Meditalk: Fish oil supplements for the heart

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DEAR Dr. Fritz,

This is Jay Zee of Ma-a, DC. I have heard a lot about fish oil supplements that they are good for the heart. How true is this? Should I take them? Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

Jay Zee of Ma-a


Dear Jay Zee of Ma-a,

This fish oil and heart health story started when there was an observation that people who were taking high intake of fatty fish had low rates of heart attack and stroke because their diets were high in polyunsaturated fats or omega-3 fatty acids, which led to the hypothesis that these fats may be good for heart health.

This was followed by a large Italian study published over 20 years ago which showed that heart attack survivors who took omega-3 or "fish oil" supplements had significant reduction in death, heart attack, and stroke compared to those who did not receive the supplement, which prompted the American Heart Association to recommend fish oil supplements to patients with heart disease.

But, vigorous studies such as the VITAL study failed to show that there was a heart benefit from fish oil supplements. However, REDUCE-IT trial showed that high-dose pure EPA (a type of omega-3) called icosapent ethyl at 4 grams a day, in people with established heart disease or at high-risk who were taking a statin medication and had elevated triglycerides had a 25% reduction in heart disease and stroke and a 20% reduction in death from heart disease.

So, should you take them?

Oops! We are out of space for now, so, let me then, continue this in my next issue. Until then!

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She is the anchor of Secrets of Dr. Fritz, of She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, "Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz." For your questions, you may send e-mail them to If you don't wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)


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