New Analysis of Landmark Study Reveals a Very Different Finding

New Analysis of Landmark Study Reveals a very different finding

Research on the use and health impact of omega-3s is controversial. Study designs, patient populations and the types of supplements used vary widely, and researchers have found inconsistent results.

The 2019 VITAL study of nearly 26,000 U.S. residents concluded that supplementation with omega-3s had no effect on cardiovascular disease or cancer. But research led by Floyd “Ski” Chilton, director of the University of Arizona Center for Precision Nutrition & Wellness, used the study’s raw data to zoom in on the effectiveness of omega-3s specific to the 5,106 African American subjects.

High-resolution statistical analysis suggested that omega-3s did, in fact, reduce myocardial infarction (heart attacks) in African Americans who have elevated cardiovascular risk factors and who don’t eat high amounts of fish – an effect not observed in European Americans.

Researchers then applied AI to identify two large, equal-number subsets from among the VITAL participants, clinically matched in all ways except that one group was entirely of African ancestry, the other, European.

Preliminary results from this study also suggest that African Americans, but not European Americans, have a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in response to omega-3s. 

Chilton has been at the vanguard of science studying the interaction between diet and ancestral-based genetic variation. Earlier work showed that selective pressures on the African continent 80,000 years ago altered fatty acid metabolism – an imbalance that supplementation with omega-3s can help rebalance in populations with African ancestry.


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