Published on October 26, 2020

A meta-analysis of 40 randomized controlled trials shows supplementing with EPA and DHA can protect heart health and help prevent death due to cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, making strategies to help prevent and treat CVD of utmost importance. GrassrootsHealth has previously covered studies on nutrients showing beneficial effects on CVD, such as magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3s. Sunshine is also important for heart health!

A recent publication summarized below revisited the impact that omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) have on CVD risk and prevention.

Details about the study

A meta-analysis of 40 randomized controlled trials that used supplementation of EPA and DHA and included data from a total of 135,267 participants was conducted by Bernasconi et al. in order to quantify the effect of EPA and DHA supplementation on the outcomes and prevention of CVD. Supplementation amounts ranged from 400 mg/day to 5500 mg/day of EPA+DHA, with an average dose of 1221 mg/day. Specific outcomes of myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack, coronary heart disease (CHD) events, CVD events (comprised of MI, angina, stroke, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, sudden death, and emergency cardiovascular surgery), and death due to CHD or MI were all included as studied outcomes.

What did the study find?

Overall, the authors found that supplementation with EPA and DHA had a preventive effect on CVD, with a stronger effect associated with higher doses especially for CVD events and MI. More specifically, supplementation was associated with

  • 13% reduced risk of MI
  • 35% reduced risk of fatal MI
  • 10% reduced risk of CHD events
  • 9% reduced risk of CHD mortality

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While supplementation alone was not found to significantly reduce the risk of all combined CVD events (possibly due to how each study defined a CVD event and different dosages of EPA+DHA), further analysis showed that each increase in intake of EPA+DHA by 1 g/day was significantly associated with reducing the risk of all CVD events by 5.8% (P<0.01). The study also found a significant dose-dependent relationship for MI, with each additional 1 g/day of EPA+DHA resulting in a 9% further risk reduction (P<0.001).

Are You Getting Enough Omega-3s?

GrassrootsHealth offers several testing options to help measure the status of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – the Omega-3 Index, AA:EPA Ratio, and Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio. Learn more about these tests and the differences between them here. More information on how to improve these test results can be found here.

What is Your Level of Inflammation and Other Nutrients?

Using the GrassrootsHealth Custom Kit Builder, you can create a test kit that measures the status of nutrients important to the regulation of inflammation (such as vitamin D, omega-3s, and magnesium), as well as your CRP level. Click here to build and order your test kit today – measure your status and take the steps necessary to improve them if needed; make an impact on your health today and for your future! When you know what your levels are, you can determine next steps to take and how much supplementation may be needed if you are not at your target levels.

Concerned specifically about your immune health? See if your immune system might be needing more vitamin D and other immune boosting nutrients by enrolling in the Immune Boost Project with the Full Immune Boost Panel (which includes tests for vitamin D, Omega-3 Index, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, and hsCRP).

What Does it Take YOU to Get Your Vitamin D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?

Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.

STEP 1 – Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.

STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).

STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.

STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.

STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.

STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.

How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?

To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called

For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details.  This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!

How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!

STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health

STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study

STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there

STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)

Enroll in D*action and Build Your Custom Test Kit!