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Fish oil helps prevent arrhythmias in patients with defibrillators
In a report published in the November 1 2005 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation, Alexander Leaf, MD of Massachusetts General Hospital and his Boston colleagues wrote that a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement may help protect against potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.
In a double-blind randomized trial, 402 patients with implantable cardioverter/defibrillators received four capsules of a fish oil supplement containing a total of 2.6 grams eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, or four capsules containing 1 gram olive oil daily for one year. Intracardiac electrograms generated from defibrillator discharges due to episodes of ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) were used to determine confirmed arrhythmic events, while “probable” events were determined from data recorded by the defibrillator that supported a diagnosis of ventricular arrhythmia, but for which no electrogram was available due to the limited storage capacity of the device
After twelve months, twenty-eight percent of those who received fish oil compared to 39 percent of those who had received the olive oil capsules had experienced their first confirmed arrhythmic event or death from any cause. When probable events were included in the analysis, the risk reduction experienced by those in the fish oil group increased. In a separate adjusted analysis limited to participants who were compliant for at least 11 months, those who took fish oil had almost half the risk of experiencing an event at twelve months than that of the olive oil group.
The authors mention an article recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded adverse effects associated with fish oils in patients with implanted defibrillators. They note that the participants’ red blood cell omega-3 fatty acids at the beginning of the JAMA study were already at levels that have been shown to be protective against arrhythmia and that the subjects were allowed to consume one meal of fatty fish per week, both of which may have rendered them less likely to experience benefits from supplemental fish oil. They also suggest that chance could account for the findings in view of the small size of the study population.
The current study adds to the evidence that omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-arrhythmic action and may reduce potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. “If the present data are confirmed,” the authors write, “these fatty acids may also be recommended as a less toxic alternative to usual antiarrhythmic drugs to prevent recurrent episodes of VT/VF.”
Antiarrhythmia nutrients include:
Acetyl-L-carnitine is used in Europe to treat cardiac arrhythmia.
Calcium reduces blood pressure, acts as an antiarrhythmic, reduces iron overload, and strengthens the bone around the gingival; preventive and therapeutic doses, 1 gram or more of elemental calcium a day. Factor amount of calcium obtained from foodstuffs into the amount required through supplementation.
Coenzyme Q10 reduces angina attacks, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, periodontal disease, and heart valve irregularities; lowers blood pressure; is protective to smokers; and supplies energy to the heart; suggested dosage, 30-400 mg a day, depending upon the amount of cardiac support required. (Higher doses require physician supervision.)
Fish oil concentrates have been shown in several published studies to regulate cardiac arrhythmias at a dose of five to eight capsules a day. Studies on perilla oil show that it works as well as fish oil, without the unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects.
Ginkgo biloba improves circulation and memory; reduces platelet aggregation, arrhythmias, and fibrinogen levels; has antioxidant activity; prevents capillary fragility; lessens angina attacks, dyspnea, and intermittent claudication; and decreases the area in the brain plundered by a stroke; suggested dosage, 120 mg a day (preventive dose) and 120-240 mg daily (therapeutic dose). Note: Some clinicians routinely prescribe ginkgo for patients ages 50 and older.
Magnesium reduces blood pressure; acts as a calcium antagonist and antiarrhythmic; blocks the sympathetic nervous system; and is beneficial in mitral valve prolapse. Use up to 1500 mg in divided doses throughout the day; preventive dose, about 500 mg elemental magnesium a day.
An overwhelming amount of published scientific data supports the disease-prevention benefits of eating a healthier diet, yet the FDA still restricts what Americans are allowed to read on the labels of foods, beverages and dietary supplements.
A bill is being introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that would give consumers access to truthful, nonmisleading health information. The name of this bill is “The Health Freedom Protection Act” and will be introduced in the U.S. House on Wednesday, November 9th, 2005.
The purpose of this bill is to amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to ensure that:
This is one of the most critical pieces of legislation to ever come before Congress. Passage of The Health Freedom Protection Act would enable the American public to learn how to prevent many of the degenerative diseases of aging. The healthcare crisis that is threatening to bankrupt Medicare, corporations, and aging individuals might be averted.
You can conveniently email you own Representative and encourage them to support The Health Freedom Protection Act.
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