Research uncovers hidden dangers of taking fish oil supplements; know more – OTV News

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Fish oil supplements in general are considered one of the best available sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are so important to keep the heart healthy and in good condition. It has been known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that in the United States alone, 20% of senior citizens use fish oil supplements to keep their hearts healthy.

Fish oil supplements may increase the chances of first-time stroke

New research has revealed some shocking facts about fish oil supplement usage. According to this study, regular use of such supplements increases the chances of getting first-time stroke as well as atrial fibrillation among people who are enjoying good cardiovascular health and do not have any complications related to heart.


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CNN reports that this particular study analyzed data from more than 415,000 people from the United Kingdom who are in the age group of 40 to 69. The longitudinal study titled UK Biobank studied the impact of fish oil supplements on these people by following their health for around 12 years. All these people who were a part of the study regularly used fish oil supplements to keep their hearts healthy.

The studies show that in people without heart issues but using fish oil supplements, the risk of developing atrial fibrillation increased by 13%, and having a stroke increased by 5%. The study was published recently in BMJ Medicine journal.

Lack of purity, and potential contaminants are the main culprits

According to Dr. Andrew Freeman, the director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at the National Jewish Health Center in Denver, the over-the-counter fish oil supplements are often impure and also have contaminants such as heavy metals like mercury which is a part of fish.

Freeman said, “In addition, studies over the last 10 years have not been very positive for over-the-counter fish oil. Fish oil either has no benefit or in some cases it may harm, such as with stroke and AFib. So that’s not new.”

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The health expert said that many times fish oil prescriptions such as Lovaza and Vascepa are prescribed for cutting down the risk factors caused due to triglycerides that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Freeman added, “But even in the prescription strength, highly purified versions of fish oil, the risk for AFib and sometimes stroke has also been present and doctors are cautious about that. Overall, I would say that the days where people just go to the store and buy buckets of fish oil pills to keep them well should be over, but fish oil may still have a role in people who are already sick.”

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