Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely used among populations worldwide as people consider them greatly beneficial for their health. However, many researchers are still investigating the effectiveness of their usage. For instance, JAMA, the VITAL Rhythm Study2 analyzed the risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, with the intake of omega-3 fatty acids .
Since 2019, randomized clinical trials have shown evidence on the risk of AF with omega-3 fatty acid intake. 4 g/d of a carboxylic acid formulation of omega-3 (a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) or corn oil were given to high-risk patients with cardiovascular disease randomly . After 42 months, an increase in the risk of developing atrial fibrillation in the omega-3 fatty acids group compared with the corn oil group occurred. In another clinical trial, OMEMI, 1027, a recent myocardial infarction elderly patients were randomized to take an intermediate dose, 1.8 g/d, of omega-3 fatty acids (a combination of EPA and DHA) or corn oil as well. After 2 years, 7.2% of the omega-3 fatty acids group compared to 4.0% of the corn oil group developed atrial fibrillation .
In conclusion, the previous trials proposed that there may be a dose-related risk of atrial fibrillation with omega-3 fatty acid intake. Therefore, it is necessary to inform patients who take omega-3 fatty acids in both moderate and high doses about the risk of atrial fibrillation development. That is why follow-up with doctors and pharmacists is significant in order to avoid the development of this common dangerous arrhythmia.
- Albert CM, Cook NR, Pester J, et al. Effect of marine omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D supplementation on incident atrial fibrillation: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA. Published March 16, 2021.
- Nicholls SJ, Lincoff AM, Garcia M, et al. Effect of high-dose omega-3 fatty acids vs corn oil on major adverse cardiovascular events in patients at high cardiovascular risk: the STRENGTH randomized clinical trial.
- Kalstad AA, Myhre PL, Laake K, et al; OMEMI Investigators. Effects of n-3 fatty acid supplementation in elderly patients after myocardial infarction: a randomized, controlled trial. Circulation. 2021;143(6):528-