"The review also recommends people consume some plant-based Omega-3 each day, such as a handful of walnuts or by using soya bean, canola or flaxseed oil."
THE National Heart Foundation is reviewing its dietary advice on fish oil supplements after new Victorian research found they do not prevent heart disease.
Fish oil supplements are one of the most widely consumed vitamins because previous evidence suggested they could help protect against cardiovascular disease.
But experts in cardiology, heart disease and nutrition from Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, the University of South Australia and CSIRO found no clear benefit to taking Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty-acid supplements to reduce heart disease.
The research was based on a review of data spanning 2007-2013.
Lead author Professor Paul Nestel, from the Baker IDI, said the findings would come as a surprise.
“Eating fish seems to be almost proven to beneficial, but taking supplements has almost been proven to not provide benefit,” Prof Nestel said.
“But, because they are perfectly safe, we are not saying for a moment don’t take them, just that the evidence suggests it is not as good as eating fish.”
Eating fish was found to protect healthy people; those who had a higher intake had lower rates of heart failure, sudden cardiac death, stroke and myocardial infarction.
The paper, published in the journal Heart, Lung and Circulation, concluded that people should eat two or three servings of fish a week to get their Omega-3 intake.
This includes oily fish such as salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, herring, sardines and some varieties of canned tuna.
The review also recommends people consume some plant-based Omega-3 each day, such as a handful of walnuts or by using soya bean, canola or flaxseed oil.
National Heart Foundation chief executive Mary Barry said it initiated the study to ensure its advice was in line with the latest scientific evidence. The findings would form the basis of its new position statement.
The research paper acknowledges that supplements will provide people who don’t eat fish with some level of marine-sourced Omega-3s and states they are beneficial in treating people with high triglycerides and preventing heart failure in people with secondary heart disease.
It also found supplements were safe and did not increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Fish oil has also been associated with other health benefits for ailments ranging from arthritis to cognitive decline.
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