Fish Oil Supplements Don't Normalise Irregular Heartbeat: Study

   |  Updated: October 15, 2014 19:31 IST

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Fish Oil Supplements Don't Normalise Irregular Heartbeat: Study
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of heart condition where the heart beats at an abnormally fast rate. The exact cause of this condition remains unknown but a specific event or underlying condition can trigger it at any point.

It is a well known fact that eating fish like salmon and tuna that are rich in omega-3 help with atrial fibrillation (AF) by regulating the heartbeat. But according to this latest study published in the journal of the American College, that is not the case. High doses of fish oil supplements, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, do not reduce the rate at which the heart beats i.e. they do not help treat atrial fibrillation (AF).

The research led by the Montreal Heart Institute analyzed 337 patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) who were not receiving conventional antiarrhythmic therapy and were prescribed 4 grams of fish oil a day or a placebo for up to 16 months. Researchers found that as many as 64.1 per cent of patients who had received fish oil experienced a recurrence of atrial fibrillation compared to 63.2 per cent of those taking placebo.

Furthermore, the study concluded that fish oil supplements did not reduce inflammation or oxidative stress markers, which may explain its lack of efficacy. According to Dr Anil Nigam, lead investigator and cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute and Associate  Professor of Medicine at the University of Montreal, "Fish oil has no role in the rhythm-control management of atrial fibrillation," He added, "What is well-known and should be recommended to prevent heart disease and reduce blood pressure is a Mediterranean-type diet rich in natural omega-3 fats and other nutrients, including fresh fruits and veggies, legumes, olive oil, while lowering intake of red meat, trans fats and saturated fats."

Nigam concluded by saying that "We believe that such a strategy might also be beneficial for the treatment of atrial fibrillation although more studies are required." The risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age and with other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and underlying heart disease, researchers said.

With inputs from PTI


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