Can Fish Oil Help Protect Against Cardiac Arrest?

Omega-3 fatty acids have long been praised for their health-boosting benefits, but a new study suggests that they may be helpful for people on hemodialysis, who are among the highest risk patients for sudden cardiac death. Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine believe that the findings are impressive enough that a placebo-controlled study is warranted in order to confirm the results. They found that the higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood of patients just starting hemodialysis were strongly connected to a lower risk of cardiac death over the first year of treatment. The five-year survival rate for patients on hemodialysis is 35 percent – the most common cause of death in these patients is sudden cardiac death, accounting for one in every four deaths.


In the first year of treatment, the risk of sudden cardiac death is at its highest. The annual rate of sudden cardiac death is between six and seven percent, but this could exceed the rate in patients with heart failure. The study was the first step in identifying the possible forms of treatment for sudden cardiac death in these patients. Because omega-3 fatty acids can be sourced from your diet, the findings could have a great impact on the diet that’s recommended to people on dialysis. Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital part of our heath, offering numerous benefits for people from improving brain function to lowering your blood pressure. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from your diet, in foods such as oily fish, including salmon, tuna and mackerel. Nuts and seeds are also great sources if you don’t eat fish. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough from your diet, you could always top up your intake with supplements – speak to your GP if you need further advice as to the benefits they can offer you.

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