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Steady your heart with omega-3 fatty acids



Way back in May of 2006 I reported on a study which indicated that omega-3 fatty acid supplements would help reduce one's heart rate at rest and improve the heart's recovery after exercise (Bite, 5/3/06). Other studies show that intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help you reduce your risk of sudden (cardiovascular) death (Bite 11/17/06). These and other factors imply a connection between omega-3 fatty acids and cardiac electrophysiology (the electrical functioning of the heart).

Heart rate variability - an inconstant heartbeat - is a known predictor of sudden death for heart disease patients. If consumption of omega-3 fatty acids through eating fish or through fish oil supplements will help regulate one's heart rate, and it can also help reduce your risk of sudden death through heart-related factors, it's reasonable to theorize that those fatty acids might well help regulate one's heart rhythm and reduce your risk of sudden death.

A multi-institutional team has recently evaluated the fish intake of over 4400 men and women over 65 and correlated their average fish oil intake (whether through supplements or through eating fish) with their measured level of heart rate variability. They found that, generally speaking, fish or fish oil consumption was indeed related to a positive result in certain measures of heart rate variability - but not all others - and more for some factors than others. It appears, however, that omega-3 fatty acids help to stabilize the heart rate - to the extent of reducing risk of death from heart disease by up to 35%.

What this means for you

More healthy heart news for those who eat fatty fish regularly. I recommend that you eat fish 2-3 times a week, so pick one of the popular fish recipes below, and let's get started!

Halibut: Halibut with Basil Pea Puree | Halibut with Dill Pesto Orzo | Halibut with Peanut Cilantro Butter
Salmon: Saffron Salmon Risotto | Salmon in Parchment with Mangoes | Salmon with Caper Mayonnaise
Other Fish: Blackened Redfish [ Low Sodium Version ] | Fish Enchiladas | Oven Fried Fish [ Low Sodium Version ]

First posted: March 5, 2008