Bad news folks: it looks like eating all those nasty fish oil supplements isn’t really as good for your heart as once thought.
Health.com reported a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that claims the supplements are not very effective at protecting the heart at all.
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, tuna and trout.
Omega-3 acids have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides and prevent heart rhythm abnormalities, but clinical trials investigating whether this equates to lower risk of heart attacks and strokes have produced mixed results.
In the study, researchers reexamined data from 20 previous clinical trials, involving almost 70,000 patients. From the study, researchers concluded that fish oil supplements were no more effective at reducing cardiovascular problems than a placebo.
However, diets rich in fish and omega-3 have been linked to a lower risk of heart attack, so why did the supplement trial have such poor results?
Inconsistencies in the trial details may take some of the blame, but it remains a possibility that the fish oil doesn’t provide the same benefits of the omega-3s as it does in its natural form.
According to Dr. John Erwin III, a cardiologist at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, this has occurred before with other types of supplements.
Diets that are high in vitamins C and E appear to reduce the risk for heart disease, but their corresponding supplements don’t, and may even be harmful to the heart, says Erwin.
Moral of the story: Get your omega-3s the natural way and eat two to three servings of cold-water fish per week.