Studies have shown that n-3 fatty acids, more so than n-6 PUFA, can prevent ischemia-induced fatal ventricular arrhythmias in experimental animals. n-3 fatty acids make the heart cells less excitable by modulating the conductance of the sodium and other ion channels. Clinical studies further support the role of n-3 fatty acids in the prevention of sudden death due to ventricular arrhythmias which, in the US, account for 50-60% of the mortality from acute myocardial infarction and cause 250 000 deaths a year. In the intervention trials, there was no change in lipid concentration, suggesting that the beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids were due to their antithrombotic and antiarrhythmic effects.
The antiarrhythmic effects of n-3 fatty acids are supported by clinical intervention trials (Diet and Reinfarction Trial (DART), Lyon Heart Study, Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell'Infarto miocardico (GISSI)-Prevenzione Trial,
Indo-Mediterranean Diet Heart Study). Their results strongly support the role of fish or fish oil in decreasing total mortality and sudden death in patients with one episode of myocardial infarction. Therefore, the addition of 1 g/d of n-3 fatty acids is highly recommended for the primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
Was this article helpful?