I’ve got bad news for those of you that have been taking fish oil supplements in the hopes that it will help you manage Afib. Fish oil may have other benefits, but a recent study indicates that it probably isn’t doing that much for your heart.
64.1 percent of those taking fish oil for its omega-3 fatty acids experienced new bouts of atrial fibrillation over the course of 16 months, compared to 63.2 percent of those taking a placebo. Fish oil supplements also did not reduce the twin ills of inflammation or oxidative stress, which may explain why they didn’t guard against atrial fibrillation, the study authors noted.
“Fish oil has no role to play in the treatment of atrial fibrillation,” said lead researcher Dr. Anil Nigam, an associate professor in the department of medicine at the University of Montreal.
Fish oil supplements don’t seem to hurt anything either, mind you, so if you’re taking them for other reasons you might as well keep at it. However, if you’re just using the supplement for Afib alone you might as well spend your money elsewhere. You’ll get more mileage out of magnesium supplements, for example, since magnesium actually has a great deal to do with how the heart works.
Those who swear by fish oil are probably reaping indirect benefits. For example, fish oil is thought to work as a natural remedy for people with depression. That means it may help you manage stress better. Since stress can trigger Afib episodes there might be some loose correlation there. It’s just not doing anything for your heart directly.