Did you know that Americans spend over $1 billion annually on over the counter fish oil supplements? These supplements have long been touted as easy ways to protect the heart, reduce inflammation, improve mental and brain health, and even extend our lives. So great are these supposed benefits, that food companies have now added fish oil to common cereals, milk, and yogurts, among other foods.
Fish oil is important because it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids are important because our bodies cannot produce them naturally, so they have to come from outside food. So millions of people wake up each morning and pop these small, yellow-ish capsules – is it worth it?
You’ve probably heard this message before, but it is more commonly believed that despite the powerful punch of omega-3s in a fish oil capsule, we are still best off getting these fatty acids from whole foods like fish, certain plants, and flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and pumpkins. Studies have found that omega-3 supplements have no impact on reducing heart attack, stroke, and death in middle-aged men and women without any preexisting risk factors for heart disease.