While the consumption of oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines may be the best dietary way to get your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, a group of cardiologists say that supplements can offer an alternative, provided consumers check the label.
At a conference hosted by the European Society of Cardiology in Dublin, Ireland, last week, attendees heard that omega-3 supplements can play a role in cardiovascular health, in spite of the controversy surrounding supplements versus dietary intake.
The condition? That patients make sure that the supplements contain adequate concentrations of omega-3 -- 1 gram a day -- to achieve any beneficial effects, physicians say.
For those who may not like fish, experts advised taking pharmaceutical grade preparations of omega-3 oil since not all over the counter preparations contain the same doses.
Meanwhile, the recommendation also comes with a caveat, as some experts likewise warn that taking more than 3 grams of fish oil a day may increase the risk of bleeding and worsen heart rhythm problems in those who already suffer from arrhythmias.
There have also been conflicting studies on the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from supplements. For example, last month researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that among their participants, taking an omega-3 supplement daily for three months failed to change the diastolic function in older adults.
Diastolic function is ability of the heart to relax and efficiently refill with blood at each beat, which declines with age.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic properties, as well as to lower levels of triglycerides or fats in the blood stream.