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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Preventing sudden death with n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids and defibrillators," Kottke TE, Wu LA, et al, Am J Prev Med, 2006; 31(4): 316-323This is a very interesting study in that it compared the effects of 3 different interventions on the prevention of sudden death, raising blood levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids was estimated to be significantly more effective at preventing sudden death than distributing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) or implanting cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

The researchers used sensitivity analysis, in 2004, 2005, and 2006, with a hypothetical population of subjects between the ages of 30 and 84, resembling the population of Olmsted County in the state of Minnesota. Results of the analysis found that total mortality (death rate) would be expected to decrease by 6.4% through raising omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood, with 75% of this decrease due to raising omega-3 fatty acid levels among healthy subjects. This expected decrease associated with raising omega-3 fatty acid levels was significantly higher than the expected decrease in total mortality associated with implanting ICDs (3.3%) and the expected decrease in total mortality associated with distributing AEDs (0.8%). The authors conclude, "Based on central values of candidacy and efficacy, raising omega-3 fatty acid levels would have about eight times the impact of distributing AEDs and two times the impact of implanting ICDs. Raising omega-3 fatty acid levels would also reduce the rates of sudden death among the subpopulation that does not qualify for ICDs.

We all have the media images of docs with paddles yelling 'Clear" and saving someone's life. Though extremely invasive it makes sense to have these tools available under the proper circumstances. Isn't it interesting however that the results are so much greater with something as inexpensive as essential fatty acid supplementation?


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