Still Taking Those Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements? Throw ‘Em Out!

Are you one of the people contributing to the $1.1 billion in sales of omega-3 fish oil supplements last year, as reported by USA Today?

A study released last week finds fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids have no major benefit to heart health, although they may still benefit other medical conditions.

In the study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined 20 clinical trials involving omega-3 fatty acid supplements derived from fish oil and found no significant association between the supplements and incidences of cardiac-related deaths, heart attacks or strokes.

A few days ago, I wrote here about the discovery that taking large doses of vitamin C does no good and may actually be harmful to your health. Much better to find your Vitamin C in natural food sources. This has also been proven for other vitamins.

Now medical professionals are making similar claims about omega-3.

From one green planet:

Medical professionals have long recommended omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid after seeing low rates of heart disease among cultures with diets rich in omega-3. But the new study suggests a difference between taking fish oil supplements and consuming foods that are naturally high in omega-3 like certain types of fish, walnuts, flax seeds, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Studies have shown that eating these foods can extend the lives of people who have already had a heart attack.

The report states specifically:

Overall, omega-3 PUFA supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.

Here’s a quick primer on why consuming omega-3 is important, from the Harvard School of Public Health:

The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats). These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food.

What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation.

But instead of taking a supplement try turning to these omega-3 food sources:
•    Fish
•    Vegetable oils
•    Nuts (especially walnuts)
•    Flax seeds
•    Flaxseed oil
•    Leafy vegetables

Eating a balanced diet, with healthy non-processed foods, is the way to maintain heart health, according to the experts. Expecting a magical cure from one supplement is not the way to go.

As my mother used to say: “Eat your vegetables!”


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Photo Credit: The Idea Desk


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle3 years ago

This all sounds fishy to me.

Antonio Calabria

Which vegetable oils are rich in o 3s?

Fran F.

If the study acknowledges that omega-3 may benefit other conditions, why throw them out? That seems kind of wasteful. One condition they benefit is arthritis pain, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, from

"Relieve Chronic Pain Naturally"

"A 2009 study on osteoarthritis showed that people who regularly took a supplement rich in fish oil were able to reduce their use of pain meds by half. The oil's omega-3s help decrease the production of various chemicals that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. Look for a supplement that contains both EPA and DHA omega-3s, and take four to six grams a day."

Read more:

The fish oil caps work well for my fibromyalgia, more so than chia and flax seeds alone. Each person is biologically individual, so what works for one may not work so well for another.

Angel Campbell
Angel Campbell5 years ago

Buy flax seed oil instead. Save the oceans.

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck5 years ago

I do take those sometimes- when I dont forget to buy new once - or eaten so much fich so I dont need to eat them that day/week., as my doctor "told me 2 do" .

Alex J.
Alex J5 years ago

Finally, someone speaks out against this silly obsession with fish oil pills. Plenty of non animal sources provide omega 3.

Sandi C.
Sandi C5 years ago


Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke5 years ago

Hello? Excuse you?" There are people that can't eat or take on some of the suggested methods of getting Omega 3 in their diets. Lets see - fish - contains Iodine - I am allergic to Iodine (had an iodine allergic reaction - it burns like hell). Some folks can't eat nuts - I have dentures - can't afford to replace my dentures at $1200 a pop. Veggies - no problem, but I'm going to supplement my diet because my diet needs it. I also suffer IBS, so the fatty acid also helps there. Sometimes, when we read these notices - this is bad for you, this is bad for you, this is bad for you - makes you wonder - What's next?

Cheryl M.

Please stop scaring people about taking supplements! Of course nutrition should be 1st & foremost to ge your vitamins & mineral. & usually a deficiency in 1 is never the case, as you are usually deficient in many then. But supplementaion (in a perfect world) would not be necessary, but it is in the world. More What I was surprised that was omitted of suggestions for Omega 3 in a food source was the GREAT! Chia seed! Packed w/ omega's, fiber, protien & phytonutrients. What should also be talked about, is the NECESSITY OF DETOXING! The chemicals & toxicity in our enviornment & the body's ability to o ly withstand so much of that. Good solid nutrition! Lots of clean pure water, sensible supplementation & detoxing the body 3-4 x's per year to help give the body a fightening chance to purge the accumilated toxins kept w/ in the blood, lymph, liver, kidneys, bowels, lungs, & skin/fatty tissue.