Fish Oil May Help Heart Attack Recovery

Medically Reviewed

A large daily dose of fish oil might help the heart heal in the months following a heart attack. That’s according to a clinical trial of nearly 360 patients who were randomly assigned to take fish oil or placebo pills after suffering a heart attack.

Over six months, patients given fish oil showed fewer signs of cardiac remodeling—changes in the heart’s shape and function that can eventually lead to heart failure.

The study included patients who’d had a heart attack in the past two to four weeks. Half were given a six-month supply of fish oil pills and told to take 4 grams a day; the rest were given placebo pills. All patients were on standard medications like aspirin and a statin.

After six months, the fish oil group showed several signs of stronger recovery: less evidence of remodeling in the heart’s main pumping chamber, less heart muscle scarring, and lower levels of certain inflammatory proteins in the blood.

The high fish oil doses used in this study did appear safe. However, bleeding is a concern, particularly if you are on medications that increase that risk. So while fish oil is sold over the counter, you should use it only under medical supervision.

Source: CIRCULATION, published online August 2016