Want fish oil to protect cardiovascular health? – Requires a high degree of purification

According tomedia reports, it is well known that a fish-rich diet has some health benefits for the heart, but there are doubts about the benefits of taking a variety of fish oil and omega-3 health products. A new analysis has found that while taking fish oil may have important protective effects on a person’s cardiovascular health, there is a problem: the results are based on taking a highly purified fish oil that is not available on the counter.

Want fish oil to protect cardiovascular health? - Requires a high degree of purification


The statistical analysis, from the University of California, Irvine, predicts that the use of highly purified fish oil may have a profound effect on preventing dangerous cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack. The substance, known as icosapent ethyl, is a stable purification version of EPA, one of two long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in common omega-3 health products.

The analysis extracted data from a number of sources, including the REDUCE-IT trial, which found that the highly purified fish oil could be significantly beneficial to people with diabetes or heart disease and high levels of triglycerides. According to REDUCE-IT, patients taking icosapent ethyl had a 25 percent risk of cardiovascular disease.

Based on these findings, the new analysis looks at the potential impact of this purified fish oil on adults with diabetes or heart disease in the United States and other risk factors for cardiovascular events. The results showed that the treatment could prevent more than 70,000 such incidents per year, equivalent to one in 21 patients.

Currently, in the U.S., icosapent ethyl can only be used in the form of a prescription drug called Vascepa, which was recently approved by the FDA to treat patients with high triglycerides and meet certain other criteria. The drug was approved for use with statins.