Health Sachet No 313:

Omega-3 fish oil has been used for decades to lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, slow the progression of artery-clogging plaque, decrease clotting tendencies and lower the chance of irregular heartbeats.

Now, a new study finds it may also help in healing after a heart attack.

Taking 4 gm of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil daily for six months after a heart attack improved the function of the heart by 6% and reduced scarring in the undamaged muscle by 6%.

Note that a standard capsule of fish oil contains 1000-1500 mg of fish oil, which contains 300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA (fish oil is not the same as omega-3 fatty acids; 1000-1500 mg of fish oil typically contains 300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, taken together).

The United States FDA says one can safely take 3000 mg of DHA + EPA (10 capsules) a day. The European Food Safety Authority (EFPA) says taking 5000 mg of DHA + EPA daily (16 capsules) is safe.

The study above is talking about 4000 mg (4 gm) daily of DHA + EPA, which means 13 fish oil capsules.

The heart’s shape and function changes after a heart attack and can lead to heart failure and death. There are very few therapies that can prevent these adverse heart changes.

An earlier study had shown that omega-3 fish oil was associated with improved survival for heart attack patients. But the role of omega-3 fatty acids in improving the structure and tissue of the heart after a heart attack was unknown.

In this study, omega-3 fish oil was found to be effective for the above. It allowed heart to contract better and also reduced fibrosis in the region that was not damaged. Omega-3 fish oil also showed anti-inflammatory properties.

High dose of omega-3 (more than 10 capsules a day) should be taken by heart attack patients only under the supervision of a doctor, since it causes blood-thinning and heart attack patients are often on other blood thinners (anti-clotting agents) for lifetime.

High dose omega-3 fish oil capsules can help prevent post-heart-attack heart failure and death.