According to a new analysis by the European Society of Cardiology, omega-3 supplements are linked to an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with high blood fat levels.
The results were published in the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
The author of the study, Dr. Salvatore Carbone of Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, said, “Currently, fish oil supplements are indicated for patients with elevated plasma triglycerides to reduce cardiovascular risk.”
“Because of the high prevalence of elevated triglycerides in the population, they can be prescribed frequently. Notably, low-dose omega-3s are available over-the-counter without the need for a prescription.”
Some clinical studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may be linked to 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 in different doses. The authors therefore carried out a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to answer the question of whether fish oils are consistently associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
The analysis included five randomized controlled trials that looked at the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes.
Participants had elevated triglycerides and were either at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease or had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. A total of 50,277 patients received fish oils or placebo and were followed up for between 2 and 7.4 years. The dose of fish oils varied from 0.84 g to 4 g per day.
The researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation compared to placebo with an incidence rate ratio of 1.37 (95 percent confidence interval 1.22-1.54; p <0.001) resulted in a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation was connected.
Dr. Carbone said, “Our study suggests that fish oil supplements are associated with a significantly higher risk of atrial fibrillation in patients at increased cardiovascular risk.”
“Although a clinical study indicated beneficial cardiovascular effects of supplementation, the risk of atrial fibrillation should be considered when prescribing or buying such agents over the counter, especially in those prone to developing an arrhythmia,” added Carbone. (ANI)
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