The importance of omega-3 fatty acids to human health first appeared as benefits to the heart. They were initially identified as heart-health protectors that helped keep cholesterol balanced, triglycerides low and blood flow easier through veins and arteries.
Decades of research has proven there’s much more to them than that. They are now known to play key roles in the structure and function of the heart and the veins and arteries that make up the entire cardiovascular system. Just how powerful omega-3 fatty acids are for heart health was driven home in a review article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 84 pp. 5-17; July 2006).
Researchers looked at a total of 43 studies. Those that made up the largest groups, more than 340,000 participants, reported “significant reductions” in risks to heart health, making a large step forward toward greater assurance of benefits. One study reported that an 850 mg dose of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) resulted in a 21% reduction in death from all causes; a 35% reduction in cardiac death and a 45% reduction in sudden death. In their conclusion the Columbia University researchers stated, “We believe that the body of evidence is strong enough to suggest that in the United States, certainly, and in other countries where omega-3 fatty acid consumption is low, public health initiatives are needed to increase intakes.”