Heart DiseaseOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil doesn’t reduce the risk of arrhythmia

 But it does reduce the risk of death due to cardiac causes.

Those are the conclusions by researchers from Canada who combined the results of several studys and conducted a meta-analysis.

The term death due to “cardiac causes” most often refers to coronary heart disease, which is often first experienced as a heart attack.

First, the details.

  • 12 studies in 32,779 patients on the effects of fish oil — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — on death and abnormal heart rhythms were identified.

And, the results.

  • Fish oil supplementation had no effect on the risk of abnormal heart rhythms or on death due to any cause.
  • There was a significant reduction in deaths due to cardiac causes, however.
  • No dose-response relation between type of fish oil and reduction in deaths from cardiac causes was found.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Fish oil supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in deaths from cardiac causes but had no significant effect on arrhythmias.”

Although the mechanism by which fish oil reduces deaths from cardiac causes remains uncertain, the researchers said perhaps “it helps to stabilize atherosclerotic plaque, probably because of its anti-inflammatory properties.”

For now, they believe it’s reasonable to take 465 mg EPA/386 mg DHA daily.

1/2/09 17:59 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.