Want to Prevent a Heart Attack? One Nutrient Beats Out The Rest
Cholesterol-lowering statins have been shown to be ineffective for the main reason they’re prescribed — to prevent a first heart attack (primary prevention) in those with high cholesterol. To put that surprising fact in perspective: taking a statin to lower cholesterol in people without known heart disease lowers the risk of heart attack by a measly 1% — and dark chocolate is 25 times more powerful than that! Still, for anyone who has had a heart attack or has known heart disease, statins can be a very helpful way to prevent a second attack (secondary prevention).
But what if you’ve had a heart attack and want to further lower heart attack risk without statins? The answer: Take fish oil instead!
Dutch researchers studied more than 4,153 people who had suffered a first heart attack — 3,740 who regularly took a statin, and 413 who didn’t. The non-statin users who took fish oil had a 50% lower risk of a second heart attack compared to the non-statin users who didn’t take fish oil.
“Effects of n-3 fatty acids on major cardiovascular events in statin users and non-users with a history of myocardial infarction.” Eussen SR, Geleijnse JM, Giltay EJ, et al, Eur Heart J. 2012 Feb 1. [Epub ahead of print]
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Article updated on: March 23rd, 2012