Heart & Circulation: Fish oil and vitamin K2 increase chances for a healthy life

Fish oil improves survival rates

Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA, which doctors have long recommended for preventing heart and circulatory disease, but clinical studies have had conflicting findings. The small size of some placebo trials, and the
fact that they require ideal, controlled conditions, make it difficult to generalize the results to large, inclusive populations.

In order to get a more complete picture of the heart and circulatory benefits of omega-3 fish oil, doctors in this long-term study used a large population in a real-world setting. Measuring the diets of 427,678 men and women, aged 40 to 69, without a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start, doctors followed up over the next eight to 12 years.

Overall, those who regularly used fish oil with EPA and DHA were 16 percent less likely to have died from heart or circulatory disease, and 13 percent less likely to have died from any cause, compared to those who did not regularly use omega-3 fish oil.

The benefits occurred regardless of the dose or number of years of follow-up, or whether participants smoked, drank alcohol, were overweight, sedentary, or had other chronic ailments.

Vitamin K2 reduces heart disease

Prior studies established that vitamin K helps prevent arterial calcification, but its effects on heart disease are unsettled. In this study, doctors measured the diets of 2,987 Norwegian men and women, aged 46 to 49, without a diagnosis of heart disease at the start.

Over 11 years of follow-up, those with the highest levels of vitamin K2
in the diet were half as likely to have developed heart disease compared to those with the lowest vitamin K2 levels. Doctors also observed a consistent link: as levels of vitamin K2 increased, chances for heart disease decreased.

Reference: BMJ; 2020, 368: M456, PUBLISHED ONLINE

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