Experts examined the effects of fish oil supplements
So-called omega-3 fish oil supplements have long been associated with improved heart health. Researchers have now found that taking such supplements does not really prevent heart disease in most people.
The American Heart Association (AHA) researchers found that taking fish oil supplements did not protect against heart disease. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Circulation".
Fish oil supplements only make sense for certain people
The authors explain that taking fish oil supplements could only lead to health benefits if patients have already been diagnosed with heart failure or have already had a heart attack.
Many Americans take fish oil supplements
A representative American survey of more than 2,000 people in 2015 found that about 21 percent of those surveyed took supplements with fish oil. The current study indicated that many of the consumers did not receive any protective benefits from taking it, the doctors say.
Experts analyze the data from 13 clinical studies
The bottom line of the study evaluation is that many people take the fish oil supplements for no good reason, the scientists explain. The American Heart Association evaluators analyzed the data from 13 randomized clinical trials for their study. In doing so, they attempted to better understand the potential role of fish oil supplement in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular events, including strokes and heart attacks.
At-risk patients are protected from death from heart disease by fish oil supplements
In people without heart disease, there is no evidence that fish oil supplements have any benefit in preventing heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure. In people with a previous heart attack or diagnosed heart failure, however, taking a daily dose of 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by about ten percent, the experts explain.
Fish oil with omega-3 can prevent arrhythmias
The omega-3 fats in fish oil can help reduce the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats). These arrhythmias can lead to sudden death and lower triglyceride levels, doctors say.
Eat fatty fish more often
Ideally, people should make an effort to eat a high-fat fish diet. In this way, those affected get enough omega-3 fatty acids, the authors say. Unfortunately, the data would show that most people don't. Heart disease experts therefore agree that the best way to get the protective benefits of omega-3 is by eating fish. Eat more fatty fish instead of taking fish oil supplements, the authors advise.
Which fish contain omega 3?
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Mercury levels are also low in these fish. Fish can generally have a protective effect, because they are a source of protein that contains little saturated fat and are rich in other nutrients, say the doctors.
Eat 100 grams of fish twice a week
The American Heart Association recommends that people eat around 100 grams of fish twice a week to keep their hearts healthy through consumption. If you want to take supplements with fish oil, you should first discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your doctor, the experts continue. (as)