A new meta-analysis study published on the JAMA Cardiology website shows no coronary heart disease (CHD) protection from using fish oil supplements. A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies. This study covered 10 clinical trials including over 77,000 participants. The results reinforce the findings of a previous AHA study from last year that showed similar results.
From the study:
“The results provide no support for current recommendations to use omega-3 fatty acid supplements for the prevention of fatal coronary heart disease or any cardiovascular disease in people who have or at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”
Fish oil supplementation, while popular, has grown increasingly controversial in the last few years. A wide variety of products are available, but being supplements, these are not highly regulated by the FDA and quality (and actual ingredients) can vary widely. It is also interesting to note that the earlier AHA study covered mostly prescription fish oil pills – which should be significantly higher quality and purity when compared to over the counter supplements. Observational studies in Western and Asian populations have reported that regular consumption of fish once or twice a week is associated with lower risks of death from coronary heart disease. But it is important to note that this is via the consumption of fish, not fish oil supplements.
While fish oil supplements may be of questionable value, experts still recommend the consumption of fish. Most fish are a very lean protein – and eating fish displaces other less healthy sources of protein. Fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats which have significant health benefits. Currently, the American Heart Association recommends eating two 3½-ounce portions of fish per week.
Our recommendation : eat fish. It’s healthy, tasty, and has important health benefits.
- Aung T, Halsey J, Kromhout D, Gerstein HC, Marchioli R, Tavazzi L, Geleijnse JM, Rauch B, Ness A, Galan P, Chew EY, Bosch J, Collins R, Lewington S, Armitage J, Clarke R, . Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use With Cardiovascular Disease RisksMeta-analysis of 10 Trials Involving 77 917 Individuals. JAMA Cardiol. Published online January 31, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.5205
- Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (Fish Oil) Supplementation and the Prevention of Clinical Cardiovascular Disease: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association
David S. Siscovick, Thomas A. Barringer, Amanda M. Fretts, Jason H.Y. Wu, Alice H. Lichtenstein, Rebecca B. Costello, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Terry A. Jacobson, Mary B. Engler, Heather M. Alger, Lawrence J. Appel, Dariush Mozaffarian and On behalf of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Clinical Cardiology
Circulation. 2017;CIR.0000000000000482, originally published March 13, 2017
- Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, American Heart Association