Antiarrhythmic effects of n-3 fatty acids: evidence from human studies

A. Geelen, I.A. Brouwer, P.L. Zock, M.B. Katan

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review N-3 fatty acids from fish reduce cardiovascular mortality including sudden cardiac death. In this paper, the authors discuss the results of human studies with regard to the hypothesis that n-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of fatal coronary heart disease through antiarrhythmic effects. Recent findings Results from two recent clinical trials do not support a protective effect of n-3 fatty acids. In light of the earlier published bulk of evidence that n-3 fatty acids reduce cardiovascular mortality and sudden cardiac death, it is hard to explain these findings. Two recent observational studies confirmed that intake of n-3 fatty acids from fish is associated with less cardiovascular disease in the general population. They indicated that the protective effect of a fish meal may depend on the n-3 fatty acid content or preparation method and suggested a protective effect on arrhythmia rather than on atherosclerosis. Intervention studies on electrophysiological predictors of arrhythmia do not clearly confirm a beneficial effect of n-3 fatty acids. However, most of these studies were small or performed in healthy populations. Summary The available evidence still suggests that n-3 fatty acids may prevent fatal cardiac arrhythmia, but more conclusive studies are urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
JournalCurrent Opinion in Lipidology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • heart-rate-variability
  • acute myocardial-infarction
  • dietary fish-oil
  • rat ventricular myocytes
  • reinfarction trial dart
  • baroreflex sensitivity
  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • sudden-death
  • cardiovascular health


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