We’ve known for awhile that cultures with seafood-heavy diets have lower rates of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fish at least twice a week, preferably those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and trout. Some research also suggests that these oils may help fight arthritis, dementia and other conditions.
So it’s no wonder that U.S. sales of fish-oil supplements topped $1 billion in 2012. Still, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of these capsules. Several recent studies found no significant effect on heart health for those taking omega-3 supplements — and one highly publicized report found a link between these fatty acids and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
So we asked a trio of experts: Are fish oil pills a good idea or a waste of money? Even worse, can they actually harm you?