Health Report- Benefits of prescription-strength fish oil medication

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Posted: Jan 28, 2021 / 05:43 PM EST
Updated: Jan 28, 2021 / 05:43 PM EST

February is heart month and it’s a new chance to improve your eating habits.

However, if you’re taking supplements to improve your heart health, new research suggests there is one popular pill that can come off your list.

Fish oil products, containing the “good fats” from fish, have long been thought to improve heart health, despite earlier FDA approval. Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic say new research examined the benefits of prescription-strength fish oil pills.

“This is a drug that is like fish oil that people buy over-the-counter, but much more effective. It has a higher amount of what we call omega-3 fatty acids which is the active component in fish oil.” said Dr. Steven Nissen, Chief Academic Officer of the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

In a randomized trial of 13,000 patients called the Strength Trial, some participants received daily, high-dose Omega-3 supplements, while others received a placebo made from corn oil, which is used in cooking.

Researchers found the prescription Omega-3 fatty acid did not reduce cardiovascular events like a heart attack.

“It’s really kind of a wakeup call when you see a study like this where the most potent, prescription-grade fish oil didn’t have any favorable effects.” Dr. Nissen said.

In fact, the Strength Trial showed a 69% increase in atrial fibrillation in the group that took the high dose Omega-3.

Scientists say the findings indicate these products should undergo additional review.

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