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Natural Omega-3 Better Than Fish Oil Supplements for Heart Health

Natural Omega-3 Better Than Fish Oil Supplements for Heart Health

A study released last week finds fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids have no significant benefit to heart health.

The study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, sought conclusive evidence to years of conflicting data on fish oil supplements. Researchers looked at 20 clinical trials involving omega-3 fatty acid supplements derived from fish oil and found no significant association between the supplements and incidences of cardiac-related deaths, heart attacks, or strokes.

Medical professionals have long recommended omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid after seeing low rates of heart disease among cultures with diets rich in omega-3. But the new study suggests a difference between taking fish oil supplements and consuming foods that are naturally high in omega-3 like certain types of fish, walnuts, flax seeds, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Studies have shown that eating these foods can extend the lives of people who have already had a heart attack.

The findings speak to the problem of relying on individual supplements to treat or prevent health conditions. USA Today reports that sales of fish oil supplements reached $1.1 billion last year, a 5.4% increase from 2010. Richard Karas, director of the preventative cardiology center at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said Americans are often quick to take a pill but don’t want to hear that they should look at their diet.

While fish oil supplements might not prevent heart attack or stroke as once hoped, they are still approved for lowering triglycerides in patients with pancreatitis. Researchers also suggest that further research is warranted to discover potential benefits to other conditions or specific patient populations.

Image Source: Jonas N/Flickr

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2 comments on “Natural Omega-3 Better Than Fish Oil Supplements for Heart Health”

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5 Years Ago

There are different explanation towards omega 3 health benefits which can be confusing for many individuals. In contrary with this article, there are still individuals who believed that this fatty acid can greatly help in improving the functions of the heart. It is still essential to have a we-balanced diet and do routine exercises.

Ruby Warnock
5 Years Ago

I think this article is pushing an agenda. I read the JAMA article and the authors found nothing in their systematic review/meta-analysis about food sources being superior to supplementation. They found nothing in the literature associating omega-3 PUFA supplementation with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association. Meaning omega-3 supplementation does not lower your risk (in the published literature) of dying from a cardiac event, but it they have been hypothesized to lower triglyceride levels, prevent serious arrhythmias, or even decrease platelet aggregation and lower blood pressure. I agree food sources may be a more pure form of omega-3s but the levels are not anywhere to as close to the levels in supplements.


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