Fish Oil can decrease Heart Attacks: A Claim

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By Mukta kaushik,

 NEW DELHI : Recently a research by manufacturing company called Amarin claimed that Vascepa, a medicine approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cuts risks of major cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke by as much as 25%.

Amarin has been conducting this study on the drug since 2011, overseen by steering committee chair and Harvard University cardiology professor, Dr. Deepak Bhatt at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

This study involved more than 8100 high-risk patients from around the world. All of the study participants were already taking statins, most commonly prescribed drug to help control cholesterol levels, and only half of them were also given Vascepo. The study concluded that those who got both medications were 25% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other major cardiovascular problems, be hospitalized or die from these problems.

The main reason for heart diseases is ‘bad’ Cholesterol-low density lipoprotein (LDL) – and another form of fat called triglycerides. These fat cells build up in the arteries, making passageways for bloodnarrower. So, the heart has to work much harder. Heart attack, stroke and heart failure risks are much higher among patients who have high LDL cholesterol. LDL comes from foods that are high in saturated fats, including dairy products, red meat, and fried foods or trans- fats, found in many sweets and baked goods.

So, Amarin claims that its fish oil ester, Vascepa does well enough to drastically reduce the risks of heart or stroke. But till now the American Heart Association (AHA) does not endorse it but suggests that medications may be useful in addition to diet and lifestyle changes for those whose cholesterol remains high. However, according to Dr. David Brown a cardiologist with Washington University, St Louis, the results may be manipulated by measuring deaths that may be reduced by a small percentage, but hospitalizations were significantly less common among those taking the capsules, thus driving the result to 25%. Thus, specific numbers are required before anything can be stated.

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