Don’t Stop Taking Your Fish Oil Supplement


By Michael A. Smith, MD

Despite the flawed conclusions of a recent meta-analysis claiming fish oils do nothing for your heart,1 we strongly suggest that you continue as usual with your daily omega-3 supplement.

The meta-analysis reported throughout mainstream media is wrong and is on the verge of malpractice. If your doctor ever tells you to stop taking fish oils … find another doctor fast … one who is not blinded by conventional “wisdom.”

The researchers failed in their analysis because of their inclusion of poorly designed clinical trials. Let’s look at three reasons for rejecting their conclusion that fish oils are ineffective for preventing a second cardiac event in people with known heart disease.

What you are about to read is proof of the authors’ bias toward toxic Big Pharma chemicals and why you should not listen to these doctors.

They included low dose studies

Half of the studies included in the meta-analysis used an omega-3 dose of less than 1000 milligrams daily. That is way too low. We suggest for our members between 2 and 4 grams a day. Using a low dose is a common strategy employed by researchers who want to discredit the effectiveness of supplements.

Take for instance the randomized, placebo controlled trial that studied the effects of EPA and DHA on the heart. In that study, the researchers used 1.8 grams of combined EPA and DHA and found that this dose was associated with a 10% lower rate of cardiac events, 12% lower rate of non-fatal infarctions and 10% lower rate of cardiac deaths.2

So why did the authors include studies with less than 1 gram of omega-3 fats in their meta-analysis? Because they want to discredit supplements as ineffective. With readily available fish oils out of the way, more people will turn to Big Pharma’s toxic chemicals.

They included studies of short duration

The conclusions made by the authors of this flawed meta-analysis used studies that were only two years long. This is not long enough for secondary prevention trials in people with previous heart conditions. A longer timeframe is necessary to draw any conclusions.

By the way, Life Extension has recommended long-term fish oil supplementation since the early 1990s for optimal cardiovascular benefits.

They used a limited number of studies

Only 20 of 3,635 studies the authors examined were used in this meta-analysis. This is a very limited representation of the research on fish oil for cardiovascular disease events.

And why would they use only 20 studies in their analysis? Could it be because they purposely searched for studies that were under-dosed — meaning less than 1 gram a day?

Any credible scientist or doctor wanting to study omega-3 fish oils and the effects on the heart would know to use a daily dose of 1.5 grams or more. And that’s exactly the dose that most fish oil studies use.

Take your fish oil supplements

The current meta-analysis making its way through mainstream media outlets represents the use of fish oil in suboptimal dosages, over a short period of time, and largely in populations with a history of cardiovascular disease.

The results of this new study conflict with other meta-analyses that have found fish oil supplementation beneficial in relationship to cardiovascular events.3-6 Also, studies examining higher dose fish oil have found a protective effect against cardiovascular events and risk factor reduction.

References:

      1. JAMA. Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events. A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis. Available at: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357266.

2. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1997;11(3):485-91.

3. Ann Med. 2009;41(4):301-10.

4. Clin Cardiol. 2009;32(7):365-72.

5.  BMJ. 2008;337:a2931.

6. Am J Med. 2002;112(4):298-304.

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