Fish Oil: Why the Fabulously Popular Supplement May Not Provide the Benefit You Want

There are several varieties of supplements on the market today. Chances are you take one or more varieties daily. One of the most popular supplements is fish oil. As per the recent report from the National Institutes of Health, fish oil is the third most widely used supplement in the U.S. In fact, Americans spend approximately $1.2 billion a year on this supplement.

Although nutritionists and doctors have long touted fish oil as a path to heart health, the research supporting their efficacy is shaky. So should you really be spending your hard earned money on them, find that out on this post.

What was the cause of the misconceptions about fish oil?

Earlier research found that fish oil was beneficial for heart disease. A good example of such research is the one carried out by the Danish scientists Dr. Jorn Dyerberg and Dr. Hans Olaf Bang in the 1970s. The research showed that the Inuit living in northern Greenland had unusually low rates of cardiovascular disease thanks to the omega-3-rich diet consisting mainly of fish, whale blubber, and seal.

Several studies from the 1990s also encouraged the use of fish oil to improve heart health. An example is an Italian study that showed that heart attack survivors who were treated with fish oil (1 gram daily) had a significant drop in mortality as compared to patients on vitamin E (300 mg). All these studies have led to the misconceptions of fish oil.

But today, the vast majority of clinical trials involving the supplements suggests that it provides no benefits when it comes to promoting heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) reviewers reviewed several randomized clinical trials that covered the supplements as well as their role in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular events. They recorded consistently little to no substantial effect regarding the reduction of cardiovascular issues.

Now the AHA has published a new science advisory stating that fish oil may not benefit the general population as earlier on thought. However, the report says individuals with heart failure may live longer by taking fish oil supplements as they seem to lower the heart disease death rate by approximately 10 percent.

The advisory panel concluded there was no proof that the supplements protect individuals with or at risk of diabetes from heart disease, or that the supplements prevent recurrent atrial fibrillation or strokes when taken by the general population.

What should you do in the meantime?

William of the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota says that people should follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines. Also, those who are unsure of what to do should talk to a professional. If you are in Meridian, Idaho, you can visit the Treasure Valley Family Medicine.

How can you prevent a heart attack?

• Medication
• Exercise – strive for 30 minutes of exercise each week.
• Observe a heart-healthy diet – a recent study involving 7,000 people who were on a strict Mediterranean diet showed a 30 percent reduction in strokes and heart attacks.