Dear reader: The number of people taking fish oil/omega-3 fatty acid supplements is growing each day. This is in part driven by the American heart Association’s (AHA) 2017 advice to consider fish oil supplementation for patients with recent heart attack. Unfortunately, despite the promise of benefit, the stream of evidence coming from past several years of data analysis, including the latest meta-analysis of 10 large clinical trials (all published on JAMA Cardiology) have pointed towards a disappointing conclusion: The popular ‘cure-all’ golden capsules do very little to protect our hearts from disease.
Experts in the field are not surprised by the evidence however.
We have gotten quite good in treating heart disease over time – the use of medication like statins, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and aspirin in addition to procedures to fix the blood flow through ailing hearts have sidelined any initially perceived benefit from fish oil. Cardioprotection coming from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish from improved diets further reduced the need for and effect of additional supplementation of fish oil.
And it is not only fish oil that’s found itself on a chopping block – most other supplements, many vitamins including vitamin D (except for breast-fed babies or few of those truly deficient), detox and cleansing products etc. are largely inefficient, ineffective and potentially even harmful.
Versatille and healthy diet remains the main source of all the nutrients we need – surprise, surprise!
So, try to eat a healthy diet, exercise and stay well hydrated – chances are these 3 interventions combined, at least according to best available evidence, is all your heart needs to keep on ticking.
Yours in health,