How Beneficial Is Fish Oil?

The New York Times reported most clinical trials have found no evidence that the supplement lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke.
3:41 | 04/02/15

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Transcript for How Beneficial Is Fish Oil?
Time to Yahoo! Your day. Breaking down the elements of fish oil. Widely used in the U.S. But a new piece in "The New York times" suggests it may not be as helpful as you think so Sara Haines checked on an expert to find out how much it works. Celebs claim it makes their hire shine and we think it promos heart health but is it legit or should you quit? ? Yahoo ? Reporter: You don't want to get between people and their fish oil. It's one of the most widely used dietary supplements in the U.S. Taken by model elle Macpherson and actress Jennifer aniston. While some use it for dry eyes, to strengthen hair and nails or enhance your mood it's mostly used to protect heart health. But does it work? Is it legit or should you quit? We're enlisting the help of Michele promaulayko editor in chief of "Yahoo health." It contains omega-3 fatty acids from fish, cardiovascular disease, beauty benefits. Reporter: As reported in "The New York times" most of the clinical trials involving fish oil have found no evidence that it lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. A trade association for dietary supplements say there is a strong body of evidence that supports the benefits of supplements such as fish oil in several areas. In theory they should work, have properties to lower inflammation and a blood thinning effect but the jury is still out. We are joined by ABC news chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser and, Dr. Besser, most people say fish oil because they believe there are those health benefits from the omega-3 fatty acids. Are those benefits real? Well, it's a good question. We know that omega-3 fat si as sits are good for us. The big question when you take them as fish oil do they really work? There are some studies that show they do and some studies show they don't. They lower try glis ryes, a fat linked to heart disease but the studies don't seem to show it prevents heart attacks or save lives interest that. We heard in the piece this is one of the most widely used supplements. Yeah. Why is it so popular. It all goes back to the 1980s and there was an observation made among eskimos in Greenland and found that eskimos had very low rates of heart disease and any ate a lot of fish, a lot of fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and figured maybe it would prevent heart attacks and did a study and the first showed some benefits. Others haven't. One of the questions if you take the omega-3s out of the fish do you still get that benefit? Or is it something else about the food, you know, can removing it, does it -- What about the other health benefit, some of the physical like the hair, the nails. Shiny hair. Yes, the important things, the hair. Forget the heart health. So I mean they're looking at it for asthma, allergies, for hair, for dementia, all kinds of things and the studies really haven't come down to show that there's really a benefit. There's a lot of ongoing studies looking at heart disease and Alzheimer's but the jury is still out so I want to ask you two the big question from what you've heard so far in terms of taking fish oil, legit or quit? Quit. I say why supplement when you can eat it? Quit. Well, that's what I would say too. When I come down to it I come down the say way. There are a lot of heart doctors who do recommend it for their patients so don't stop if yours do -- There's no downside to taking it.

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

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