Whether high intakes of fish and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) remains uncertain. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the associations of total fish, types of fish, and omega-3 PUFA intake with AF incidence in a large prospective study.
We used data from the Cohort of Swedish Men and the Swedish Mammography Cohort to examine the associations of fish consumption and long-chain omega-3 PUFA intake with AF incidence. At baseline, information on fish and omega-3 PUFA intakes was available from 72,984 men and women, aged 45-83 years, without cardiac disease. Cases of AF were identified through linkage with the Swedish National Patient Register. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks were estimated with the use of Cox proportional hazards models.
Over a follow-up period of 12 years, 6095 participants (3595 men and 2500 women) developed AF. Intakes of total fish, fatty fish (herring/mackerel and salmon/whitefish/char), and long-chain omega-3 PUFAs were not associated with AF incidence after adjustment for other risk factors. However, high consumption of lean fish (cod/saithe/fish fingers) was associated with a lower risk; multivariable relative risk of AF for ≥3 servings/week compared with never consumption was 0.79 (95% confidence interval, 0.65-0.95).
These findings do not support a beneficial association of fatty fish or omega-3 PUFA intake with incident AF. The association between lean fish consumption and AF risk warrants further investigation.