Omega 3 supplements may not protect the heart: What about food?
Omega-3 fatty acids that are sold in a variety of supplements including fish oil, a may not be any help for cardiovascular health after all, finds a new study. But a current study showing no benefit from supplements doesn’t mean omega-3 fatty acids from food don’t have heart healthy benefits.
In a new analysis, researchers found no difference in heart attack, stroke and death rates between people taking supplements and those given placebo.
The finding, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) included data from more than 70,000 people from 20 studies.
Lead study author Dr. Evangelos Rizos and his colleagues compared cardiovascular outcomes among people who took placebo and those who took omega-3 fish oil supplements.
The most common form of omega-3 supplements taken by consumers is in the form of fish oil. For this study, the fatty acid also came from other sources.
But the study may not be the final word for the role of omega-3 fatty acids for promoting heart health. Supplements have repeatedly failed to show the same health benefits that come from consuming whole foods versus a pill.
One problem with the current study is that participants may not have been followed long enough.
Prescription doses of fish oil are available and many physicians prescribe high doses for patients with elevated triglyceride levels, known to contribute to cardiovascular disease.
The new study also supports past evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from supplements may not prevent cardiovascular disease.
The McMaster University ORIGIN-GRACE study that was published June, 2012 also failed to find any heart benefits for atherosclerosis progression among diabetics and people with prediabetes.
Rizos, from Greece's University Hospital of Ioannina, concluded omega-3 supplements can’t be justified for routine use for heart disease and stroke prevention. The take home message from the newest study is speak with your doctor about taking supplements. that may not confer the same benefits for health as eating a balanced diet.
JAMA news release
September 11, 2012
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