Not getting enough omega-3—a heart-healthy fatty acid found commonly in fatty fish—may increase your risk of death from heart disease. An analysis of 1,487 heart attack sufferers found that seven key risk factors for heart attack were present in those with low levels of omega-3.

These risk factors were

  • smoking,
  • diabetes,
  • frequent fast food consumption,
  • infrequent fish consumption,
  • Caucasian,
  • younger than 60, and
  • not taking omega-3 supplements.

Since blood tests for omega-3 aren't typically used for heart-disease screening, these indicators might help determine if you could benefit from omega-3 supplements.

Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, vol. 86, p. 626; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 08 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 08 Jul 2013