Most of us know by now that Omega 3 fats are essential for preventing breast cancer, slowing the aging process, halting skin cancer progression, increasing cognitive function, and improving cardiovascular health. But two substantial medical reviews have deduced that omega-3 fatty acids from plants reduce the incidence of heart disease and heart attacks while fish oil has only a slight (“insignificant”) effect.
The most recent of these two reviews coming from scientists at Harvard Medical School joined with experts from several other prestigious universities purports that increased consumption of alpha-linolenic acid (the type found in plants) resulted in a 14% total reduction of heart attacks and associated cardiovascular events.
This was found after reviewing clinical trials for 251,049 human subjects. The studies included over 15,000 heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. From using ALA, patients realized a reduction in cardiovascular events that was as high as 20%.
In another large review of research, published in September’s Journal of the American Medical Association and coming from medical researchers from Greece’s Ioannina University Medical School and Hospital, researchers utilized the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials of research for fish oil and cardiovascular health conducted through 2012.
These researchers found that while fish oil did slightly reduce heart attack incidence by 11% and heart attack-related deaths by 9% (among 68,680 human subjects) they concluded that fish oil supplementation:
“. . .was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.”
Essentially, there wasn’t enough of a difference from the margin of error to claim fish oil reduces heart attacks or cardiovascular events.
Supporting the conflicting evidence, the researchers also stated:
“Treatment with marine-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the prevention of major cardiovascular adverse outcomes has been supported by a number of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and refuted by others.”
Alpha-linolenic omega-3s which are derived from plants are evidently the best way to keep a heart attack at bay. Try camelina oil, derived from wild flax, as a great source of plant-based Omega 3s.