Recent Blog Articles
Monkeypox: An unfamiliar virus spreading fast — sound familiar?
Diabetes: Does a long-term study reinforce or change approaches to prevention?
War anxiety: How to cope
Can we prevent depression in older adults by treating insomnia?
Want to try veganism? Here's how to get started
Vitamin B6 flies under the radar: Are you getting enough?
The formula shortage is hurting families: What parents should know and do
Gyn Care 101: What to know about seeing a gynecologist
Swimming lessons save lives: What parents should know
Strong legs help power summer activities: Hiking, biking, swimming, and more
Should you consider taking a fish oil supplement?
The net benefit of these popular supplements is very limited.
Image: © stocksnapper/Thinkstock
Millions of Americans swallow an amber-colored capsule of fish oil each day, lured by its alleged health benefits. In the supplement aisle of most pharmacies, supermarkets, and big-box stores, the shelves are crowded with different brands of fish oil supplements (see "Fish oil: A brief history"). Many tout benefits for the heart. In fact, the label of one popular brand includes the phrase "May reduce coronary heart disease risk."
But those bold marketing claims haven't caught up with the latest science. Earlier this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued an updated advisory about fish oil supplements and their cardiovascular benefits. Their verdict: Fish oil supplements may slightly lower the risk of dying of heart failure or after a recent heart attack. But they do not prevent heart disease. (A separate AHA advisory about fish consumption is slated for release in 2018.)
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!