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Fish Consumption is Associated with Reduced Risk for Irregular Heartbeats

It is well known that a proper diet plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In particular, diets rich in fish have been strongly associated with a reduction in risk. One possible explanation for this risk reduction is the potential for a reduction in irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias. To verify that this association is correct, researchers in Greece used a food frequency questionnaire to determine the toal fish intake of 3,042 adults who were free of cardiovascular disease and compared this to their electrocardiogram QTc intervals. (QTc intervals were measured using electrocardogram {ECG} at rest. Longer QTc intervals have been correlated with a greater risk for ventricular arrhythmia, sudden death and coronary artery disease).

After reviewing the data, reserachers observed a strong inverse association between increased fish consumption and QTc duration in the study subjects. In particular, consumption of greater than 300 grams of fish per week was associated with a 30% reduced risk for prolonged QTc interval and ventricular arrhythmia. This translates in 1 to 2 servings of fatty fish per week, or 500-1,000 mg of EPA and DHA daily from fish oil. Higher levels of fish intake were also associated with reduced blood pressure, fasting glucose, and blood triglyceride levels as well as lower Body Mass Index (BMI).

Chrysohoou, C; Panagiotakos, DB et al. "Long-term fish consumption is associated with protection against arrhythmia in healthy persons in a Mediterranean region-the ATTICA study." Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85:1385-91.

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