If you've survived a heart attack, I'm sure it's not an experience you're eager to repeat. Fortunately, there's an easy way you can strengthen your heart and help keep another attack from occurring.
You may have heard that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are good for your cardiovascular health. That's certainly true. But researchers weren't sure how beneficial they were for people who had already experienced a heart attack. They decided to find out by dividing a group of 358 people who had experienced an acute myocardial infarction into two groups for a double-blind placebo-controlled study. One group received a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids and the other group received a placebo for six months.
The researchers used an MRI to evaluate a number of factors related to the participants' cardiac structure and heart tissue, both before and after the study. In particular, they were looking for reductions in the participants' left ventricular systolic volume index and noninfarct myocardial fibrosis. The patients taking the omega-3 fatty acids showed significant reductions of around 5% on both measures compared to the placebo group. Those whose omega-3 fatty acid levels went up the most experienced even better results. They had approximately a 13% reduction in left ventricular systolic volume index compared to those whose omega-3 levels went up the least.
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Moreover, the participants receiving the omega-3 fatty acids experienced significant reductions in their systemic and vascular inflammation levels. You probably know by now how important mitigating inflammation is to your overall health! None of the participants experienced negative side effects from the omega-3 fatty acids either.
If you've suffered a heart attack previously (or want to avoid one in the first place), I highly recommend that you make sure you're getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. While many fish are rich in these fats, most of us don't eat enough seafood on a regular basis to keep our levels sufficiently high. A supplement is an easy way to ensure you're getting enough of these healthy oils. My favorite is Complete Daily Oils, which features a blend of both fish- and plant-based oils to give you both EPA and DHA. You'll also get CoQ10, mixed tocopherols, and alpha-lipoic acid to further support your heart health.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD