October 30, 2018 – How EPA Works


Anchor lead: Does it make sense that an EPA product would help in cardiovascular disease? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Vascepa is the name of a concentrated omega-3 fatty acid product that the manufacturer has released results about ahead of any scientific meeting or validation, showing about a 25% reduction in cardiovascular events in those at risk when 4 grams of the drug were taken per day.  Michael Blaha, a preventive cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, says these fatty acids, known as EPA, have known effects.

Blaha: Without a doubt, EPA lowers triglycerides. So we’ve appreciated that blood triglycerides are a causal risk factor for heart disease. Yet we didn’t have evidence until perhaps now that lowering triglycerides was a good thing. But EPA also does a bunch of other things that are potentially beneficial. They inhibit platelets so they thin the blood a little bit. They’re antioxidant and anti-inflammatory drugs, they seem to have a protective effect on heart cells. So it could be when these data are published that EPA has a variety of beneficial effects.  :30

Blaha looks forward to more complete data at the American Heart Association meeting. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.