Thousands of people take omega-3 supplements regularly and for years. The belief that it protects the heart has spread – and is promoted in the marketing of the supplements – because the results from early trials suggested the capsules had cardiovascular benefits.
Small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for our health. Omega-3 fats are found in certain foods – most famously in oily fish such as salmon and cod liver oil, which contain the long chain fats called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Nuts and seeds, and in particular walnuts and rapeseed oil, contain another sort of omega-3, called alphalinolenic acid (ALA).
But a major review by the respected Cochrane collaboration of all the well-conducted trials carried out internationally to test the effect of omega-3, involving more than 112,000 people, says there is no evidence that the supplements do any good.
The belief that omega-3 supplements could protect against cardiovascular diseases came from a couple of positive results from trials in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said Lee. “We’ve all believed it for quite a long while,” she said. “But none of the trials since have shown these results. We somehow haven’t adjusted to that data.”
Just eat whatever the hell you want. (h/t TH)