Common Supplement Risks Heart Disease, Strokes?

( – Regular consumption of popular fish oil supplements may potentially elevate the risk of first-time heart disease or stroke development, according to the findings of a new study.

However, these supplements might also decelerate the advancement of pre-existing cardiovascular conditions and reduce mortality risks, according to recent research from the UK.

“Regular use of fish oil supplements might be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation and stroke among the general population,” the researchers reported in their findings, which were published in BMJ Medicine.

Continued intake of fish oil supplements may be associated with an initial increase in the risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

Nevertheless, it could also be advantageous for slowing the progression of cardiovascular diseases, particularly from atrial fibrillation to severe cardiovascular events, and from atrial fibrillation to mortality.

“But [it] could be beneficial for progression of cardiovascular disease from atrial fibrillation to major adverse cardiovascular events, and from atrial fibrillation to death,” they further clarified.

Fish oil, known for its high omega-3 fatty acid content, supports both brain and cardiovascular health.

However, research into the benefits of fish oil supplements has produced inconsistent outcomes.

In their latest study, the authors monitored the health of 415,737 individuals aged between 40 and 69 over approximately 12 years.

Of these participants, 31.5% (130,365 individuals) reported regular use of fish oil supplements.

This group exhibited a 13% increased risk of atrial fibrillation—a type of irregular heartbeat—and a 5% higher chance of stroke among those without prior cardiovascular conditions.

Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death globally, encompasses conditions like heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes.

Participants with a history of such conditions who took fish oil supplements had a 15% reduced risk of their atrial fibrillation progressing to a heart attack and a 9% decreased mortality risk post-heart failure.

The study also found that the transition from good health to heart attack, stroke, or heart failure was 6% more likely among female and non-smoking supplement users.

Conversely, men and the elderly appeared to benefit more significantly from the supplements, experiencing a reduced risk of 7% and 11%, respectively, in progressing from good health to death.

The researchers acknowledged the limitations of their study, noting the absence of specific data on the dosage and formulation of the fish oil supplements used by the participants.

Moreover, since the majority of the study participants were white, the results might not be generalizable to other ethnic groups.

“Further studies are needed to determine the precise mechanisms for the development and prognosis of cardiovascular disease events with regular use of fish oil supplements,” the study authors concluded.

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