logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Fish Oil Fizzled Against Atrial Fib

An experiment found that people taking fish oil were not protected against episodes of the heart rhythm abnormality called atrial fibrillation.
Fish oil capsules, close-up

Although epidemiological studies show that people who eat fish are less prone to death from heart disease, trials of fish oil have been less promising. The latest, a Canadian study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, was a randomized controlled trial of 337 people with atrial fibrillation. This common heart rhythm abnormality can lead to a heart rate as fast as 150 beats a minute.

Volunteers in the trial took either 4 grams of fish oil or placebo daily for as long as 16 months. Sadly, those taking fish oil did not have fewer bouts of atrial fibrillation than those on placebo, nor did they have evidence of lower levels of inflammation.

The lead author suggested that a Mediterranean diet (which contains more fish than meat) might be preferable to fish oil supplements, although it would presumably not be a substitute for appropriate medical treatment of this serious condition.

[Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online Sept 29, 2014]

There is more information on how to follow a Mediterranean diet in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

11/26/18 redirected to: https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2018/11/26/can-fish-oil-really-help-your-heart/


Rate this article
4.3- 21 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 5 comments
Add your comment

Right answer, WRONG question.

What is a-fib? In a nutshell, it is when the nerves controlling the atria “go crazy”. So, what causes that? Some say a degradation of the insulation of the nerves is involved, due to a deficient supply of cholesterol (the raw material that the insulation of all nerve fibers is made of). Here is a study that supports this hypothesis: “Cholesterol paradox in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation”: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10640793 .
Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), but the associations among lipids, lipoproteins and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) have not yet been reported. The mean values of serum total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG) and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), after adjusting for age and gender, in patients with PAF were lower than those in patients without PAF (175 +/- 4 mg/dl vs. 190 +/- 3 mg/dl, 104 +/- 7 mg/dl vs. 123 +/- 6 mg/dl, 46.0 +/- 1.7 mg/dl vs. 51.8 +/- 1.4 mg/dl, respectively)… The odds ratio (relative risk of PAF) for patients with both low TC or TG and low HDL-C was 4.08 (95% CI: 1.81-9.57) times or 9. 40 (3.25-32.0) times higher (p < 0.01) than that for patients with high TC or TG and high HDL-C, respectively. In conclusion, low serum levels of TC and TG were found in PAF patients, while reduced HDL-C may cause PAF. Hypolipoproteinemia including low HDL-C may affect atrial vulnerability and cause atrial fibrillation."
YIKES, low cholesterol has a relative risk 9.40 times HIGHER than high cholesterol!! You won't hear that reported in any statin commercials.

So, in conclusion, are you getting hungry for a couple of eggs for your next meal? I am.

I can’t find a link to the study. Can you please point it out to me? There is something fishy about omega 3s not having any effect on inflammation.

I found an abstract at http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleID=1910597

I also am suspicious of the results for inflammation. I’m sure that the natural health experts will reveal the flaws in the study and discuss it in their upcoming newsletters.

I have found wide variations in fish oil that my body absorbs well. Could it be how the fish oil is extracted, prepared and packaged that gave issues?

Might the ineffectiveness of fish oil supplements be due to their effect on the liver?
Perhaps the sudden introduction of intense oil without the protein present in fish is challenging to the liver, which in turn might affect the heart.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^