The effects of Omega-3 on MI (MI as in myocardial infarction, aka "heart attack") survivors were investigated by supplementing the diet with daily doses of fish oil (1.08 g EPA, 0.72 g DHA), mustard oil (2.7 g / day, ALA), and a placebo. After one year, both the oil fish group and the mustard oil group showed a decrease in cardiac episodes, non-fatal infarcts, arrhythmias and chest pains, compared to the placebo group.
In the MARGARIN study, men and women with multiple cardiovascular risk factors were asked to consume margarines with high contents of ALA or linolenic acid (LA), and were submitted to a two-year follow up process. Findings showed that the 10-year estimated risk period of ischemic coronary condition decreased similarly in both groups. A decrease in cardiovascular episodes was shown in the ALA margarine group.
The rate of recurrence of cardiac episodes in individuals on the Mediterranean diet (with large ALA content) was compared to that of individuals on the typical Western diet. The difference in ALA intake in both groups was of 0.5 vs. 1.5 g per day. A remarkable reduction in the number of non-fatal MI episodes was found in the group consuming the Mediterranean diet. This study further confirms ALA’s anti-arrhythmic effects in humans.
A dosage-response relationship was identified between ALA consumption and reduction of fatal cardiac ischemic conditions in women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS). Similar effects were found in men in the Health Professionals’ Study, wherein a 1% increase in ALA intake was associated with a 40% decrease in relative risk of fatal AMI.
ALA intake is associated with a decrease in prevalence of cardiovascular conditions in a 40% in men and from 50 to 70% in women. Furthermore, ALA intake is specifically associated with a lesser risk of atherosclerosis of the carotid artery and to reduction in the carotid intima-media (IMT) thickness.
In one study, men in the highest quintile of ALA intake (expressed as percentage of energy) showed a reduction of 40% in the cardiovascular mortality rate. Similar effects were found in another study: men in the highest quintile of ALA intake had 25% less mortality in cardiovascular conditions.