Fish Oil: Once Again the Headlines Aren’t Telling the Whole Story
It’s all over the news today. “Fish oil supplements don’t prevent heart attacks, study says.” “Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements May Not Help the Heart After All.” As a cardiologist, these types of headlines alarm me, because if people stop taking their fish oil we’re going to see a huge rise in all cardiac events.
- The researchers looked at a mere 20 studies, out of thousands which have shown fish oil’s strong protective heart benefits. This cuts down on the statistical significance of their analysis.
- Many of the studies the researchers looked at were done on people who had serious health issues. So the statistical samples were skewed from the outset and can’t be accurately extrapolated to the general public.
- We don’t know how much, or what type, of fish oil the research participants were taking. For heart protection you must take at least one gram of omega-3 rich fish oil each day, preferably two. Many studies use far less. You also need to make sure the fish oil you’re taking is high in DHA omega-3s—that’s where the powerful heart protection is found. That’s why I prefer Calamarine to general fish oil; it’s very high in DHA.
- We also don’t know if the fish oil used in the studies was oxidized. As I’ve said before, you need to be very careful about which type of fish oil you’re taking. If a softgel is cracked or leaking, or if you’re taking liquid fish oil (even if it’s refrigerated), you run the risk of oxidation. Taking oxidized fish oil is as bad as eating trans-fatty acids—it can cause serious heart damage.
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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