Prevention is the most effective cure for heart disease. Many instances of heart disease and stroke are preventable through healthy diet, exercise and stress management. Omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of fish oil supplements, are a supportive adjunct to efforts to improve heart health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Lower Risk of Irregular Heartbeat
Harvard Public School of Health recently conducted a study of approximately 3,000 senior citizens. Researchers reported that participants with higher blood levels of omega-3 had a 30% lower risk of arterial fibrillation, during a 14-year study, than their counterparts, with lower levels. Atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia, is an irregular heartbeat that an estimated 9% of Americans experience during their 80's.
Irregular heartbeat is a life-threatening disease, as it can result in a stroke and/or heart failure. According to researchers, discovering a 30% lower risk factor for this disease is "a pretty big effect". Especially, since focus is on prevention, as there is no known cure. The first-line of mainstream medical treatment is blood-thinners, with all their potential, harmful side effects.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were the omega-3 fatty acids that researchers considered in the recent study. They also determined that higher levels of DHA in the bloodstream provided the greatest benefit.
Previous studies were conducted from dietary data collected on surveys. The results were estimated, since the questionnaires covered the previous year, making it difficult for participants to remember the amount of fish consumed. Also, those researchers relied on dietary omega-3s in the form of fish, making amounts of fatty acids difficult to measure.
Whereas, Harvard researchers collected blood samples from participants covering a 14-year span. Of the 3,300 participants, all over age 65, 789 people demonstrated atrial fibrillation.
Researchers advised findings weren't conclusive that simply adding fish to the diet lowers the risk of arrhythmia. However, it appears fatty acids contained in fish could calm cells in the heart muscle that become excited. Further studies were recommended to ensure that fish oil is a promising prevention for atrial fibrillation.
They trust Americans will get motivated to make lifestyle changes that include consuming fish twice weekly or including fish oil as part of their regime.
European Doctors Prescribe Fish Oil for Heart Health
European physicians frequently prescribe herbal and natural medicines along with, or as replacements for pharmaceuticals. They use the integrative approach that Nature's medicines aren't hocus-pocus, but ancient remedies that work!
A good example is San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome. Heart attack survivors are prescribed fish oil. In fact, Italy considers it malpractice to exclude fish oil, in order to increase odds of survival following a heart attack and reduce the risk of fatal arrhythmia.
American Physicians More Cautious
Despite numerous studies evidencing fish oil heightens survival rates following a heart attack and reduces the risk of fatal arrhythmia, American physicians err on the side of caution. Cardiologists do not routinely dispense fish oil, but prescribe expensive pharmaceuticals, such as cholesterol lowering drugs.
A very old and quite large study of fish oil conducted in Italy followed 11,000 heart attack survivors for three years, who were taking prescription fish oil. The impressive results showed a 20% decrease in deaths and a 40% decrease in sudden deaths, in comparison with the participants who weren't supplementing with fish oil.
Conclusion: Take your fish oil! It could save your life.