It is a common belief that omega 3 fatty acids provide protection from strokes and heart attacks, and improve overall health.
A review from the esteemed Cochrane collaboration pours cold water on this belief.
The review concludes that omega 3 provides ” little or no meaningful effect on the risk of death from any cause”.
They conclude that “omega 3 supplements probably makes little or no difference to risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart deaths, coronary heart disease events, stroke or heart irregularities”.
The review did find “moderate evidence that ALA, found in plant oils (such as rapeseed or canola oil) and nuts (particularly walnuts) may be slightly protective of some diseases of the heart and circulation”.
However, the effect was very small. They estimated that “143 people would need to increase their ALA intake to prevent one person developing arrhythmia”.
They also estimated that “One thousand people would need to increase their ALA intake to prevent one person dying of coronary heart disease or experiencing a cardiovascular event”.
Overall the review finds that overall “omega 3 provides little if any benefit at all”.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003177. https://www.cochrane.org/CD003177/VASC_omega-3-intake-cardiovascular-disease
Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only. See your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant for you.