Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Should you consider taking a fish oil supplement?

December 1, 2017

The net benefit of these popular supplements is very limited.

h1217c1620725644221
 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
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

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.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.