PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Millions of people take fish oil supplements, but new research says it’s only helpful for certain people.
People take fish oil for a variety of reasons, everything from fighting heart disease and cancer to improving memories, but a new study from the American Heart Association says not everyone will benefit.
Forty-four year-old Anurag Mehta checks in with his cardiologist every few months since suffering a heart attack at a young age.
“I had high cholesterol, and I was 33 so I kind of more or less ignored it,” said Mehta. “I’d gotten quite sedentary in terms of lifestyle.”
He was put on daily omega-3 fish oil supplements. Now, the American Heart Association says the supplements may have life-saving benefits for heart attack patients, as well as heart failure patients.
“They found evidence in patients with congestive heart failure, a weakened heart muscle, it helps reduce their risk of death and reduce their risk of repeat hospitalization,” said Cardiologist Ravi Dave.
But when it comes to the average person, the Heart Association says it cannot recommend fish oil to prevent heart disease because there is not enough research to support the idea.
Doctor Dave recommends fish oil for all his heart patients, especially if they don’t eat fish.
“Fish oil is an easy way to supplement your diet that may be lacking in those necessary ingredients,” said Dave.
“I’ve never stopped. For 11 years, I’ve been taking it every day,” said Mehta.
Mehta credits fish oil and lifestyle changes for keeping him healthy since his heart attack.
Fish oil supplements are very popular in the U.S. 19-million adults take them, but experts say heart patients should talk to their doctor before starting any supplement.