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This Popular Supplement Could Increase Your Risk of Heart Problems, New Study Finds

This seemingly protective supplement could be putting your health at risk.

It seems like there's a supplement for everything these days. You can pop a pill to improve your cognitive function, take another to lower your blood pressure, and swallow one more to help you sleep. However, there's one supplement you might be taking every day that could have serious side effects—in fact, it might even put your heart health in jeopardy.

A new meta-analysis published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation reveals that taking marine omega-3 fatty acids—AKA fish oil—could increase your risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregular and/or rapid heartbeat.

RELATED: Side Effects of Taking Fish Oil Every Day, According to Experts

To conduct their research, medical professionals from Geneva University Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital reviewed seven studies conducted on a total of 81,210 study subjects. What the researchers found was that marine omega-3 supplementation was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, particularly among those who took more than one gram of the supplements per day.

woman taking fish oil
Shutterstock / blackzheep

What are the risks of atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation often causes weakness, dizziness, chest pain, fatigue, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and inability to exercise for prolonged periods of time, the Mayo Clinic reports.

While those issues are certainly cause enough to seek treatment, the long-term risks of untreated atrial fibrillation are far worse. According to the American Heart Association, untreated atrial fibrillation makes you twice as likely to suffer a heart-related death and five times as likely to suffer a stroke.

How can I reverse the effects of atrial fibrillation?

Luckily, if treated in a timely manner, you may be able to head more serious health issues related to atrial fibrillation off at the pass. In addition to talking to your doctor about potentially altering or eliminating your dose of marine-derived omega-3 supplements, surgery, therapy, and medications can all help treat atrial fibrillation.

For more ways to keep your heart healthy, check out The Best Foods That Can Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease, and for the latest healthy eating tips and tricks delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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