Fish oil may not prolong life after all - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fish oil may not prolong life after all


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Many people take fish oil on a daily basis for a number of health issues; some because of claims that it can help you live a longer life. However, a new study says the daily supplement may not help you live longer after all.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the latest piece of research feeding the debate over whether regularly taking omega-3 supplements helps the heart.

A number of clinical trials have found that fish oil seems to lower risk of heart attack, sudden death, and even stroke. However, exactly how this works remains unclear. 

In this study, researchers pooled results from 20 studies that included almost 70,000 adult patients. Through rigorous statistical analyses, they said they found no significant risk reduction in those getting increased omega-3 in their diet or through supplements.

Fish oil supplements are among the most popular dietary supplements among Americans. Though it is hard to pin down an exact figure for sales of such products, an article in Forbes magazine noted that, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, over-the-counter fish oil supplements accounted for $739 million in sales in 2009. Meanwhile, in 2010 Americans spent nearly $4 billion on products fortified with extra omega-3s, according to the market research firm Packaged Facts

While the news may be disappointing to many, it's not the first time such findings have been reported. In April, a South Korean study of 20,000 people found a similar lack of heart benefits, while a separate study released in June suggested that brain benefits may also have been oversold.


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