Fish oil supplements may not be as effective as you think

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 7:49 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In a recent study, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center said a majority of the 255 fish oil supplements they studied claimed their product could support heart health. The researchers said they found little evidence to support those claims.

Fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, most notably EPA and DHA. The American Heart Association recommends you get three grams of these every day because it could help your heart health.

Other sources like the National Institutes of Health recommend anywhere from 1 to 2 grams, but some pharmacists say unless you’re taking a prescription-strength supplement, you might not be getting that.

“There are risks with taking supplements. Like you mentioned, the dose may not be exactly the same, so that’s why if you’re prescribed fish oil, you should be taking the prescribed fish oil versus just whatever you find in the supermarket,” said Stefanie Jangual, a pharmacist at Gateway Pharmacy.

Rachel Iverson, a dietician at Foundation Fitness and Nutrition, added that incorporating fish into your diet is a good idea.

Both the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association say at least two servings of fish a week could help your heart.

“I never want to say supplement instead of having a well-balanced meal, but let’s say you’re really really crazy busy, or maybe you have a lot of taste aversions, or maybe you’ve got some chewing problems going on, things like that, supplementation is a great benefit to that, but it should never be your first option,” said Iverson.

The Mayo Clinic says good options for omega-3-rich fish include salmon, sardines and canned light tuna.

If you have any concerns about your diet or health, remember to talk to your primary care physician.