New research finds a common supplement may help heart attack patients heal.
Jim Kelley suffered a heart attack eight years ago. "I didn't know it was my heart. I just wasn't feeling good," Kelley said.
The now 80 year-old took part in a study at Brigham and Women's Hospital to see if Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil would help his heart heal.
"On average there's a 6-percent improvement in the heart function and also in suppressing scarring formation in the heart muscle," said the hospital's Dr. Raymond Kwong.
The study looked at 360 patients who got either high doses of Omega 3s, or a placebo, for six months after their heart attack. Researchers used MRIs to looked at the hearts before and after.
Heart failure is a big concern after a heart attack, because the heart's function and shape can change afterward. Doctor Raymond Kwong cautions that heart attack survivors shouldn't just start taking fish oil. "The medication we used was an FDA approved purified form of fish oil," he said. "Whether that has the same components as what one can buy as a dietary supplement remains to be further studied.
Patients in the study didn't suffer any serious side effects. Six months after taking the fish oil, doctors saw a significant difference in Kelley's heart. "I'm terrific -- like I never had a heart attack," he said.
Kelley says he feels like he can do anything, and he is staying active.
The study also found the Omega 3s may have some anti-inflammatory benefits for heart attack survivors.
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