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Back to the Fish?
Story Updated: Apr 19, 2012
It looks like the benefits of fish can't be squeezed into a pill.
Experts recommend that we regularly eat omega 3-rich fish to protect the health of our heart and brain. Fish-oil supplements have become a popular way to try to get health protection from fish without actually eating them.
New research finds that this shortcut may not work. Experts compiled 14 studies that had people take either omega-3 supplements or a placebo. All these people already had cardiovascular disease.
People who took supplements were just as likely to:
* Have a stroke or mini-stroke
* Have a heart attack
* Develop heart failure
* Die suddenly of a heart problem
* Or die in general.
It didn't matter where they lived, what kind of medications they were also taking, or how long they took the supplement. These findings shouldn't be surprising. Research in recent years has found plenty of examples of supplements that didn't live up to the expectations we have of real, natural foods.
As experts shared with HealthDay, eating oily fish several times a week still appears to be a good idea for preventing heart problems if you already have cardiovascular disease. This may take a bit more time than opening a supplement bottle but avoiding a heart attack or stroke can add years of good health to your life.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.