, patients were randomly prescribed one year's treatment with highly purified Omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo.
"It would be incorrect to say that Omega-3 fatty acids are not effective, but we could not find any additional benefits after optimizing medical therapy," Senges said.