Fish oil supplements may work better than drugs to reduce cholesterol levels in people who have chronic heart failure, indicates a recent report. Researchers followed patients for four years and found that people taking the supplement fared slightly better than those who were in the placebo group and the group using the cholesterol drug Crestor.

Chronic heart failure is a condition that occurs when the heart becomes enlarged and cannot efficiently pump blood through the body.

The fish-oil research is especially promising because some people are out of treatment options. “With a lot of these patients, you have no other choice,” says Helmut Gohlke, MD, a cardiologist at the Heart Centre in Bad Krozingen, Germany. “They’ve tried other treatments and are at the end of the road.”

Omega-3s are fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Doctors believe they increase the body’s “good” cholesterol levels, called HDLS and help prevent abnormal heart rhythms.

Learn more about omega-3s here.