Aug
01
2007

Alcohol Can Be Culprit in Irregular Heart Beat

Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, an electrophysiologist at the University of California, San Francisco gave a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society about the effect of alcohol on the heart in younger people.   This convention took place at the Colorado Convention Center at Denver/Co. where from May 9 to 12, 2007 about 11,000 physicians and scientists gathered to discuss the newest in irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and new treatments. Dr. Marcus found that in persons younger than 60 years of age one alcoholic drink per day could lead to atrial fibrillation (=atrial fib) or to atrial flutter. He found in persons older than 60 years he was not able to show a statistically significant risk effect of alcohol, but he pointed out that in this older population there were other risks like older age by itself and hypertension, both of which were independent risk factors for atrial fib/atrial flutter.

This was a case study where 195 consecutive patients with atrial fib/atrial flutter were studied. 2/3 of them were 60 or younger. There were also 185 controls with 75% who had supraventricular arrhythmias and 25% with healthy hearts.  There was a linear dose-response curve between number of alcoholic drinks consumed per day and atrial flutter. With atrial fibrillation there was a tendency in this way, but it had not reached quite statistical significance.  This study is the first one to show that in the younger age group there is sensitivity, at least in those who came down with atrial fib or atrial flutter, of the conductive nerve fibers in the atrial wall tissue to the effects of alcohol. Alcohol seems to reduce the effective refractory period of atrial tissue. Dr. Marcus called this the arrhythmogenic effect of alcohol.

Alcohol Can Be Culprit in Irregular Heart Beat

One drink a day can cause atrial fibrillation

It is not clear at the present time how to balance the cardioprotective effect of moderate alcohol intake against this newly found arrhythmogenic effect.  Also, why would the younger age group be more vulnerable to this effect than the older generation? Is there perhaps a subpopulation of more sensitive patients? These are unanswered questions, but at any rate it is important that those who had atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter refrain from alcohol, as they have shown to be especially sensitive to this arrhythmogenic effect.

More information about irregular heart beats: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/irregular-heart-beats/

Reference: Dr. Gregory M. Marcus at the Annual Meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society

Last edited November 3, 2014

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May
01
2003

Allergies, Asthma And Diabetes All Helped By Fish Oil

Cod liver oil was what your grandmother told you to take. It turns out she was right as two studies from Manchester/England and Boston/US have shown. The common denominator are omega-3-fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon and other fish, generally speaking all sea food that feasts on plankton.

1. A prospective study with a cohort of 1100 children from before their birth until their 5th birthday, which will be next year, is being conducted in Manchester/England.

A smaller pilot study with 37 children (4-year-olds from this cohort) was recently analyzed as reported in Denver by Dr. Clare Murray, a pediatric lung specialist from the University of Manchester. The investigators have done detailed diet analyses with the help of the parents. They found that children with severe asthma were taking in a lot less omega-3-fatty acids than a healthy control group. Further analysis showed that the asthmatic group took in a lot of the inflammation provoking omega-6-fatty acids, whereas the control group had a much better balance between these two unsaturated fatty acids. Apparently it is the ratio between omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids that determines whether the prostaglandin metabolism is switched versus pro-inflammatory (ratio more than 3 to 1) or versus anti-inflammatory (ratio 3 to1 or less). This article can be found in the Medical Post, Vol39, No.17 (page 19), April 29, 2003.

2. Another study is mentioned on the same page of the Medical Post: Dr. Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health is the lead author of a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. 5103 female nurses with established type 2 diabetes have been followed for about 18 years and their medical histories, life styles and eating habits were updated every two years.

Allergies, Asthma And Diabetes All Helped By Fish Oil

Allergies, Asthma And Diabetes All Helped By Fish Oil

In the beginning of the study every patient was free of heart disease and cancer. The big surprise was that eating fish 5 times per week diminished the risk for developing heart disease by 65%. Even the women in the study who ate fish once or twice per week had 40% less heart disease than those who did not eat fish. In addition, fish eaters survived those who were not fish eaters much better (lower mortality). Controls of women without diabetes who ate fish five times per week had also a reduction of heart disease by 35% compared to non fish eating controls. Dr. Hu stated that it is the omega-3 fatty acids in fish that are the active ingredient. They are known to reduce irregular heart beats (arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce blood fat levels (triglycerides), clot formation and improve blood vessel function. He also noted that both genders have the same benefit (no difference between male and female), just that the study was done on female nurses.

Comments: For your information the table below shows what foods contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in our food
Type of unsaturated fatty acid: Foods that contain this type of unsaturated fatty acid:
omega-3 fatty acid flaxseed oil, walnuts, macadamia nuts, fishoil, canola oil, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna and most cold water fish
omega-6-fatty acid corn oil, cotton seed oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil

In the past 50 years the food industry has changed the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in many common foods to the point that the ratios are now 12 to 1 and up to 25 to 1. It is cheaper to produce these foods in that manner as they often have a longer shelve life. Read food labels. Inform yourself about omega-3 fatty acids. Take 2 capsules of a high strength, molecularly distilled (to remove PCB’s, mercury and other heavy metals) fish oil once per day and include more fish in your meals. Avoid deep fried foods, as they contain omega-6 fatty acids.

Here are some links explaining this more:

Link about balanced nutrition.

More details about fat and fatty acids.

Last edited October 26, 2014