Omega-3 fatty acids have long been recommended for heart and brain health. But a new study found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements were not associated with beneficial effects in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
A Norwegian study, published in Arch Neurol this month, is based on a small sample but, while omega-3s theoretically have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in multiple sclerosis, no discernable improvement was noted this time.
But omega-3s should still make up your daily diet. The Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS) points out that average intake in the UK is far below Government recommendations. For those two-thirds of British people who tend not to eat oily fish, a supplement containing long chain omega-3s can be an essential health boost.
Dr Carrie Ruxton from HSIS said: “There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids, each with a specific chemical structure, but the key health benefits are thought to come from the very long chain omega-3s, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
“Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients, not drugs, and are not intended to be used for the treatment of any disease. This has been confirmed recently by the European Food Safety Authority which permits health claims for foods containing omega-3s.”