Swiss investigators reviewed 97 randomized, controlled clinical trials, which involved over 275,000 subjects. They looked at comparing the reduction in cardiovascular deaths between individuals who were taking the lipid lowering drugs called statins, those who consumed higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids, and a controlled group or placebo group.
The statin group reduced cardiovascular deaths by 22%, while the omega-3 fatty acid group decreased cardiovascular disease by 32%. Statin drugs reduced overall mortality by 13%; however, the omega-3 fatty acid group reduced overall mortality by 23%.
These were significant findings and brought up the fact that supplementing your diet with high-quality omega-3 fatty acids from pharmaceutical-grade filtered fish oil was more effective than the expensive statin drugs when it came to cardiovascular death and overall mortality.
Now statin drugs have been shown to decrease inflammation and part of their clinical effectiveness is due to this aspect of these drugs. So researchers are not sure if it is the lowering of cholesterol or the anti-inflammatory aspect of these drugs that provide their health benefits. However, omega-3 fats are the building blocks of the body’s natural anti-inflammatories.
In fact, supplemental intake of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in filtered fish oil has been shown to significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body, including our arteries. They also do not have the adverse side effects that the statin drugs have. Studer M, Briel M, et al. “Effect of different antilipidemic agents and diet on mortality: a systematic review.”
Archives of Internal Medicine, 2005 April 11;165(7):725-30