Fish oil capsules: Net benefits for the heart are limited

Every day, millions of people swallow fish oil capsules, many of them lured by the promise that the pills will help them cast off heart disease. In fact, the label of one popular brand includes the line, “May reduce coronary heart disease risk.” Don’t take the bait: these bold marketing claims haven’t caught up with the latest science. Earlier this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued an updated advisory about fish oil supplements and their cardiovascular benefits. Their verdict: fish oil supplements may slightly lower the risk of dying of heart failure or after a recent heart attack. But they do not prevent heart disease. Angling for advice? “It’s probably not wise for any middle-aged person to start taking fish oil supplements without the advice of a physician,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Even for people who do have heart disease, the potential benefits are quite modest, he notes. If you’ve had a heart attack, taking about a gram (1,000 mg) of fish oil per day may lower your risk of sudden cardiac death by about 10%. In people with heart failure, fish oil supplements may reduce death and hospitalizations by about 9%. The AHA’s earlier recommendation, published in 2002, advised people with known heart disease to consume about a gram per day of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, ideally from eating fatty fish. But people could...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Complementary and alternative medicine Drugs and Supplements Health Heart Health Prevention Source Type: blogs

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