OSLO, NORWAY. There is now substantial evidence that fish and fish oil consumption protects against sudden death from coronary heart disease. There is also evidence that fish consumption reduces the risk of dying from a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction). Researchers at the University of Oslo sought to determine if a relationship exists between taking fish oils and heart attack severity.
The researchers reported that heart attack patients who had supplemented with cod liver oil (providing approximately 950 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 800 mg of docosahexaenoic acid per day) or fish oil capsules (providing approximately 700-1100 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 500-750 mg of docosahexaenoic acid per day) for at least 4 weeks prior to their attack tended to have substantially milder attacks than did patients who did not supplement. The study involved 753 patients who were admitted to hospital with a heart attack and discharged alive. The researchers found that patients who had taken cod liver oil or fish oil tended to have smaller infarcts (small localized areas of dead tissue resulting from a disruption of the blood supply to the areas) than did non-supplementing patients. The researchers conclude that fish oils may reduce infarct size and the incidence of large (more debilitating) infarcts and also seem to enhance the effect of thrombolysis (the dissolution of blood clots by the infusion of an enzyme such as streptokinase).
Landmark, Knud, et al. Use of fish oils appears to reduce infarct size as estimated from peak creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase activities. Cardiology, Vol. 89, 1998, pp. 94-102 [68 references]