TODAY   |  September 12, 2012

Study: Fish oil won’t lower cardiovascular risks

The Journal of the American Medical Association is out with a new study that found fish oil supplements do not lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Lori Mosca from New York Presbyterian Hospital says diet and exercise are a better way to fight heart conditions.

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>>> back now at 7:46. this morning on today's health, the very popular supplement of fish oil used by millions touted for its ability to improve your heart health, among other things, but according to a new study in the " journal of the american medical association ," it may not be as useful as you think. dr. mosca is the director of preventive cardiology at new york presbyterian hospital . good morning.

>> good morning.

>> this struck me as another one of those instances where you hear something is good for you, you get on the program and start taking those supplement and another study comes out and says, well, that doesn't really do much. what did this study find about fish oil ? what's the bottom line ?

>> the bottom line is there's no benefit of the routine use of omega-3 fatty as kids.

>> in terms of the supplements.

>> we believe it's still important to eat fish on a regular basis.

>> we'll get to the recommendations in a minute. are people essentially wasting their money if they are buying fish oil supplements and taking them?

>> i actually believe the vast majority of americans that are taking these supplements, not only fish oil supplements but other supplements, would be better served to use their money on a good fitness club membership. the science really does not support the universal use of these supplements.

>> the study is a little bit confusing because on the one hand it says, okay, fish oil supplements, we looked at all these students. it does neither harm nor good, but there is evidence in the study that people taking the supplements suffered 9% fewer deaths and 11% fewer heart attacks so that's pretty good.

>> right. we have to keep in mind that this study really combined a lot of studies from the past 20 years, and that small benefit that they observed was really due to older studies that were conducting in europe among men that had heart disease , and that was in an era where we didn't really have the standards of preventive care that we have today, and applying those results to today really may not be the case.

>> a couple things. fish oil still good for you, for other things besides heart health. there are other benefits, right?

>> well, there euro's purported benefits, but the bottom line is the american heart association really only recommends that fish oils be considered in one situation, and that's really when you have high triglycerides or a cholesterol problem.

>> whether it's fish oil or vitamin d or anything, i know you feel people should be getting in a naturally occurring mode, not out of supplements, right in.

>> that's right. we have to keep in mind, savannah, there's no magic bullet . we're not here to tell people what they want to hear but what they need to hear. your mother was right. eat your fruits and vegetables, have a couple of servings of fish per week, get your regular exercise, don't smoke and watch your waistline. that's what will really give you a long and healthy wife.

>> doctor, appreciate it.