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‘Fishy’ Findings in the World of Heart Health

Fish Oil SupplementsOmega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are currently used by millions of Americans in hopes of maintaining a healthy heart. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, fish oils top the chart as the most popular dietary supplement sold in the United States. In 2009, over-the-counter fish oil supplements brought in a staggering $739 million according to Forbes magazine.

Foods fortified with omega-3s have continued to pop up on store shelves, racking in a good amount of cash for the manufacturers—around $4 billion in the year of 2010 to be exact. From peanut butter to margarine, consumers have undoubtedly bought in to the belief that omega-3 fatty acids will keep your heart health at bay, but are the assumptions true for all seeking to better their heart health?

Researchers from South Korea have been in the process of surveying the effects of fish oil supplements on more than 20,000 patients with cardiovascular disease. The candidates involved in the study were advised to take fish oil supplements for at least a year.

[Over-the-counter fish oil supplements differ from prescription fish oil by delivering a significant smaller dose to the body.]

Dr. Robert Eckel, professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine claims that the fish oil story is still “fishy.” Although there is no evidence to suggest that fish oil is harmful, he still questions the effects of over-the-counter supplements which deliver as little as 300mg of EPA and DHA to the body.

Could the study conducted by researchers in South Korea have been swayed due to the use of cardiovascular medications? Dr.’s Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and JoAnn Manson, chief of preventative medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, believe so.

Due to the use of cardiovascular medications such as ACE inhibitors, statins and beta-blockers, fish oil showed to have few benefits for heart health.

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