Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish Could Be Dangerous For Heart Health, Study Show

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Fish oil supplements are often promoted for heart health benefits. However, a recent significant study suggests that for healthy individuals, regular intake of these supplements could elevate the risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke.

Fish supplements increase of heart attack risk in people with cardiovascular issues

The same supplements can benefit those with cardiovascular issues like AFib or heart failure. Research in BMJ Medicine followed over 400,000 UK adults for nearly 12 years, examining fish oil supplement use and its effects on AFib, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and mortality.

For those without diagnosed heart conditions, regular fish oil use was linked to a 13% higher risk of developing AFib and a 5% higher risk of stroke. However, it did not significantly affect the risk of heart attacks or death in generally healthy individuals.

Interestingly for participants with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, regular fish oil consumption led to an eight-percent reduction in the risk of major heart events, such as heart attacks or strokes. Additionally, those with AFib who took fish oil had a nine-percent lower risk of death compared to those who did not use fish oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids increase AFib and stroke risk

For individuals newly diagnosed with heart failure, fish oil supplements were associated with a nine-percent reduction in mortality risk compared to those not taking the supplements. The researchers propose several reasons for this discrepancy. The impact of fish oil on heart health may depend on the specific dose and formulation of omega-3 fatty acids. Higher doses might disrupt heart rhythm, while lower doses could offer anti-inflammatory advantages.

Fish oil’s effects may vary based on the individual’s heart health. For those without heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids could negatively impact cell membranes and molecular pathways, increasing the risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and stroke. Conversely, in people with existing cardiovascular conditions, these fatty acids might enhance blood flow, lower clot risk, and slow disease progression.

The authors of the study highlight the need for further research to fully comprehend the mechanisms involved and the potential influence of genetics, medications, diet, and lifestyle on the effects of fish oil supplementation.

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