In tonight's HealthierMe, few health experts dispute that fish oil is good for our health, but how we get those omega-3s into our systems is now up for debate.
Fish on the menu will serve up much more than just a tasty meal; the particularly oily types are full of omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce the risk of stroke.
Health guidelines recommend we eat fish at least twice a week, so it's no surprise that millions of people opt to get their omega-3 in the form of a supplement. The capsules are thought to work by improving the health of blood vessels, lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
Global consumer spending on omega-3 products is expected to hit $34.7 billion in the next four years. But now the findings of a British study suggest it may not be the best way to stay healthy.
As Registered Dietitian Karen Monen explains, "it's basically saying [that] eating food is not the same as taking a pill, and definitely eating fish is not the same thing as taking a fish oil supplement."
There are several possible reasons for the difference. For one, fish provides not only omega-3 fatty acids, but also a wide range of other nutrients linked to lower stroke risk. In the latest research, scientists looked at studies involving 800,000 people in 15 countries and found there was no link between taking supplements and a reduced risk of stroke.
According to the findings, omega-3 alone isn't good enough; the only way to get the full benefit is to eat the real thing.