If you have heart disease, you’ve probably read lots about statin drugs to lower cholesterol. You may have seen recommendations about eating a Mediterranean-style diet for heart health. But should you be taking fish oil to protect your heart?
When Should You Take Fish Oil to Protect Your Heart?
The American Heart Association has updated an old dietary guideline. Its experts now recommend that patients with either heart failure or coronary heart disease take omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements. That translates into fish oil.
The prior guidance from the AHA, dating back to 2002, was to consume one gram of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) + DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily in the form of oily fish. That works out to two servings a week of 3.5 ounces per serving. Salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna provide good levels of these omega 3-fats. (But be cautious about albacore tuna. In addition to omega-3 fats, it contains higher levels of mercury than the other fish mentioned.)
If Fish Is Not Appealing, Take Fish Oil to Protect Your Heart:
If that was hard for some people, the American Heart Association recommended fish oil supplements-but only in consultation with a physician. Now, after reviewing additional data from randomized clinical trials, the AHA has determined that patients who take omega 3 fatty acids in supplements are less likely to die from coronary heart disease as well as heart failure.