A recent study showed that adults with the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and some enriched foods like eggs and fish oil supplements, were 30 percent less likely to develop chronic arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat.
Up to nine percent of the population will develop atrial fibrillation by the time they reach age 80. Irregular heartbeat can lead to stroke and heart failure. There are few treatments for this condition, so doctors often prescribe blood-thinning drugs to try to head off the risk of stroke.
Researchers found that omega-3 fats with high DHA levels gave the greatest benefits. They believe that the fatty acids found in fish work by stabilizing the excitability of heart muscle cells. Unfortunately, there have been no studies showing that increasing omega-3 fats help in those people who have already developed arrhythmia. But as a preventative, it looks very promising.
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