How Beneficial are Fish-Oil Supplements?

fish oil supplements

There are countless bottles of vitamins on my shelf.  Every time I hear the latest and greatest vitamin information on how to decrease heart disease, ward off cancer, or how to improve healthy bones, I am off to the GNC store.  During my annual physical, I presented the physician with a list of all the purchased vitamins.  With the exception of Vitamin D, my physician recommended getting the necessary nutrients from the daily diet.

A clinical study involving over 68,000 people confirmed the suspicion that some vitamin supplements do not necessarily replace the value of a healthy diet.  After the analysis of 20 clinical trials, Greek researchers concluded that fish-oil supplements do not reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke or sudden death.  However, eating a diet enriched with omega-3 Fatty acids has been shown to add years to life expectancy.  (Journal of the American Medical Association, September 12, 2012)

This month, (April 2, 2013) a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that healthy adults that included at least two weekly servings of fatty fish were less likely to suffer fatal heart-rhythm changes or strokes.  This comprehensive study measured the blood level of omega-3 fats on a research group of 2,700 seniors for 16 years.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Consumers need omega-3 fatty acids for an array of body functions such as blood clotting, and building brain cell membranes.  In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing triglycerides and countering inflammation.  Other studies have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids can help manage inflammatory bowel disease as well as other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

What foods are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids?

You can find omega-3 fatty acids in a variety of food sources.   However, the very best source is fish.  Non-fish items for omega-3 nutrients include:  walnuts, spinach, mustard greens, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, soybean and canola oil.

What fish has the highest omega-3 content?

As we know, not all fish are created equal.  However, here is a list of the top ten omega-3 enriched fish.  (Total omega-3 content per 3.5 ounces (grams)


1         Mackerel (2.6)

2         Trout, lake (2.0)

3         Herring (1.7)

4         Tuna, bluefin (1.6)

5         Salmon (1.5)

6         Sardines, canned (1.5)

7         Sturgeon, Atlantic (1.5)

8         Tuna, albacore (1.5)

9         Whitefish, lake  (1.5)

10.      Anchovies (1.4)

*Source:  The Health Effects of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Seafood

What are the types of omega-3 fatty acids?

Research indicates that there are several types of omega-3 fatty acids.  The abbreviations of EPA and DHA are primarily found in certain fish.  On the other hand, ALA can be found in plants like flax.  Researchers say that DHA and EPA from fish and fish oil have the best health benefits.

Should I purchase supplements?

The statistics show that approximately half of Americans take some type of vitamin supplement.  Medical experts conclude that some vitamins may be beneficial.  However, a healthy diet that touches upon all food groups including the addition of omega-3 enriched foods could be just the right ingredients for a longer life expectancy.








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I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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