Much evidence shows that the marine omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid have beneficial effects in various cardiac disorders, and their use is recommended in guidelines for management of patients after myocardial infarction. However, questions have been raised about their usefulness alongside optimum medical therapies with agents proven to reduce risk of cardiac events in high-risk patients. Additionally, there is some evidence for a possible pro-arrhythmic effect in subsets of cardiac patients. Some uncertainly exists about the optimum dose needed to obtain beneficial effects and the relative merit of dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids versus supplements. We review evidence for the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on various cardiac disorders and the risk factors for cardiac disease. We also assess areas of uncertainty needing further research.
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