According to the Japanese study, Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA — the essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid[omega-3 fatty acids] abundant in oily fish — may help protect stroke patients from suffering a second stroke[heart stroke].
In a study of people with high cholesterol who were taking a low dose of a cholesterol-lowering “statin,” researchers found that adding EPA did not reduce the occurrence of a first stroke but did lower recurrence rates in those with a history of stroke.
The finding, published in the journal Stroke, stems from a large study of patients with elevated cholesterol levels who were randomly assigned to a low dose of pravastatin or simvastatin daily alone or with 1800 milligrams daily of EPA for roughly 5 years.
Of the 9,326 patients in the EPA group, 485 had a history of stroke, as compared with 457 of the 9,319 patients in the no-EPA group.
Dr. Kortaro Tanaka of Toyama University Hospital and colleagues found that rates of first stroke were 1.3 percent and 1.5 percent in the EPA and no-EPA groups — a nonsignificant difference.
However, there were far fewer second strokes in the EPA group. The recurrent stroke rates were 6.8 percent in the EPA group versus 10.5 percent in the no-EPA group — a significant difference.
The researchers note that because this trial used purified EPA instead of the fish oil used in previous studies, the preventive effects on stroke can be attributed to EPA.
Read more information at Reuters