In the latest report, published online on Jan. 31 in JAMA Cardiology, an international team headed by Dr. Robert Clarke of the University of Oxford analyzed the combined results of 10 trials of fish oil supplements involving 77,917 older adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
At doses ranging from 226 milligrams to 1,800 milligrams per day of omega-3 fatty acids, no significant protection against “major vascular events” was found overall among the participants or for any subgroup, like those with prior heart disease or diabetes.
While this does not necessarily mean the supplements are unhelpful, it does suggest a more nuanced consideration of who, if anyone, may benefit from taking fish oils and whether we all might be better off simply eating more fish, even though that too can have some downsides as well as benefits. (At the moment, I’m still doing both.)
For example, large predatory fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and albacore tuna can contain high levels of methyl mercury, a toxin that would override any health benefit, especially for the developing brains of fetuses and young children as well as for adults, Dr. Nesheim and Marion Nestle, professor emerita of
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