We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Can Fish Oil Cause Heart Problems?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 04, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Fish oil has long been thought to be good for the heart. In many cases it absolutely is excellent at preventing heart attacks because it helps to reduce bad cholesterol, which may lead to plaque in the arteries and a malfunctioning heart. However, evidence gathered in 2005 suggest that at least some people with pre-existing heart problems should not take fish oil, and that it in fact may do more harm than good.

A 2005 study examined patients with previous arrhythmias to evaluate the benefits of a regular regimen of fish oil supplementation. In this study the desired finding was that fish oil would reduce incidence of arrhythmias, and thus would be a great complementary tool to traditional heart medicines and treatment.

In many cases, abnormal heart beat incidences did decrease. However one group, those with ventricular tachycardia, actually had more incidences of arrhythmias than the group taking the placebo. While scientists are not quite certain why this occurs, they are clear that fish oil may pose more risk than benefit to those who have previously suffered a heart attack or who have had ventricular tachycardia diagnosed in the past.

Further studies with a patient population consisting entirely of patients with ventricular tachycardia confirm these results, and now doctors are backtracking on the issue of recommending fish oil to patients with heart problems, particularly when these problems are of tachycardic origin.

Those who have ventricular tachycardia can have very high quick rhythms of the heart, which can cause heart attacks. In some cases, ventricular tachycardia may require placement of a defibrillator to control abnormal rhythms. Even when a person has a defibrillator placed, he or she should probably avoid fish oil.

It is unclear whether fish oil might predispose one who might ultimately develop arrhythmias to get them sooner. Scientists think those with ventricular tachycardia may process oils in a way differently than other people, though this mechanism is not clearly understood.

In most cases a daily dose of fish oil can be a heart healthy choice. However those with arrhythmias or a family history of arrhythmias should definitely discuss their risks with a doctor prior to taking fish oil.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon177074 — On May 17, 2011

If some meds say do not take with mineral oil, does that exclude fish oil?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.