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.

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  1. Cindy B.

    I am still fuming (and quite confused) re the recent reports that fish oil isn’t beneficial and may actually SHORTEN a person’s life! This, after years and years of ENTHUSIASTIC reports that fish oil supplements were extremely beneficial for all kinds of things, e.g., depression and anxiety, skin and joints, general heart health, general longevity… well, the list is long. I never took fish oil specifically for Afib, and I can’t remember reading anywhere that it could possibly eliminate or even improve Afib…. but I sure took it (and still do) for all those other reasons.
    I STILL don’t have any kind of a cogent answer as to whether fish oil helps in those other areas, or whether the whole thing was just a big fat lie. If this turns out to be the case, I don’t think I’ll ever believe anything I hear about any supplement ever again. PS: Of course, like with any other supplement, you have to buy a quality brand, fine-tune the dosage, etc. I do.

  2. Carrol B

    Yes-Like cream is not milk. So you have succeeded in splitting the hair on the northwest side. There are more proven studies on fish oil than any medicine you may trust in.

  3. harold j. bueno de mesquita

    Fish oil is NOT fish and I think there is little place in medicine for fish oil as such.
    When will we learn?

  4. Carrol B.

    On the fish oil article it is useless to spend that much effort on a study
    and give such a small dose and then say ‘WE SAW NO DIFFERENCE’ unless you wanted the test to fail. So the article is useless.

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