Birmingham, Ala -- You may have some in your home right now, you may have taken one or two today. We're talking about fish oil supplements. According to the American Heart Association more than 18 million Americans take fish oil pills. But a new report says many people may be taking them for no reason.
The American Heart Association looked at 13 randomized clinical trials involving fish oil supplements. Now the organization is putting out an advisory saying they've found no evidence fish oil supplements prevent heart attacks, heart failure, or strokes.
Birmingham resident Walkeith Towner says he used to take fish oil supplements. "Somebody else I knew was taking them because they said they had health benefits in it and I wanted to try too because I wanted to be healthy." Towner says he only took the supplements for about a month. "I just stopped because I felt like it was a waste of money."
UAB Cardiologist Pankaj Arora says if you haven't had previous heart problems there's no reason to take fish oil supplements. "Fish oil does not prevent heart disease in somebody who has not had any previous heart problems."
The advisory from the American Heart Association says fish oil supplements are beneficial for people who have already had a heart attack. Dr. Arora says people "who have recent heart attacks there is a modest reduction, about 10% in mortality."
But if you haven't had a heart attack Dr. Arora says you don't need to spend your money on fish oil supplements. "We have yet to find a dietary supplement that can prevent heart disease."
Instead he recommends spending your money on fish you can eat because a healthy diet and exercise can prevent heart disease.