A new study shows fish oil benefits for heart health include a significantly reduced risk for irregular heart beats, a condition known as atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia.
The American Heart Association reports that around 3 million Americans live with irregular heartbeats, a condition known as Atrial Fibrillation (AF) or Arrhythmia. Not unlike other heart disease risk factors, such as smoking and obesity, irregular heartbeats are cause for concern. You can read about symptoms and patient experiences here.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these common heart conditions can lead to serious health complications that require immediate medical intervention when left untreated. With AF, “the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart”.
With as scary as that sounds, mounting evidence indicates that prevention is possible.
In fact, a number of studies suggest that the omega-3s found in fortified foods, seafood and fish oil supplements seem to have a protective effect on cardiovascular health.
However, a new study recently published by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that fish oil — perhaps more than than seafood and other fortified foodstuffs –might be the better first-line of defense against arrhythmia and AF conditions.
Current study & findings
Interested in locating objective data on the protective heart benefits of omega-3s, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian launched a massive 14yr scientific exploration. This newest study, which differs from earlier research involving self-reported data on omega-3 intake, meticulously analyzed blood samples from over 3,330 participants in order to gain objective statistics.
Importantly, Dr. Mozaffarian’s findings revealed that not 1, but 3 important ingredients in fish oil (EPA, DHA, & DPA) do in fact play a considerable role in heart health. You can read more about the EPA and DHA here and here.
In particular, people with higher levels of the above mentioned omega-3s experience significantly less events involving irregular heart beats over a period of 14 years.
How much less? Try 30%!!
In a statement issued to Reuters Health, Dr. Mozaffarian told correspondents that “a 30 percent lower risk of the most common chronic arrhythmia in the United States population is a pretty big effect”.
Can’t argue with that.
Dr. Mozaffarian was careful to point out that “any given fish species can vary in its omega-3s by 10-fold“, something to consider if you’re looking to add more of this heart-healthy superfood into your diet.
Naturally, researchers and physicians alike are currently looking into whether fish oil supplements should be used as a first line of prevention against atrial fibrillation.
You should, too.
Here are some other studies on the fish oil benefits for heart health worth checking out: