Omega-3 fatty acids discovered in certain oily fish, including salmon, could prove to be extremely beneficial in averting the occurrence if sudden death due to heart problems.
Thomas Kottke and other researchers at Regions Hospital’s Heart Center at St. Paul, Minneapolis, created a computer model to check possible sudden deaths in a fictional group of people aged 30-84.
The researchers tested several settings. In one, people ate sufficient portions of omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements, reported the online edition of health magazine WebMD.
In another case, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were used to shock the heart back into action if it developed a fatal rhythm problem that can result in sudden death.
In a third scenario, people who needed implant-able defibrillators because of heart failure got those devices. Heart failure greatly increases the chance of sudden death.
All three scenarios reduced sudden death risk. But omega-3 fatty acids yielded the best results – even in healthy people. The study will appear in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine’s October edition.
Sudden death risk dropped 6.4 percent with adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake, compared with 3.3 percent for implant-able defibrillators, and less than one percent with easy access to AEDS, the study shows.
“About three quarters of the imaginary lives saved in the omega-3 group were healthy people,” said Kottke.
“Choosing fishes two or three times a week is a good idea,” Kottke added. “Grilled, baked, or broiled – not fried,” he added. “Fried fish appears to lose all of its benefits.”