Home Heart Disease Treatment Clinical trials review shows fish oil supplements not beneficial against cardiovascular disease

Clinical trials review shows fish oil supplements not beneficial against cardiovascular disease

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People who spend their money on fish oil supplements in the hope it will prevent heart attacks or stroke might need to rethink the habit.

The latest review of 10 randomised clinical trials found that people with cardiovascular disease obtained no significant benefits from taking omega-3 fatty acids supplements.

Public health expert Dr Ken Harvey, an associate professor at Monash University's school of public health, said the results are not surprising.

A review of clinical trials of fish oil supplements found they provide no benefit against cardiovascular disease. Picture: 9NEWS.

A review of clinical trials of fish oil supplements found they provide no benefit against cardiovascular disease. Picture: 9NEWS.
The review found omega-3 fatty acid supplements provide no significant effects in trying to prevent heart attack and stroke. Picture: 9NEWS.
The review found omega-3 fatty acid supplements provide no significant effects in trying to prevent heart attack and stroke. Picture: 9NEWS.

"We often find that positive results in initial trials are often not confirmed," he said.

"Our treatment of heart disease is getting better with lowering blood pressure (and) lipid lowering drugs.

"(For) people trying fish oil today, it may be much more difficult to show an effect than it was some time ago when we weren't treating heart disease as well as we are now."

Over the past decade, the Heart Foundation has moved away from supporting fish oil supplements, now saying they have a limited place in prevention. Picture: 9NEWS.

Over the past decade, the Heart Foundation has moved away from supporting fish oil supplements, now saying they have a limited place in prevention. Picture: 9NEWS.

Dr Harvey also said fish oil is fairly harmless, so some doctors might still advise people who are at high risk to continue taking the capsules.

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"For the average person though, who hasn't got heart disease and is perhaps being seduced by the advertisements that suggest fish oil is great for preventing things, there really is no good evidence," he said.

Over the past decade the Heart Foundation has shifted its stance on the use of supplements to match the evidence. It says fish oil supplements now have a limited place in prevention.

Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 include salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel and canned sardines. Picture: 9NEWS.

Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 include salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel and canned sardines. Picture: 9NEWS.

Although, there are allowances for people with high triglyceride levels, a nasty type of blood fat, and for people with heart failure.

But it says all Australians should be eating two to three serves of fish in their diet for heart health.

"I think people now know there are good fats and bad fats we can take in the diet and omega-3 fats which are found in fish and some plants and other things are particularly healthy," said Professor Garry Jennings, the Heart Foundation's Chief Medical Advisor.

Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 include salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, herring and canned sardines.

Accredited Practising Dietitian Chloe McLeod said walnuts and chia seeds are also good sources.

She said people lack the confidence to cook fish properly which is one of the reasons why it's not being consumed enough.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

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