Fish oil supplements are mostly useless for protecting you from heart disease, according to a new review of multiple studies done on the issue, writes Scientific American.
Sure, we’ve been told time and time again recently that omega-3 fatty acids are extremely good for your health, but this is not about eating fish and then reaping the benefits. This is about fish oil supplements, which claim to have the same results as the real deal, when in fact they seem to not do anything if we look at the scientific evidence.
R. Preston Mason, Ph.D., MBA, is a member of the Cardiovascular Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He writes that deaths from cardiovascular disease have been on the rise again since 2011. One occurs every 38 seconds, statistically speaking. And that cause of death had been on a decline for years. He also notes that 18.8 million Americans take fish oil supplements in the hope that these will protect their hearts.
“After decades of promises that fish oil “may work,” the lack of demonstrated benefit leads me to conclude that consumers are wasting their money on supplements in an effort to reduce cardiovascular risk,” he writes.
Fish oil supplements are not much help
If you look at the evidence available when it comes to fish oil supplements, the one published in Annals of Internal Medicine in July, you can see it’s really not conclusive. The review looked at 277 trials, with almost one million subjects and analyzed the efficiency of 24 supplements.
Some of the studies found that the supplements have a reduced quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, lower than what they claim, varying content and unverified purity. At the same time, some of them contain saturated fats and rancid oils.
So your best bet is still eating a lot of fish for enjoying the health benefits directly.