There’s good news and bad news from two recent university studies on the benefits of consuming omega-3 supplements.
Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon, or in plant sources such as flaxseed or canola oil. Its consumption has been widely recommended as a means of preventing heart disease.
The bad news is that it doesn’t, according to a study by the University of East Anglia which reviewed the results of 79 trials involving 112,059 people. Researchers concluded that the rate of death among those taking omega-3 supplements was 8.8 per cent, virtually identical to nine per cent in control groups.
“They also found that taking more long-chain omega-3 fats… primarily through supplements probably makes little or no difference to risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart deaths, coronary heart disease events, stroke or heart irregularities,” said a university release.
But the good news is that omega-3 supplements help keep kids — and their parents — out of trouble, said a release from the University of Massachusetts.
Giving children omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduces disruptive behaviour, which in turn had a positive effect on their parents, making them less likely to argue with each other and engage in other verbal abuse, said Jill Portnoy, an assistant professor in the university’s Lowell’s School of Criminology and Justice Studies.
“This is a promising line of research because omega-3 fatty acids are thought to improve brain health in children and adults. There is more to be learned about the benefits, but if we can improve people’s brain health and behaviour in the process, that’s a really big plus,” said Portnoy in a release.