Researchers from the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada studied 337 patients who have atrial fibrillation. Some of them were assigned to take 4g of fish oil in a day while others were assigned to take placebo. The random assignment lasted for 16 months.
The researchers learned that 64.1 percent of patients who were taking fish oil reportedly showed a recurrence of experiencing atrial fibrillation. This is higher than the recurrence rate of 63.2 percent among those who were taking placebo.
Additionally, the researchers also learned that fish oil supplements do not effectively reduce inflammation which could be the reason why it lacks efficacy.
"Fish oil has no role in the rhythm-control management of atrial fibrillation," says Dr Anil Nigam, lead researcher of the study. He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Montreal and a Cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute.
Nigam adds that the popular Mediterranean-type diet should be recommended in order to prevent heart disease and reduce blood pressure. This type of diet is rich in natural omega-3 fats and other healthy nutrients that would include olive oil, legumes, and fresh fruits and veggies. Likewise, the diet requires one to have a lower intake of red meat, saturated fats and trans fats.
Fish oil is a type of oil that comes from the tissues of oily fish. It is now one of the most popular dietary supplements on the market. However, problems of quality have been identified due to lack of regular quality testing on fish or marine oil supplements prior to sale. Some of these problems would include contamination, formulation, spoilage, and inaccurate listing of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is considered as the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. It may show no symptoms though it is usually associated with congestive heart failure, chest pain, fainting, or palpitations. The cause of AF in an individual may not be identified. Its presence can be learned clinically by taking a pulse. It can be confirmed through the use of an electrocardiogram (ECG).
An example of irregular heartbeat condition is when the heart beats as fast as 150 beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate among adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute.
The risk of being affected with atrial fibrillation increases as one becomes older. Other risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
While having a Mediterranean type diet can be a good strategy for treating atrial fibrillation, Nigam says that it still requires further studies.
In Canada, there are at least 350,000 people who are affected with atrial fibrillation. This number will most likely increase as the population gets older.