Latest Fish Oil Controversy
By now, many of you have heard the latest controversy on fish oil supplementation and as usual, this one is no less flawed. This study was a meta-analysis on whether fish or fish oil consumption lowered risks of ischemic attacks of the brain or cerebrovascular system. The conclusion was that people who eat more fish, had a lower risk of stroke. Duh! However, fish oil supplementation was not associated with protection. I hope you all are smart enough to figure what is misleading or incorrect about this study.
First, people who consume more fish typically consume higher amounts of other healthy foods. People who solely take a fish oil pill with hopes of protecting themselves from bad eating habits are fooling themselves. There is no silver bullet in the pharmaceutical or nutraceutical realm. Wake up! Finding a good quality fish to eat that is not contaminated with new-to-nature humanmade chemicals, now that is a challenge.
Second, there is no designated quantity of EPA/DHA that was standardized between these studies. Omega 3’s are present in seed oils and fish oils but EPA and DHA are considered to be the most beneficial and protective. Simply looking at Omega 3 metabolites does not take into account digestive health, quality of oil or genetic ability to assimilate them.
Third, cellular saturation levels were not standardized again between the studies. Sure, you can state that those with the highest metabolites had the highest cellular saturation, but this is not necessarily the case. All cells in our bodies are made of fat. If your cells contain more EPA and DHA they will be healthier or less inflammatory. The opposite is true for saturated or trans fats.
Fourth, length of supplementation was not standardized again. There is variation between the studies as is to be expected but when we are working with a food or natural supplement, it does not have the same immediate or quick effect as a drug. What is the benefit of EPA and DHA supplementation over 30 or 40 years?
Fifth, there are over 15,000 peer reviewed published research on the health benefits of EPA and DHA in one’s diet. There will always be the random contrary study and those are the ones that make the news. Controversy is news worthy – the truth is boring.
I think I will stick with the majority of researchers in the world and stay bored.
Dr. Jason Bachewich ND
Published:November 8, 2012