Why Fish Oil Can Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death and Arrhythmias

Fish oil supplements are commonly taken by people to prevent sudden death and arrhythmias. Why do these supplements work?

Several fish oils have been shown to protect the heart in a number of ways. Fish oils can lower cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They also improve blood flow and decrease inflammation, both of which are risk factors for heart attack and arrhythmia. (1)

When it comes to preventing sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias, taking fish oil supplements is one of the most effective measures that you can take. When combined with a healthy lifestyle, this supplement can help you live a longer and healthier life. (2)

Fish oil benefits

Decreases inflammation

Long-term inflammation known as chronic inflammation, which can last for months to years, is linked to an increased risk of developing diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Many components of inflammation are capable of being partially blocked by the EPA and DHA omega-3s found in fatty fish. Thus, one dietary modification that may aid in reducing chronic inflammation in the body is increasing the intake of EPA and DHA, such as through fish oil. (6)

May assist older persons in slowing muscle loss.

The aging-related decrease of muscle mass and function raises the risk of falls, lengthens hospital stay recovery time, and raises mortality risk. According to studies, taking a fish oil supplement helped men and women between the ages of 60 and 85 maintain their muscle mass and function. (7)

Possibilities of improved brain function

According to studies conducted on healthy adults between the ages of 51 and 72, taking a fish oil supplement for five weeks enhanced brain function, particularly attention and memory, as compared to receiving a placebo. Additionally, researchers point out that a lower risk of cognitive loss brought on by aging has been linked to blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Could lower blood pressure

The best-combined intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids for lowering blood pressure is probably between two and three grams per day, according to a recent study of previously published data. Another discovered that daily dosages of EPA and DHA of as little as 0.7 grams in persons with systolic (the top number) blood pressure show considerable decreases in blood pressure, which may lessen the risk of heart disease.

Possibly reducing discomfort from osteoarthritis

The most common cause of persistent pain and impairment is osteoarthritis (OA), a kind of arthritis that destroys the cartilage in joints. Over the age of 60, OA affects 18% of women and 9.6% of men worldwide. A study including obese or overweight persons with OA found that taking fish oil supplements reduced chronic pain and enhanced overall well-being.

Could be beneficial for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

The accumulation of fat in the liver due to conditions other than excessive alcohol consumption is known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The risk of NAFLD is increased by being obese, overweight, with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. (8)

According to a study on persons with NAFLD, liver damage decreased in those who took fish oil supplements.

Another study found that omega-3 supplementation for 12 weeks improved NAFLD in persons with diabetes and NAFLD compared to a placebo.

Can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis

An inflammatory condition known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes persistent inflammation of the joints and manifests as pain, swelling, and stiffness. Studies have demonstrated that fish oil helps persons with RA reduce inflammation, despite some contradictory findings in this area.

Dangers of omega-6 fatty acids

Breastfeeding and being pregnant

Between 5% and 10% of daily calories are typically made up of omega-6 fatty acids as part of the diet. Higher dosages, however, may be dangerous and raise the possibility of having a baby who is very little or of the child getting eczema. It is unclear whether taking supplements containing omega-6 fatty acids is safe to do when expecting or nursing a baby. To be safe, refrain from using. (3)


Between 5% and 10% of daily calories are typically absorbed as omega-6 fatty acids by children over the age of one. However, there isn’t enough trustworthy data to determine if omega-6 fatty acids are safe to use as medicine. (4)


People with diabetes who consume a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in their diet have a higher risk of acquiring high blood pressure. If you have diabetes, avoid using omega-6 fatty acid supplements until more is known.

High triglycerides (a type of fat)

Triglyceride levels may rise as a result of omega-6 fatty acids. If your triglyceride levels are high, avoid taking supplements containing omega-6 fatty acids. (5)

Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-6 fats are found in:

  • Vegetable oils Grain-fed animals
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Hummus
  • Farm-raised fish
  • Restaurant food

The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids

FoodMg per serving
Mackerel 4,580
Cod liver oil 2,438
Salmon 2,150
Flaxseed 2,350
Anchovies 411
Sardines 1,463
Chia seeds 5,050
Caviar 1,046
Oysters 329
Herring 2,150


  • Fish oil has been found to protect against sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias.
  • Studies have shown that fish oil can lower triglycerides, increase HDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Taking fish oil foods regularly can help reduce the risk of these conditions.

Frequently asked questions

Can I take fish oil every night?

Because most of the benefits of fish oil are associated with long-term use, you can take it at any time of day. That said, splitting your supplement into two smaller doses in the morning and at night can reduce acid reflux

What should I avoid when taking fish oil?

Possible interactions include:
Anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, herbs, and supplements. These types of drugs, herbs, and supplements reduce blood clotting.
Blood pressure drugs, herbs, and supplements.
Contraceptive drugs.
Orlistat (Xenical, Alli).
Vitamin E. Taking fish oil can reduce vitamin E levels.

At what age can you take fish oil?

When babies are small they get enough omega 3 from the mother’s milk or formula milk. But after one year, you should start feeding your child a diet rich in omega 3 or fish oil supplements, says an associate clinical professor of Paediatrics from the University of California.


1. Leaf, A., Kang, J. X., Xiao, Y. F., & Billman, G. E. (2003). Clinical prevention of sudden cardiac death by n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and mechanism of prevention of arrhythmias by n-3 fish oils. Circulation107(21), 2646-2652.

2. Khoueiry, G., Abi Rafeh, N., Sullivan, E., Saiful, F., Jaffery, Z., Kenigsberg, D. N., … & Kowalski, M. (2013). Do omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce risk of sudden cardiac death and ventricular arrhythmias? A meta-analysis of randomized trials. Heart & Lung42(4), 251-256.

3. Olsen, S. F., Sørensen, J. D., Secher, N. J., Hedegaard, M., Henriksen, T. B., Hansen, H. S., & Grant, A. (1992). Randomised controlled trial of effect of fish-oil supplementation on pregnancy duration. The lancet339(8800), 1003-1007.

4. Nagakura, T., Matsuda, S., Shichijyo, K., Sugimoto, H., & Hata, K. (2000). Dietary supplementation with fish oil rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with bronchial asthma. European Respiratory Journal16(5), 861-865.

5. Mattar, M., & Obeid, O. (2009). Fish oil and the management of hypertriglyceridemia. Nutrition and health20(1), 41-49.

6. Ellulu, M. S., Khaza’ai, H., Abed, Y., Rahmat, A., Ismail, P., & Ranneh, Y. (2015). Role of fish oil in human health and possible mechanism to reduce the inflammation. Inflammopharmacology23, 79-89.

7. Smith, G. I., Julliand, S., Reeds, D. N., Sinacore, D. R., Klein, S., & Mittendorfer, B. (2015). Fish oil–derived n− 3 PUFA therapy increases muscle mass and function in healthy older adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition102(1), 115-122.

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