Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their heart-health benefits. From the reduction of triglyceride levels, balance of inflammation, and prevention of coronary events in people with heart disease to the improvement of abnormal cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish affect the heart in many ways.
A recent study published in the journal Circulation adds to the support of omega-3s for the heart. The study found that the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a 29 percent reduction in the risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common form of heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, in older individuals.
The study was an observational study that needs further investigation to confirm the association. Because the study examined prevention, rather than treatment, of heart arrhythmia, it has the potential to lead to very important research. The researchers stated, “Given the aging of the population, the significant and growing public health burden of atrial fibrillation, and the limited treatment options once atrial fibrillation develops, our results highlight the need to investigate atrial physiological and arrhythmic mechanisms affected by total and individual [omega-3 fatty acids] and to test the efficacy of [omega-3 fatty acids] for preventing new onset of atrial fibrillation among older adults in a randomized intervention.”
I have previously blogged on omega-3s and irregular heartbeat. Heart arrhythmia is just one of an array of cardiovascular diseases—the number one killer of Americans. If we can find ways to prevent heart disease by addressing proper nutrition, including the omega-3s found in fish oil, I’m all for it!