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Meta-analysis adds evidence to association between omega-3 supplementation and lower heart rate

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

January 10 2018. On December 28, 2017 the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a meta-analysis that affirmed an association between supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and a decrease in heart rate. According to authors Khemayanto Hidayat of Soochow University and colleagues, elevated resting heart rate has emerged as a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality.

Dr Hidayat and associates selected 51 randomized controlled trials that included a total of approximately 3,000 men and women for their analysis. Thirty-two of the intervention groups consisted of participants with at least one chronic condition, including coronary artery disease, kidney failure, hypertension and frequent premature ventricular contraction (a type of heart arrhythmia).

In comparison with those who received a placebo, participants who received omega 3 experienced a significant reduction in heart rate of 2.23 beats per minute. When the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA were administered separately, a 2.47 beat per minute decrease was observed in association with DHA.

“The heart rate of the majority of participants included in this meta-analysis was within normal range—the state where reducing heart rate is conventionally not a medical indication,” the authors note. “At the population level however, such heart rate reduction may have significant public health implications, as a reduction of 3.2 beats per minute heart rate would roughly correspond to 7.5% lower risk of sudden cardiac death.”

“This present meta-analysis can have valuable public health and clinical implications for incorporation of omega 3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation as a lifestyle modification for reducing all-cause mortality among general populations, and for reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death, particularly in those who do not consume enough fatty fish on a regular basis,” they conclude.

—D Dye

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