The omega-3 essential fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may reduce the recurrence of certain types of stroke, according to newly released research from Japan.
The two main types of strokes are ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel that feeds the brain. Without a steady supply of blood, that area of the brain malfunctions or dies. With hemorrhagic strokes, a burst blood vessel causes the damage.
Typical symptoms associated with stroke include sudden numbness, tingling or weakness on one side of the body; sudden vision changes; trouble speaking; confusion; sudden, severe headache and balance problems. Experiencing these symptoms always warrants an immediate trip to the emergency room, as faster treatment often leads to better outcomes and less permanent effects.
Once a patient recovers, it’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe anti-clotting medications to prevent recurrence. But sometimes it’s hard to choose a safe drug in patients at high risk for bleeding. So investigators in this study examined the anti-inflammatory/blood thinner EPA as a potential natural therapy to prevent secondary stroke.
Seventy-one stroke survivors took part in this study (10 hemorrhagic and 61 ischemic). Results showed that six people in the ischemic group suffered another stroke, and these particular patients had other complications such as high cholesterol levels or kidney dysfunction. However, no stroke recurrence occurred in the hemorrhagic group.
Nakase T, et al. Clin Transl Med. 2015 Dec;4(1):62. Epub 2015 Jun 11.