(HealthDay News) — Long-term marine omega-3 supplementation is associated with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published online in Circulation.

Baris Gencer, MD, MPH, from Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of marine omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes. The meta-analysis included seven trials (81,210 patients).

The researchers reported that nearly three-quarters of participants (72.6%) were enrolled in trials testing ≤1 g/day and 27.4% in trials testing >1 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids. The mean age of participants was 65 years, with 39%  women and an average follow-up of 4.9 years. The meta-analysis showed the use of marine omega-3 fatty acid supplements was associated with an increased risk for AF (2905; hazard ratio [HR], 1.25), with the risk higher in the trials testing >1 g/day (HR, 1.49) versus those testing ≤1 g/day (HR, 1.12).

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“Since the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids also appears to be dose dependent, the associated risk of AF should be balanced against the benefit on atherosclerotic cardiovascular outcomes,” the authors write.

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