Omega-3 supplements are associated with an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with high blood lipids. This is the conclusion of a study published today in European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
“Currently, fish oil supplements are indicated for patients with elevated plasma triglycerides to reduce cardiovascular risk,” said study author Dr. Salvatore Carbone of Virginia Commonwealth University, United States. United. “Due to the high prevalence of high triglycerides in the population, they can be commonly prescribed. Note that low dose omega-3 fatty acids are available over the counter, without a prescription.”
Some clinical trials have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. People with this disorder are five times more likely to have a stroke.
These studies tested different formulations of omega-3 fatty acids at different doses. The authors therefore performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to answer the question of whether fish oils were consistently linked to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
The review included five randomized controlled trials examining the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes. Participants had high triglycerides and were either at high risk for cardiovascular disease or had established cardiovascular disease. A total of 50,277 patients received fish oils or a placebo and were followed for 2-7.4 years. The dose of fish oils varied from 0.84 g to 4 g per day.
Researchers found that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared to placebo with an incidence rate of 1.37 (95% confidence interval 1.22-1, 54; p <0.001).
Dr Carbone said: “Our study suggests that fish oil supplements are associated with a significantly higher risk of atrial fibrillation in patients at high cardiovascular risk. Although a clinical trial has indicated beneficial cardiovascular effects of supplementation, the risk of atrial fibrillation should be considered when these agents are prescribed or purchased over the counter, especially in people at risk of developing a heart rhythm disorder. . “
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