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Older Patients See Promising Heart Health with Omega-3’s

Originally published on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012
Heart Disease, HEART HEALTH by

Heart Health with OmegaA shocking new study about omega-3’s could mean big things for the aging population. According to the U.S. study, a few simple supplement changes could mean mature adults who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids are 30 percent less likely to develop an irregular heartbeat than their peers who don’t.

According to recent estimates, up to nine percent of U.S. residents will develop atrial fibrillation by the age of 80. And this heart abnormality can ultimately lead to stroke and in other cases, heart failure.

According to recent research published in Circulation, mature adults with “higher circulating total long-chain omega-3 fatty acid and DHA levels were associated with lower risk of incident atrial fibrillation”.

Over 3,300 U.S. women and men (aged 65 and older and free of pre-existing heart failure) had their plasma phospholipid levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) measured using the usual methods.

When the information was evaluated both total omega-3 and DHA showed parallels with a considerably decreased incidence of atrial fibrillation.

Dariush Mozaffarian, a professor at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study says the results show serious promise for those with heart issues. “A 30 percent lower risk of the most common chronic arrhythmia in the United States population is a pretty big effect”

This new information follows alongside other studies of its kind that conclude people who make fish a regular part of their diet have a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation. But the information certainly has its critics.

The theory of omega’s (especially the ones found in food) need to be broken down further in order to make sense of the study. The omega fatty acids found in the study in the journal Circulation, were EPA and DPA. These particular omega-3’s (fatty acids) are found in oily fish and eggs, but can also be found in several fish oil supplements.

A big part of the opposing stance is that some of the earlier studies relied mainly on inconclusive quiz results that made it difficult to estimate the particular amount of omega-3s any given individual ingested.

Mozaffarian commented “Any given fish species can vary in its omega-3s by ten-fold” which can make deciphering the results tricky.

More accurate measurement strategies followed whereas 3, 326 senior aged adults were tracked. Results showed that those with high omega-3 levels in their bloodstream were 30 percent less likely to develop arrhythmia compared to those with little or no omega-3’s in their blood stream.

Mozaffarian did warn, however, that the study does not conclude that that eating fish is responsible for the lower rates, but clarifies there is some idea fatty acids found within the fish provide a great deal of promise.

We can only expect with this amazing recent development, that more information will soon come available putting fish oils in the forefront as a fantastic preventative measure against arrhythmia.





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