Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service, said: “Early studies of omega-3 fats, involving thousands of participants, found a protective benefit for the heart but in our highly medicalised age, where many older people are maintained on statins and blood pressure medication, it is much harder to pick up the modest effects of dietary change.
“This doesn’t mean that it’s not worth taking omega-3s as we currently consume just half of the 400mg DHA and EPA a day recommended by UK nutrition experts.
“Oily fish is the best natural source but fewer than a third of adults, and one in ten teenagers, eat any oily fish on a regular basis. So, for those who won’t eat mackerel, salmon or herring, a daily fish oil supplement is a useful way of meeting recommendations.
“Omega-3s are also used by the body to maintain the health of the eyes, immune function and brain so it’s not all about the heart. It’s about ensuring that your body has the right levels of nutrients whether via foods or topped up with a supplement to bridge dietary gaps”.