Is Fish Oil the New Snake Oil? New Studies Debunk Omega-3 Hype

Fish-oil supplements, which have gotten some credit for helping prevent everything from memory loss to heart disease, are coming under extra scrutiny lately.

Two extensive studies are now casting doubt on the supplements’ benefits — suggesting that now might be a good time for those supposedly potent pills to go the way of your late pet goldfish.

Fish oil is the most commonly taken natural supplement among both adults and children, with 18.8 million US adults popping them regularly, a National Health Interview Survey found.

“People need to be a little skeptical,” he says, adding that he would not personally take a fish-oil supplement for any health reason.

Here’s a look at recent findings on omega-3.


An August review of studies of omega-3 and omega-6 supplements in the British Medical Journal found that the type of fat found in fish-oil pills had minimal impact on reducing a person’s chances of getting diagnosed with diabetes, or on improving their overall blood-glucose levels. The long-term study looked at 83 trials comprised of more than 121,000 participants. Overall, the trials revealed that those supplements had a little-to-no benefit to diabetes patients compared to a placebo.

Heart disease

Another large study, published in July’s edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, investigated several supplements targeted at heart health. It found that evidence for omega-3 supplements such as fish-oil pills had a “low level of certainty” when it came to avoiding myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease. This one looked at nearly 1 million participants in 277 different trials.

Brain health

Although there have been some findings that eating fish regularly can help people think better, fish-oil supplements do very little to improve your thinking skills in the long run. In general, they are a big waste of money for anyone hoping to stave off dementia, a World Health Organization advisory announced this year.

Read the complete article at New York Post