Fish oil supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids may not prevent heart attacks or strokes in patients with diabetes, reports a new study. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In observational studies, higher intake of fish is linked to lower risks of stroke and coronary artery disease. However, earlier trials have not been able to confirm that taking fish oil supplements which contain omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular events.
‘Consuming fish oil supplements which contain omega-3 fatty acids failed to reduce cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes in patients with diabetes.’
The ASCEND (A Study of Cardiovascular Events in Diabetes) trial investigated whether fish oil supplements can lower the risk of a cardiovascular event in diabetic patients. The primary efficacy outcome was the first severe vascular event, which included non-fatal strokes, non-fatal heart attacks or transient ischemic attacks (also known as mini-strokes), or deaths from a cardiovascular cause.
"Our large, long-term randomized trial shows that fish oil supplements do not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes. This is a disappointing finding, but it is in line with previous randomized trials in other types of patient at increased risk of cardiovascular events which also showed no benefit of fish oil supplements," said Dr. Louise Bowman, the principal investigator of the study.
There is no reason for suggesting fish oil supplements to protect against cardiovascular events, he added.