Two major studies published on Saturday show that fish oil-derived medicines are effective in protecting people against fatal heart attacks, strokes and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Extensive multi-year research efforts have tested different formulations and amounts of omega-3-based medicines on two groups of people: one with cardiovascular disease or diabetes and another with the general population. Both studies showed that people who took these medications every day were protected against certain heart and circulatory problems compared to those receiving a placebo. Looking at another commonly consumed supplement, Vitamin D, the researchers found no effect on heart disease, but found a link to a decrease in the number of cancer deaths over time. The research was published Saturday at the 2018 scientific sessions of the American Heart Association in Chicago and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the United States, about 43 million people consume statins to lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and these drugs are known to have reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke. But heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans. In recent years, the number of deaths due to heart disease has declined steadily and steadily. Researchers are therefore looking for other ways to combat cardiovascular disease than known protective factors, such as changes in diet, exercise and smoking. One of the studies unveiled on Saturday, named REDUCE-IT, showed that people with cardiovascular disease who were already taking statins had a lower risk of serious heart problems when they were also given two grams of Vascepa medication ( ethyl icosapent). day. The drug is a purified version of a fish oil component that targets triglycerides, another type of fat in the blood. High triglycerides can harden or thicken arteries, potentially leading to strokes and heart attacks. People who took the drug were compared to those who received a placebo. The study involved more than 8,000 people. The drug is manufactured by Amarin Corp., which sponsored the research. In September, Amarin announced that the study had achieved its main goals. Deepak L. Bhatt, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, said the findings could change the practice of cardiology in the same way as the introduction of statins more than 30 years ago. "Honestly, I have been doing clinical trials for a long time. And I did not participate in a lawsuit that could improve the lives of maybe tens of millions of people, "said Bhatt. In 2007, a large study conducted in Japan showed that the same component of fish oil used in the REDUCE-IT study was promising for protection against cardiovascular problems. But this research did not compare the substance to a placebo and was complicated by the large amount of fish in the typical Japanese diet. The other fish oil study published on Saturday, entitled VITAL, examined the effect of a different formulation of omega-3 fatty acids in a drug called Lovaza. The researchers followed nearly 26,000 people for more than five years on average. The results suggest that people who received the drug were 28% less likely to have heart attacks than those receiving a placebo, and 8% less likely to have various cardiovascular events. The effect was even more pronounced among African Americans, but the principal investigator said the results needed further study before they could be reliable. People who ate less than 1.5 servings of fish a week saw fewer heart attacks when they increased their intake of omega-3 while taking this medication. The study did not find any decrease in strokes. JoAnne Manson, head of the preventive medicine division at Brigham and Women's Hospital, who led the study, said the study "provides additional support. . . The benefits of omega-3s on heart health. "Mr. Manson has described the results as "promising signals" about fish oil consumption, but they are not conclusive enough to force people to start taking the drug or fish oil supplements. The study also showed that the drugs are safe enough for people already taking fish oil to have no reason to quit, she said at the time. ;an interview. The participants in the study received 840 milligrams of the major fatty acids in fish oil daily, which is less than a typical portion of salmon. "We encourage you to start with more fish in the diet and to have at least two servings a week," said Manson. "An advantage to do it through the diet. . . is that fish can replace red meat, saturated fats and processed foods. Lovaza is manufactured by GSK, but is available in generic form. The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The VITAL study also looked at vitamin D, often recommended to improve bone health in older women and for the overall health of other people. He found that vitamin had no effect on heart attacks or strokes and did not affect the incidence of cancer. However, research has shown that vitamin D consumption may play a role in reducing the number of cancer deaths two years or more later. Manson has suggested that vitamin D may help prevent cancers from metastasizing or becoming more invasive. But she said that this idea requires more research. She added that people who were already taking modest amounts of vitamin D, especially on the advice of doctors, had no reason to quit. But she warned against taking huge doses of vitamin, such as 5,000 or 10,000 international units a day, unless a clinician recommends it, because the safety of this practice is not not known. 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