The jury may still be out on whether you need a supplement for fish oil.
By ABC NEWS
April 2, 2015, 3:09 PM
• 4 min read
-- Fish oil is a dietary supplement first touted for its heart benefits and now used for everything from healing dry eyes to strengthening hair and nails to enhancing one’s mood.
“Fish oil is a supplement that contains omega 3-fatty acids from fish,” said Michele Promaulayko, editor-in-chief of Yahoo Health. “It has long been thought to have protective elements for your heart, for stroke and cardiovascular disease.”
“Some people take it for its beauty benefits,” she added.
“From 2005 to 2012, at least two dozen rigorous studies of fish oil were published in leading medical journals…All but two of these studies found that compared with a placebo, fish oil showed no benefit,” the newspaper reported in a March 30th article.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade association, countered those findings in a statement to ABC News, saying, “There is a strong body of evidence that supports the benefits of supplements such as fish oil in several areas.”
ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser, says that the "jury is still out" on whether fish oil supplements really work.
"There are some studies that show that they do and there are some studies that show that the don’t," Besser said today on "Good Morning America." "They lower your triglycerides, which are a fat that is linked to heart disease, but the studies don’t seem to show that it prevents heart attacks or saves lives from that."
Besser attributes fish oil supplements' popularity to an observation made among Eskimos in Greenland in the 1980s.
"They found that Eskimos in Greenland had very low rates of heart disease and when they looked at what they ate, they ate a lot of fish...that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids," Besser said. "So they figured, well, maybe this will prevent heart attacks."
"So they did a study [and] the first study showed some benefits but other studies haven’t showed those benefits," he said. "Another question is, if you take the Omega-3s out of the fish and just take them as a supplement, do you still get that same benefit?"