Nothing Fishy About Those Omega-3s
Not a magic pill . . . but lots of positives.
By Matthew Bralick, FitMe Wellness
Well, from the murky depths that is the world of dietary supplements, a champion has emerged. Say “hello” to omega-3 fish oils. A meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials worldwide was recently conducted, including the VITAL study, the largest randomized trial of omega-3s to date. The analysis covered more than 120,000 adults.
The significance of the results from the VITAL study reset resets thinking on this subject, as just two years prior, without this data, two reviews did not find clear evidence for omega-3 fish oil’s benefit. However, after the influx of new data, it became clear that there are indeed benefits to taking these supplements everyday.
The findings showed that people who took daily omega-3 fish supplements, compared to those who took a placebo, lowered their risk for most cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes, except stroke. This included an 8 percent reduced risk for heart attack and coronary heart disease (CHD) death. The association was particularly evident at higher doses of the oil supplement, leading to the conclusion that fish omega-3 supplementation, more than 840mg/day, may have a role in preventative maintenance in appropriate patients.
This isn’t a magic pill that prevents heart disease, by any means. But as a stand alone supplement, an 8 percent decrease in risk of CVD and CHD death is significant. However, as JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, puts it, “public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, and being physically active.”•