About a decade ago, maybe a little more, omega-3 rich fish oil became the supplement. Everyone was talking about it, and it seemed like everyone was taking it too.
And what wasn’t to love? It’s a concentrated source of a highly beneficial nutrients that was touted to make your skin better, improve brain function, and even help your heart. It seemed like the list kept growing.
Since then, however, data has come out suggesting there is some risk to the popular supplement. Perhaps more than some might like to admit.
And a new study has confirmed a previous finding that fish oil supplements may increase the risk or atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, a condition where the heart’s chambers quiver chaotically instead of contracting at a normal pace.
The study did show, however, that omega-3 supplements aren’t a guarantee for a-fib, just that they can boost the risk in some people if they consume more than 1 gram per day.
These findings highlight the fact that more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to supplements. Supplements are already concentrated, so taking high doses can present danger. Keep doses where they are recommended and the risk for complication goes way down.
For example, the study found that the risk for a-fib was 49 percent higher in people who took more than one gram per day. For those taking less than one gram, the risk was 12 percent.
A study of 81,000 patients showed that 3.6 percent of people develop a-fib.
If you’ve been prescribed fish oil from a doctor to treat cholesterol, mention your concerns about a-fib. Also, be on the lookout for symptoms, which include a rapid, fluttering heartbeat and dizziness.
The best place to get omega-3 fatty acid is fish. If you can eat two servings of fish per week, you’re likely getting all the omega-3 you need.
Do your homework if you decide to supplement. Not all supplements are created equally, so finding one that’s made to high standards, third party testing, and doesn’t offer a mega-dose are factors to consider.