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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

NCCIH Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

Omega-3 Supplements for Heart Disease

November 2012
Gell Pills

According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health practices by Americans, fish oil/omega-3/DHA supplements are the natural product (excluding vitamins and minerals) most commonly taken by adults, and the second most commonly taken by children.

There has been a substantial amount of research on omega-3 supplements and heart disease. Experts agree that fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids should be included in a heart-healthy diet. However, omega-3s in supplement form have not been shown to protect against heart disease.

Omega-3s are being extensively studied for other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and cognitive decline. Current evidence-based information is available from NCCAM at nccam.nih.gov/health/omega3.

This issue provides information on omega-3 supplements for heart disease, including what the science says, safety information, and tips for talking with your patients.

Time to Talk Tips: 5 Things To Know About Omega-3s for Heart Disease

Read more about what the science says

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NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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