Most People Don’t Need to Take Omega-3 Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids are seen in the body’s cell membranes and help produce hormones that keep artery walls healthy and control blood clotting while keeping the heart pumping at a steady rate, avoiding arrhythmia and avoiding high blood pressure. The human body is unable to produce Omega-3 so it has to be found in foods such as fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables, flax seeds and oils. They are available in supplement form, in 2012 it was estimated that over 18 million adults in the US were taking supplements. Many people who take these supplements are taking them without any scientific backing to justify taking these supplements.

The American Heart Association decided to investigate the benefit of omega-3 supplements. They participants were given 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 supplements a day. They found that supplements are beneficial for participants who have had previous heart attack or heart failure but they could not conclude that they were helpful for those who had not experienced prior heart issues. The AHA published this study as a guideline for physicians to consider whether their patients needed supplements or not. It is definitely recommended however, in patients who are at risk for future cardiac issues due to prior events.

Key Points:

  • 1Omega-3’s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body is unable to produce on its own, but can be found in foods.
  • 2The American Heart Association’s study found that supplements benefit those who have had a heart attack, but there was inadequate evidence that they play significant role in prevention.
  • 3The recommendations of the study are limited to the importance of preventing a heart attack or heart failure and do not speak to any other benefits that may be provided by taking Omega-3 supplements.

Because of their fundamental role in the good functioning of the human body, omega-3s are believed to have a variety of health benefits, particularly in regards to heart disease.”

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