The team says that omega-3 fatty acids, whether animal or vegetable-based, contribute to heart health and function, as demonstrated by the sample size’s lower overall risk of complications after a heart attack.
“The inclusion of marine and vegetable omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease is an integrative strategy to improve the quality of life and the prognosis of myocardial infarction,” says Antoni Bayés, clinical director for cardiology at German triad.
In the long term, patients with coronary artery disease (CHD) are at risk of secondary cardiovascular events (CV), which represent a significant burden for survivors of myocardial infarction beyond the period of acute care.
Diets high in seafood are strongly associated with lower risk of fatal CV events, particularly sudden cardiac death.
The membrane accumulation of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is believed to play a role in beneficial cardiac effects associated with long-term consumption of fatty fish and fish oils.
The membrane EPA not only promotes more efficient myocardial oxygen consumption, but also protects against a variety of cardiac stressors.
Research has suggested that EPA build-up in cardiac membranes due to continued consumption of fatty fish or fish oils could limit the degree of myocardial damage in the event of a heart attack.
Study details .
Researchers from the German hospital and research institute Trias i Pujol (IGTP) and the medical research institute Hospital del Mar (IMIM) used data from 950 patients.
The omega-3 levels in the blood of these patients were recorded when they were hospitalized after a heart attack, as a measure of the amount and type of fats consumed before the heart attack.
In addition to recording blood eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels, the team also recorded alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) levels.
This omega-3 fat found in walnuts and soybeans did not compete with EPA, it was complementary.
While high EPA levels are associated with a lower risk of readmission for cardiovascular reasons, higher ALA levels are associated with a reduced risk of death.
Patients were monitored for three years after discharge, with researchers establishing the link between high levels of omega-3s in the blood at the time of the heart attack and a lower risk of complications.
Mechanism of action.
The team suggests a cardioprotective mechanism for these fats, suggesting that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids build up cardiomyocyte membranes that partially displace arachidonic acid.
When a heart attack occurs, the decreased blood flow and oxygen levels in the heart muscle triggers the breakdown of fatty acids from the heart muscle membranes.
The released fatty acids are then converted into oxylipins, which can promote inflammation. The released arachidonic acid also promotes inflammation, which increases damage to the heart muscle.
“In contrast, split omega-3 fatty acids are converted into anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, which limits ischemic myocardial damage. This leads to a reduced risk of long-term cardiac events, ”the study suggests.
In conclusion, the team recommends that for heart patients or patients with CV risk factors, the consumption of marine and vegetable omega-3 fatty acids can serve as an “integrative strategy to improve quality of life and life expectancy in the event of a heart attack”. .
“These results may also explain, in part, the paradoxical observation that countries with typically high seafood intakes such as Japan and Spain have lower CAD death rates despite high prevalence of CV risk factors.”