SAN ANTONIO — Over the years, there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of taking Omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil supplements for various health benefits.

  • New study questions health benefits of Omega-3 supplements
  • Study took place over five years
  • Tested almost 26,00 people

However a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine says Omega-3 may not be as beneficial for heart disease as once thought.

"I'm actually changing the practice based on this study," Dr. Jawad Shaikh Chief of Cardiology at Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center said. "It lasted almost five years, 5.3 years, and it did not actually show any benefit on cardiovascular combined mortality or for any prevention of cancer."

While there have been other similar studies with similar results, Dr. Shaikh says this one was very thorough. Nearly 26,000 patients with diverse backgrounds were tested.

"Patients will be surprised because there are a lot of patients who are actually taking these medications on the presumptions of benefit. I think a lot of people will be very surprised hearing about this fact," he said.

Shaikh said Omega-3 can be useful if you’ve already had a cardiovascular issue, but consumers shouldn’t simply take supplements for the sake of taking them. Almost all medications and supplements can have some type of side effect, and consumers should talk to their doctor before starting a supplement regimen.

"Now there may be some other indications for which they could be taken," Shaikh said. "If somebody is taking Omega-3 fatty acids on their own on the presumption of having positive beneficial effects, they should be talking to their physicians."