DENVER (CBS4)– Fish oil is the third most popular dietary supplement in the nation with more than 10 percent of Americans taking it daily for heart health. The majority of the studies conducted in the last seven years don’t support the theory.

Many people believe the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil will protect their cardiovascular health, including Brandon McElhinney.

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McElhinney, 31, takes fish oil capsules every day, about four grams of omega 3 fatty acids. He’s a heart attack survivor with very high triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood.

“Normal number is about or just under 150 and mine was over 5,000,” said McElhinney.

The fish oil is recommended by the American Heart Association and McElhinney’s doctor.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“It’s helped me drastically. It’s helped me get my blood counts and cholesterol back under control,” said McElhinney.

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Some question the benefits of omega-3s. A recent article in the New York Times indicted that from 2005 to 2012 there were at least two dozen rigorous studies of whether fish oil could prevent cardiovascular events in high risk populations.

All but two found that, compared with a placebo, fish oil showed no benefit.

“I think it’s important to understand that there are other studies, other meta analyses that seem to suggest there is a benefit in select populations,” said Kaiser Permanente Colorado Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Don Lamprecht.

Lamprecht specializes in cardiovascular medicine. He said that taken in the right doses, omega 3s can lower triglycerides.

In other cases, “I think in some cases yes, I think some people are purchasing the wrong kind of fish oil and/or don’t have a reason to be taking it.”

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Lamprecht said the need for fish oil is patient specific and patients need to follow their doctor’s advice.