What Vitamins Should I Take? Secrets Doctors Tell Their Friends

When physicians have heart-to-heart chats with their pals, their advice often differs from the medical standard.

Also in Reader's Digest Magazine August 2013

By Richard Laliberte from Reader's Digest Magazine | August 2013

“If you eat fish twice a week, you don’t need omega-3 supplements.”

“People often ask me about omega-3s,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who studies these unsaturated fatty acids found in many types of fish. “I tell them that decades of studies show that eating two servings of fish a week lowers the risk of death from heart disease, but getting more than that doesn’t make a big difference.”

Omega-3s reduce inflammation and make plaques in arteries more stable so they’re less prone to trigger a heart attack or stroke. They may also alleviate depression and protect skin from ultraviolet radiation.

So should you take a supplement?

“If you don’t eat much fish, it’s reasonable to take a 1-gram fish oil capsule a day, especially if you’re over 40 or have heart disease,” Dr. Mozaffarian says. But avoid taking more; some studies suggest that doses upwards of 2 to 3 grams may actually raise levels of LDL cholesterol.

Next: Unless you have osteoporosis, can you skip calcium pills?

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