Thursday, 13 September 2012

Do you take fish oil supplements?

If you could get healthy by taking a pill, we would all be prime specimens and live forever. Alas, it's not that easy - as evidenced by a recent study that found that fish oil pills do not lower your risk of heart disease or stroke.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was based on a review of 20 clinical trials involving 68,000 participants. That's big enough to make the results important.

Fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are huge sellers. It's estimated that Americans spent more than $1 billion on them last year - and sales are increasing.

But this study indicates that it could be wasted money. The authors found no association between fish oil pills and a lower risk of death from stroke or heart attacks.

The theory behind taking fish oil pills is based on studies in the 1980s that found that cultures with diets high in fatty fish such as sardines and salmon had lower heart disease rates. However studies since then have been less clear.

The takeaway: Your diet should include healthy food, including fish at least twice a week, along with whole grains and vegetables.

You should also be exercising regularly, especially as you get older.


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