New study reinforces importance of dietary fish oils for cardiovascular health

13 April 2015

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13 April 2015 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today said new research reinforces the importance of dietary fish oils for cardiovascular health.
This was in response to a recently published review by the National Heart Foundation of Australia of studies of omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health. The review examined the role of dietary fish oils and supplementation in primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, lowering plasma triglycerides, and as an adjunct in treating heart failure.

Adequate dietary intake of fish was consistently found to be of benefit for protection from heart disease and stroke. Higher fish intake was associated with lower incident rates of heart failure in addition to lower sudden cardiac death, stroke and myocardial infarction.

Based on this review, the Heart Foundation is recommending that Australians eat two to three serves of fish (including oily fish) per week. They also support omega-3 supplementation in patients with heart failure and for those with high levels of blood triglycerides.

ASMI Executive Director, Dr Deon Schoombie, said: "While we always welcome new research that adds to the knowledge base, in this case the question of whether people get enough fish oils in their diet needs to be asked."

"Essential nutrients should come from a healthy diet, however, research shows that 60% of Australians don't eat the recommended amount of fish each week. 2
"We are pleased that the Heart Foundation recognises this challenge and agrees that supplements will provide people who don't eat fish with some level of marine-sourced omega-3s."

Dr Schoombie also noted that most people who use omega-3 supplements do so for reasons other than heart health.

"Industry research tells us that 86% of people who buy omega-3 supplements do so for joint health and general wellbeing.

"With the majority of Australian's continuing not to eat enough fish, omega-3 supplements still play an important role in helping people to consume marine-sourced omega-3s."
-ENDS-

References
1. Nestel, P. et al. Indications for Omega-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid in the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease. Heart, Lung and Circulation, April 2015.

2. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Position statement. Fish, fish oils, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular health. Updated in November 2008. http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Fish-position-statement.pdf

3. Newspoll Omega-3 Health Survey. Conducted 2-4 March 2012 by phone interview with 1,206 Australian adults aged 18 years and over.
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