Certain nutrients have been shown to be effective in preventing coronary heart disease. We hypothesized that a daily intake of low amounts of a number of these nutrients would exert beneficial effects on risk factors and clinical variables in patients that suffered from myocardial infarction (MI) and were following a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Forty male MI patients were randomly allocated into 2 groups. The supplemented group consumed 500 mL/d of a fortified dairy product containing eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, oleic acid, folic acid, and vitamins A, B-6, D, and E. The control group consumed 500 mL/d of semi-skimmed milk with added vitamins A and D.
The patients received supervised exercise training, lifestyle and dietary recommendations, and they were instructed to consume the products in addition to their regular diet. Blood extractions and clinical examinations were performed after 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 mo. Plasma concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, oleic acid, folic acid, vitamin B-6, and vitamin E increased after supplementation (P < 0.05).
Plasma total and LDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations decreased in the supplemented group (P < 0.05), and plasma total homocysteine decreased in both groups. There were no changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or cardiac electrocardiographic parameters in either group.
Therapeutic lifestyle changes, effected through a CR program comprising regular exercise and the intake of a combination of dietary nutrients, reduced a variety of risk factors in MI patients, which supports the rationale for nutritional programs in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease