Â Researchers at the University of Brescia in Italy studied the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and frequent or repetitive ventricular arrhythmias.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. These patients are often at risk for arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) or sudden death due to heart dysfunction.
First, the details.
44 patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and frequent or repetitive ventricular arrhythmias were randomly assigned to take placebo or omega-3 fatty acids.
Heart rate and rhythm was monitored continuously for 6 months.
Neither the researchers nor the patients knew their treatment — double-blind.
And, the results.
Based on a battery of tests, the risk of an arrhythmiaÂ improved significantly with omega-3 treatment compared to placebo.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the blood decreased from 12 to 3 after taking omega-3 fatty acids.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Omega-3 fatty acid administration is associated with favorable effects on parameters related to arrhythmic risk in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.”
In a separate study, researchers from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia reported that in their patients, “Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation decreased the inducibility of ventricular tachycardia in patients at risk of sudden cardiac death.”
“These findings suggest that dietary fish oil can have an antiarrhythmic effect.”
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.