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Omega 3 fatty acids inhibit blood clotting

(Vienna, 1st August 2011) - Cardiologists at the MedUni Vienna have now discovered a possible protective effect of omega 3 fatty acids in patients with chronic heart failure that may also be of benefit to other cardiac patients: these fatty acids apparently primarily inhibit blood clotting.

According to Hermann Toplak, metabolic expert at the Medical University Hospital in Graz, the protective effect of fish oil or extracts may come from the direct influence of these fatty acids on the blood. It is assumed that fish oils protect directly against an infarct event by inhibiting (blood) platelet coagulation, keeping vessels patent. Fish oil is known to primarily reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. There are other effects, however.

The Italian cardiologists of the GISSI study group, who are of global renown among specialist circles, demonstrated this in a scientific paper involving 11,000 patients which was published in 1999 in the Lancet. Daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of cardiac-related death In this study, the frequency of sudden cardiac-related death fell in at-risk patients by 45 per cent if they took omega 3 fatty acids (300 milligrams) daily.

They clearly have an anti-arrhythmic effect. In other words, they decrease the flutter threshold of cardiac muscle cells and therefore have a protective effect against sudden cardiac-related death. The direct effects on the blood of cardiac patients clearly include the effect of high doses of omega 3 fatty acids in patients with chronic heart failure and with no severe atherosclerosis-related damage to the coronary vessels, as Deddo Mörtl (University Department of Internal Medicine II) and his co-authors have now published in the specialist journal “Thrombose und Hämostase” on 28th July 2011.

The test subjects were 36 patients with chronic heart failure who were given one gram or four grams of omega 3 fatty acids or capsules containing no equivalent content (placebo) every day for three months. The blood tests revealed clear results: both one gram of the polyunsaturated fatty acids and four grams had an inhibitory effect on the activation of the blood platelets and reduced the concentration of tissue factor, which is important in the formation of clots. According to the authors, the higher dose of omega 3 fatty acids also had an anti-inflammatory effect. Patients with chronic heart failure have been found to have higher levels of inflammatory activity and elevated activity of blood clotting mechanisms.