No Benefit of Fish Oil Supplementation for Preventing Heart Disease

Consumption of fatty fish rich in long-chain ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty
acids is associated with lower risk for heart disease
and death, but no heart benefits have been demonstrated for
supplementation with ω-3 fatty acids. The macular xanthophylls lutein
and zeaxanthin are purported to have anti-inflammatory effects, and
people with higher lutein levels have lower levels of coronary

In this study participants were randomized to daily DHA (350 mg) plus EPA (650 mg),
lutein (10 mg) plus zeaxanthin (2 mg), both, or neither. During median
follow-up of about 5 years, 460 CV events were identified. Incidence
of these events did not differ significantly among the four groups,
nor did adverse events.

This is the latest of several large trials to show no benefit of fish
oil supplementation in lowering risk for cardiovascular disease (NEJM
JW Gen Med May 8 2013). As with most dietary supplements,
epidemiological associations that suggested lower risk have not been
borne out in clinical trials of supplementation. Eating Atlantic
salmon and trout is still a better bet.

Bonds DE et al., JAMA Intern Med 2014 May 174:763

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