Many people take fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids with a goal of warding off cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association has recently released a study that has drawn a number of conclusions about the supplements.
First, the AHA has found no evidence that fish oil supplements have any benefit for warding off cardiovascular disease in healthy people, which includes heart attacks and strokes.
However, the same study concluded that individuals who have had a heart attack or have heart failure are less likely to die if they take 1000 mg of fish oil supplements per day. Taking supplements can reduce the chance of death after heart failure by nine percent.
According to the National Institutes of health, omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have some benefit in warding off cardiovascular disease. However, many researchers have concluded that the effect is better obtained by eating fish rather than taking supplements. The reason may be that people who include fish in their diets often use the fish as substitution for less heart-healthy food, such as red meat. Individuals who take supplements can still have an unhealthy diet that is too light on fruits and vegetables and too heavy on less healthy food. Seafood also has other healthy nutrients that are absent in fish oil supplements. Many people who eat a lot of fish also pursue other healthy lifestyle choices, such as frequent exercise.
If someone is considering using fish oil supplements as part of a dietary regimen, he or she should consult with a physician before doing so.
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