ATHENS GREECE. A team of British and Greek medical researchers report that fish oils benefit angina patients. Their study involved 39 patients (37 men and 2 women) with stable angina pectoris who had experienced at least 6 angina attacks in the 2 weeks prior to the start of the trial. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either 10 grams of fish oil (providing 1.8 g eicosapentaenoic acid and 1.2 g docosahexaenoic acid) every day or 10 grams of olive oil daily. The daily supplements were supplied in the form of 5 identical looking capsules. The trial lasted for a total of 12 weeks and the patients were evaluated at baseline and after 8 and 12 weeks of supplementation.
By the end of the 12 weeks the number of weekly angina attacks had decreased by 41% in the fish oil group with no change observed in the olive oil group. The use of nitroglycerin (glyceryl trinitrate) tablets decreased by 38% in the fish oil group and also decreased slightly (not statistically significant) in the olive oil group. Exercise tolerance, as measured on a treadmill, increased by 22.6% in the fish oil group, but no change was observed in the olive oil group. The blood level (fasting) of triglycerides decreased by 22% eight weeks into the test in the fish oil group, but then tended to approach pre-trial levels again by the 12th week. No statistically significant changes in blood coagulation parameters were observed in either group. The researchers conclude that low-dose supplements of fish oils may benefit patients with coronary artery disease.
Salachas, Anastasios, et al. Effects of low-dose fish oil concentrate on angina, exercise tolerance time, serum triglycerides, and platelet function. Angiology, Vol. 45, December 1994, pp. 1023-31