Volume 5, Issue 14
April 5, 2012
Reduce your risk of hard-to-treat
atrial fibrillation by 28%
In the April issue of Real Cures, I reported on one of the newly discovered dangers of low cholesterol. It’s a heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation. But low cholesterol is not the only cause of this hard-to-treat condition. A new study says not taking a particular supplement will contribute to the condition.
The medical journal Circulation recently published a study that looked at 4,815 adults. All of them were over 65 years old. The researchers assessed these folks for the next 12 years to determine their dietary intake of fish oil. They also assessed them for the levels of fish oils, specifically the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, in their blood. None of the people in this study were taking fish oil supplements. Their only intake was what they received in their diets. What the researchers discovered was very interesting and somewhat unexpected.
They found that those who ate the most tuna and other broiled or baked fish had the highest omega-3 levels. Whereas those eating fish that had been fried or were in fish sandwiches did not show any increase at all in their omega-3 levels. They offered two reasons for this finding.
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One, fish that you typically see fried or used in sandwiches are the fish with the lowest oil content. Second, the act of frying can greatly alter a fish meal’s oil composition by increasing the content of omega-6 fats, trans-fats, and oxidized fats. This is particularly true when the cook uses the frying oil repeatedly.
Next, the researchers noticed that over the course of the 12 year study, 980 people came down with atrial fibrillation. And when they compared the people who ate fish with those who didn’t, they found a significant protective effect of the fish oils.
Those who ate fish one to four times per week had 28% fewer cases of atrial fibrillation than those who ate fish once a month. And those who ate fish five or more times per week had the highest omega-3 blood levels, and had 31% fewer cases. However, the researchers didn’t see the protective effect of fish oils in people who ate either fried fish or fish sandwiches, thus providing evidence that the decrease in atrial fibrillation was directly related to the effect of fish oils.
Now why would fish oils have this preventive effect? The authors point out that taking fish oil supplements has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce systemic inflammation, improve circulation, improve heart function, decrease dangerous arrhythmias, and decrease the excitability of heart cells. Any one of these factors could explain the anti-atrial fibrillation effect of fish oils.
Furthermore, when researchers induce atrial heart tissue in laboratory experiments to develop the kind of irregular activity that leads to atrial fibrillation, it is much less likely to develop that activity if it is exposed to fish oils beforehand.
I know you may be taking fish oils already because they are so valuable in so many ways. But here is just one more way they can help to keep you out of the hospital and on the road to good health. The fish oil I recommend is Complete Daily Oils.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
REF: Mozaffarian D, Psaty B. Fish Intake and Risk of Incident Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation. 2004 July 27; 110(4): 368–373.
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