MUNICH, GERMANY. PVCs (premature ventricular complexes) is a very annoying heart rhythm abnormality that affects many people, mostly men. PVCs are usually harmless, but are of concern if heart disease, especially ventricular dysfunction, is also present. German researchers now report that fish oil supplementation is quite effective in reducing the frequency of PVCs. Their clinical trial included 68 patients with an average 6600 PVCs over a 24-hour period. The patients were randomized to receive fish oil (providing 900 mg eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and 1500 mg docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) or sunflower seed oil (providing 5000 mg of linoleic acid) daily for a 16-week period. Twenty-four-hour Holter monitoring was performed at baseline and at the end of the trial period.
At the end of the trial, the average number of PVCs in the fish oil group had decreased by 48% as compared to a 25% reduction in the placebo group. Overall, 44% of the patients in the fish oil group achieved a 70% or greater reduction in PVCs (15% in the placebo group achieved the same reduction). The frequency of couplet and triplet beats decreased by 80% and 90% in 52% of the fish oil consumers.
Sellmayer, A, et al. Effects of dietary fish oil on ventricular premature complexes. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 76, November 1, 1995, pp. 974-76