Fish Oil Supplements Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Many of us take vitamin supplements on a regular basis. Some are prescribed by doctors and other supplements because we have been told they are good for us.
- Now, a new study of over 50,000 participants has shed light on the possibility that omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplements can cause an arrhythmia, also known as atrial fibrillation.
- Atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke in patients with lipid-related and cardiovascular problems.
A new study now shows that fish oil supplements can be linked to a cardiac arrhythmia. The results of the study were published in the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy – a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
It has been found that omega-3 supplements are likely linked to an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with high levels of fat in the blood. Doctors routinely prescribe fish oil supplements for patients with elevated plasma triglycerides to reduce cardiovascular risk. “Because of the high prevalence of elevated triglycerides in the population, they can often be prescribed. Remarkably, low-dose omega-3 fatty acids are available over the counter without a prescription,” said Dr. Salvatore Carbone from Virginia Commonwealth University. USA said MedicalDialogues.in.
Previous clinical studies had shown that omega-3 fatty acids may be linked to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common rhythm disturbance.
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, episodes of atrial fibrillation can come and go, or you may develop atrial fibrillation that won’t go away and may need treatment. Although atrial fibrillation itself is usually not life threatening, it is a serious condition that can place the patient in a cardiac intensive care unit. Atrial fibrillation can also lead to the development of blood clots in the upper chambers of the heart. These blood clots, which form in the heart, can circulate to other organs and block blood flow (ischemia) – which can lead to life-threatening or debilitating strokes.
During atrial fibrillation, the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly – out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms are often palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness.
How was the study of omega-3 fatty acid supplements conducted?
- Five randomized controlled trials were conducted on selected participants.
- The aim was to investigate the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes.
- 50,277 patients received fish oils or placebo.
- These participants were followed up for 2 and up to 7.4 years.
- The dose of fish oil varied from 0.84 g to 4 g per day.
Results of the study:
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are associated with a significantly higher risk of atrial fibrillation in patients with an increased cardiovascular risk.
- Dr. Carbone says that while a clinical study indicated beneficial cardiovascular effects from supplementation, the risk of atrial fibrillation should be considered when prescribing or buying such agents over the counter from a health care store.
- The chemist can easily sell this pharmacy (pharmaceutical) product, but if a person is prone to developing an arrhythmia, it can put them at risk.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions in the article are for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or nutritionist before starting any fitness program or making changes to your diet.