If you give patients with a history of heart attacks a margarine enriched with omega-3 oils, in addition to standard drugs, it appears to make no difference to their chances of having a repeat attack.
A 40-month study of around 4,800 patients showed that taking low doses of omega-3 fatty acids in margarine did not significantly reduce rates of serious heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, Dutch researchers said recently. The margarines used in the study were developed for the researchers by food and consumer goods giant Unilever.
Previous studies have shown omega-3 makes for healthier hearts.
Doctors, however, are unlikely to rush to change clinical practice. Many already prescribe omega-3 fish oil capsules to reduce triglycerides, a type of blood fat linked to clogged arteries.
Unilever, whose margarine brands with omega-3 include Flora and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, said the lack of benefit seen with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid was surprising, considering the weight of evidence published to date. “The results indicate that more investigation is required into the efficacy of vegetable omega-3, but do not question the current authoritative dietary recommendations and advices for omega-3 intakes on which our products are based,” the company said in a statement.