Omega-3 Index and Anti-Arrhythmic Potential of Omega-3 PUFAs

Nutrients. 2017 Oct 30;9(11):1191. doi: 10.3390/nu9111191.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are permanent subjects of interest in relation to the protection of cardiovascular health and the prevention of the incidence of both ventricular and atrial arrhythmias. The purpose of this updated review is to focus on the novel cellular and molecular effects of omega-3 PUFAs, in the context of the mechanisms and factors involved in the development of cardiac arrhythmias; to provide results of the most recent studies on the omega-3 PUFA anti-arrhythmic efficacy and to discuss the lack of the benefit in relation to omega-3 PUFA status. The evidence is in the favor of omega-3 PUFA acute and long-term treatment, perhaps with mitochondria-targeted antioxidants. However, for a more objective evaluation of the anti-arrhythmic potential of omega-3 PUFAs in clinical trials, it is necessary to monitor the basal pre-interventional omega-3 status of individuals, i.e., red blood cell content, omega-3 index and free plasma levels. In the view of evidence-based medicine, it seems to be crucial to aim to establish new approaches in the prevention of cardiac arrhythmias and associated morbidity and mortality that comes with these conditions.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; connexin-43; omega-3 PUFAs; omega-3 index; ventricular fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / pharmacology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid