When it comes to promoting a healthy heart, or improving your cardiovascular wellness, most doctors agree that consuming omega 3 fatty acids is one of the best steps you can take. This substance, known as an essential fatty acid, has been linked to a number of benefits to the human body, including improved mental skills and reduced inflammation. For this reason, a number of countries and health organizations recommend that the average person eat about 500 mg of omega-3s per day, usually in the form of fatty fish. However, people can also take advantage of these benefits of omega 3 fatty acids by taking fish oil supplements, which typically come in the form of capsules or pills.
However, a recent study from the University of Montreal, Canada suggests that the benefits of omega-3s may not be universal: a research team found that high doses of fish oil had no effect in reducing symptoms of atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition. What does this finding mean for the future of omega-3? And should you still take your fish oil supplements despite this finding?
Atrial fibrillation is a common type of abnormal heart rhythm which is often characterized by palpitations, fainting, chest pain or congestive heart failure. While the cause of this condition is unknown, research suggests that the normal regular electrical impulses generated by the heart’s right atrium are overwhelmed by disorganized electrical impulses from the pulmonary veins, causing an irregular heartbeat. As a result, the condition causes a heightened risk of stroke and a number of other medical conditions.
Because of a number of previous studies linking omega-3s to improved cardiovascular health, researchers suspected that there might be a similar connection to reduced symptoms of atrial fibrillation. However, in a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the research team reported that 4g doses of fish oil supplements per day resulted in virtually no difference in patient symptoms in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. But while this might seem discouraging, the high number of previous studies suggest the worth of this essential fat leave plenty of reasons to continue taking fish oil supplements. Instead, this study will likely encourage researchers to focus on other areas, such as the pulmonary veins, to yield effective results in treating atrial fibrillation.
Omega-3s may not be a magic cure-all, but they do have a number of positive effects that can be extremely beneficial to consumers. For example, omega-3 has been demonstrated to reduce the symptoms of ADHD, help maintain inflammation, and improve memory; cultures with diets high in omega-3 have even been shown to have lower levels of depression. In spite of one study, the choice is clear: make sure you’re getting your recommended 500 mg of omega-3s every day.