Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: new evidence supports cardiovascular benefits
A notable public health controversy during the past decade has been whether omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are beneficial in either the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), chiefly in coronary heart disease (CHD), in arrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation, and in relation to surgery. Both proponents and opponents have substantial evidence to support their views. Since CVD is the leading cause of death in the world, less toxic and dietary approaches have considerable appeal. As a result, even though about half of Americans eat less fish than is recommended, supplemental “fish oil” is used by 8.9% of the American population, with a market in excess of US$32 billion worldwide. Therefore, the question of whether the benefits of this investment are supported by science is relevant to cardiology societies and public health officials in formulating evidence-based policies—and to consumers in guiding their decisions.