Fish Oil for Health!

by Steven Carney on September 24, 2012

You may have heard about recent study that claimed fish oil failed to prevent heart attacks or deaths. As is too often the case, the study’s methods and analysis were flawed and biased. Even so, the media went into a frenzy by covering the study’s dramatic, unsupported headlines. As usual, they left out all the important details and failings (see top links below for important rebuttal points). Plus a ridiculous, unscientific new study from July, 2013 claiming fish oil increased cancer (see new links at end of post).

I’ve never seen an anti-supplement study that was properly done. They often reflect pro-drug, anti-supplement agendas, with multiple approaches used to skew the results. Any researcher can use a study to support biased views, through design, manipulation or analysis, and reach a negative outcome. For this fish oil study, you only need to see who published it: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), known for accepting anti-supplement studies!

Here are some hints for this flawed study: It was done overseas, and many of the subjects already had heart disease and were taking multiple drugs. Many individual studies that were included were too small or too brief (heart disease, like cancer, often takes decades to show symptoms). Those study factors badly complicated an accurate analysis of fish-oil benefits (also see my previous posts and articles on research fraud).

Because the recent fish-oil study is not credible, I still recommend fish or flax oil to improve current widespread deficits of omega-3 fats (Americans eat too many saturated and omega-6 fats/veggie oils, with too few from fish or omega-3 fats). I’m sure other health experts will also continue to recommend fish oil or other forms of omega-3 fats.

Health benefits of fish oil (DHA/EPA):

These omega-3 fats based on DHA and EPA can help to:

  • Lower inflammation
  • Improve artery function and health
  • Improve triglycerides and lower BP
  • Prevent unnecessary clots
  • Improve arthritis and pain
  • Improve brain function/mood
  • Improve acne/skin health

Keep in mind that Americans eat lots of processed and fried foods, one’s with too many saturated and high omega-6 fats and too few omega-3 fats. Our bodies can’t make omega-3 fats so we need them from the diet. (See my recent post on Fats for more detail).

It’s also smart to eat oily fish or seafood several times a week as a good foundation (salmon, mackerel, etc.), along with taking 1,000 mg or more of fish oil (look for enteric coated or “no burp” versions so you don’t get those fish burps later). That way, you nourish your body on multiple levels. Although fish oil is the most common source of omega-3 fats, cold water fish, seafood, walnuts, flax seeds or flax oil can also help supply omega-3 fats.

Krill oil?

Krill oil, from small shrimp-like creatures can also be healthy but it comes in a different form of omega-3 (the phospholipid form vs. the triglyceride form in regular fish oil). There is debate about which is best. Some say krill oil also has more astaxanthin (a fat-soluble carotenoid and antioxidant) while others say fish oil also has some. These differences will be flushed out over time.

Krill oil is generally more expensive compared to regular fish oil, although it also comes in smaller sizes, often 300-500 mg to get an equivalent dose. So I think it’s a personal choice for now, and if you have fatty fish several times a week, plus walnuts and/or flax several times a week, you should be in good shape to supplement either way. I think being aware of the main issues and adding more fish and/or supplements is the right direction.

For more help in deciding what’s best for your needs, drop me a line. As a health and life coach, my job is to help you overcome the challenges you face so you can achieve optimum health, longevity and improved life success! I’ll help to inspire you as you go, making progress and reaping the benefits!

Drop me a line or comment after the post. I also offer health and nutrition tips through Twitter almost every day.

Helpful links:

I saw this new overview of the fish and krill oil debate on 2/25/13 so I thought I would included it here (hint, if you read the whole article, it shows both are healthy and the differences are minor):

I found this study about fish oil being good for heart rate on 3/29/13 and decided to add to this post:

More good analysis of how bogus research is done. In this case, to falsely attack fish oil:

New fish-oil benefits were approved for triglycerides and blood pressure:

Around July 10-11, 2013, ignorant and irresponsible reporters across online, local and national news outlets went bonkers over a highly biased and bogus fish oil and prostate cancer study. These hysterics are more common as media people go overboard to get attention. My local station, channel 9, did a particularly poor job of “reporting” on it (no details, no perspective, no grasp of how biased and phony the study was). Oh, and it happens to be the July sweeps so the media is even more desperate for attention than usual! Here are some important links to sites which debunk the study and breathlessly-delivered headlines by your favorite local or national news (and why I’m embarrassed to live in such an ignorant, grossly unscientific country):

Here is a lab study which shows some mechanisms for how fish oil helps cancer:

A new study from 11/2013 shows good potential for fish oil and children’s brain, focus and cognitive abilities:

This new study shows promising anti-aging benefits for fish oil (plus it mentions similar studies): 

A new study on fish and fish oil intake shows lower levels of arterial calcification (advanced atherosclerosis): 

A new 2014 pilot study shows good results for regular fish oil vs. krill oil:

Another good study on fish oils and the various forms (a good quality fish oil was best):

© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now


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