Fish Oil Not Good for the Heart?

Dietary supplement previously thought to help prevent heart disease.
3:00 | 09/11/12

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Transcript for Fish Oil Not Good for the Heart?
We have news about healthy living tonight. A big headline about one of the most popular dietary supplements in the country. The american heart association has long said that eating oily fish is good for your heart, so millions of people take fish oil supplements hoping for the benefit and, in fact, doctors often recommend the supplements for people who already have heart disease. But a big new study out tonight says those pills are not doing what they thought and here's abc's dr. Richard besser. Reporter: Fish oil may help to ken a healthy heart, $740 million is what we spend on them a year. Containing the substance heart doctors swear by. Omega-3 fatty acids. Look at the bottles, the packaging says it may rereduce the risk of coronary heart disease but that groundbreaking new study says the proof is in and fish oil capsules don't deliver on their promise. Researchers looked at 20 studies on heart health and say that overall people who took fish oil supplements died of heart disease or stroke at the same rate as anybody else. In short, no proven benefit. There's a lot of claims that don't have the evidence behind them. Reporter: But eating fish itself, that seems to help. People who eat fish twice a week are less likely to have heart disease. And less likely to die from it. It's not clear why getting OMEGA-3s IN FOOD NOT PILLS MAKES A difference but it does. One theory the body absorbs the OMEGA-3s FROM FISH IN ANOTHER Way. People who eat fish do other healthy things, as well. If you're spending money to do that, it may be better to put it towards a nice piece of salmon, dr. Richard besser, abc news, new york. You're always warning us. Cautioning us about those supplements. I am. Very little about supplements is proven because unlike drug, it doesn't have to be. If you look at the bottle and you look at any health claim, there's a little asterisk after the claim and here's what it says on the back, "these statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." All they need to prove is that it's safe, not that it works and so I tell people to troy and get their nutrition through food. Unless your doctor tells you have a true nutritional deficiency, my opinion this is not a good use of people's money. You tell us that over and over again, your friends around here. Thank you, richard besser.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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