"Fish oil has no role in the rhythm-control management of atrial fibrillation," said lead investigator Anil Nigam, associate professor at the University of Montreal.

"What is well-known and should be recommended to prevent heart disease and reduce blood pressure is a diet rich in natural omega-3 fats and other nutrients, including fresh fruits and veggies, legumes, olive oil, while lowering intake of red meat, trans fats and saturated fats," Nigam added.

For the trial, 337 patients with atrial fibrillation not receiving conventional anti-arrhythmic therapy were randomly assigned to four grams of fish oil a day or to placebo for up to 16 months.

The researchers found that 64.1 percent of patients who had received fish oil experienced a recurrence of atrial fibrillation compared to 63.2 percent of those taking placebo.

Furthermore, the study concluded that fish oil supplements did not reduce inflammation, which may explain its lack of efficacy.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia. The risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age and with other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The study appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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