Atrial fibrillation is a challenging heart rhythm disturbance to control. The new drugs that are prescribed are often expensive and have significant side effects. That’s why scientists have been investigating whether the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil might be able to reverse this arrhythmia.
The latest study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, gave disappointing results. Fish oil supplements performed no better than placebo in preventing recurrences of atrial fibrillation in high-risk patients. The patients in the trial took one gram of fish oil daily for a year. Although the fish oil did not produce any benefits, it was not associated with significant side effects either.
[Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online Dec. 19, 2012]
Although fish oil was not effective at preventing or reversing arrhythmia, it does have other heart benefits. It can, for example, lower triglycerides quite impressively. We discuss this and other approaches to controlling blood lipids in our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health.