Last week a study that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine (AIM) showed that fish oils such as omega-3 don’t reduce the risk of heart disease. It caused quite a stir, as we have been told for years, by organizations like the American Heart Association that we needed to increase our intake of omega-3. For some people that meant taking supplements instead of eating flax seeds, walnuts, sardines or salmon, just a few of the sources of omega-3.
In May of 2013 the results of the AREDS II study on eye supplements found that while lutein and zeaxanthin may be helpful in helping vision, omega-3 did not have a positive effect over five years.
In both of these studies they are referring to omega-3 supplements. This does not mean you should give up eating fish, or other sources of omega-3. To derive the benefits of omega-3 you need to get it from the source – directly from the food you eat, so it is still advised you eat fish as part of a healthy diet.
If you do use supplements check with your doctor to make sure they are right for you. A doctor can help you determine what, if anything you might need, making a decision based on your diet, medical history and any medications you might be taking.
If you want to learn more about dietary supplements, here is a fact sheet from the National Institute of Health.
Remember – supplements are what the name implies – something to supplement a well-rounded diet – they are not a substitution.