Fish oil is under the gun yet again.
Recently a very well known and respected fish oil brand was declared as a fraud with questionable independent testing suggesting that…
- The oil itself is rancid…
- Does not come from the source provided…
- Contains far lower levels of nutrients than listed on the label…
- Contains other added unhealthy oils…
Despite the truth or lies behind these accusations…
…the first question to ask should be, is fish oil really all that healthy to begin with?
The truth might surprise you.
Omega-3 supplements, including fish oil, flax seed oil, and many others sources have been highly touted and marketed for their “potential” benefits to heart health as well as a number of other health issues.
Because of this, millions of people around the world have been vigilantly consuming Omega-3 supplements believing that they are the key to keeping their heart healthy and saving them from heart disease.
But a more recent study has demonstrated (yet again) that Omega-3 supplements DO NOT provide any benefits when it comes to heart disease.
While this is quite a controversial topic, you deserve to know the truth.
So, before you wake up and pop your morning fish oil pills, or down the latest and greatest Omega-3 concoction on the market, thinking that your staying one step ahead with your health, take a look at the results of this latest Omega-3 study:
Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events
Conclusion Overall, omega-3 PUFA supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.
While many may be led to believe that this study is ground-breaking news, I’m sorry to say that nothing could be further from the truth.
There have been numerous studies in the past that have shown the same exact results, just like this one:
Cod liver oil consumption, smoking, and coronary heart disease mortality: three counties, Norway.
“Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, as practiced in this cohort, provided no significant benefits to CHD risk among study participants.”
Or here’s a few more just in case you’re still in a state of disbelief:
n–3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Dysglycemia
Conclusions: Daily supplementation with 1 g of n–3 fatty acids did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for cardiovascular events.
Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements (Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid) in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
Conclusion Our meta-analysis showed insufficient evidence of a secondary preventive effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements against overall cardiovascular events among patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.
n–3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Events after Myocardial Infarction
Conclusions Low-dose supplementation with EPA–DHA or ALA did not significantly reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events among patients who had had a myocardial infarction and who were receiving state-of-the-art antihypertensive, antithrombotic, and lipid-modifying therapy.
Adding Fuel to the Fish Oil and Heart Disease Fire
Not only have previous Omega-3, fish oil and heart disease studies shown that these supplements do not improve heart health or reduce your risk of heart disease, there have been other research studies that have shown that these Omega-3 PUFAs can actually play a role in promoting heart disease:
The association of increasing dietary concentrations of fish oil with hepatotoxic effects and a higher degree of aorta atherosclerosis in the ad lib.-fed rabbit.
“An n-3 long-chain PUFA concentration dependent increase in aorta plaque surface area was observed in the fish oil groups.”
I could go on and on with more and more research but I think you understand the point that I’m trying to make.
The Fish Oil Deception…
So, now you might be asking yourself… how the heck did all of this happen?
The honest and sad truth is that companies push poor and oftentimes skewed or illogical studies that promote the far-fetched “potential” benefits of these supplements.
They do this while spending large amounts of marketing dollars to make sure you only see these supposed beneficial “studies”, and so that you never see the studies that might tell a different story.
Now, I don’t recommend the use of Wikipedia when researching for 100% factual information, but it should throw up some red flags when even Wikipedia is denouncing the health benefits of Omega-3’s by using the following statements to describe the various supposed health benefits…
“…does not appear to affect this risk…”
“Evidence does not support…”
“Although not confirmed as an approved health claim…”
“Although not supported by current scientific evidence…”
“…there is limited evidence that may be useful…”
To top it all off, this is followed by a list of known adverse effects, many of which are the same exact claimed “benefits” that the Omega-3 Industry is trying to promote, such as Omega-3’s causing an increased risk of stroke.
See it for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid
As you can see, Omega-3’s and fish oil are being marketed for all kinds of “potential” benefits for which there is no sound research to offer as legitimate proof.
What you have to understand is that the Omega-3 and Fish Oil Industry is a mega multi-billion dollar industry.
And money talks a lot louder than anything, especially research that could threaten an industry’s profit margin.
In 2010 alone, over-the-counter fish oil supplements sales were more than $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. market alone.
Many people want to believe that the Natural Health Supplement Industry is really interested in your health and would never deceive you.
But honestly, this industry isn’t much different than the pharmaceutical industry in that they too are more concerned about profits than your health.
Drug companies, seeing the potential money they could make, sprung into action because they too wanted a piece of the fish oil pie.
This is what prompted the drug company GlaxoSmithKline to buy out and market the fish oil medication Lovaza, which just happened to rake in a modest $916 million last year.
Now the drug company, Amarin Corporation, wants in on the deal and is about to release its own fish oil “medication” called Vascepa, which is going to be heralded as an even bigger and better fish oil supplement than all.
You Can’t Afford NOT to Be In Control of Your Own Health
There are a lot of very honest and well meaning doctors, practitioners, and healthcare providers who truly want the best for you and your health.
But, unfortunately, they too buy into the media and marketing hype of these products and supplements without taking the time to look at ALL of the research.
And because of this, they jump on the bandwagon without ever realizing that they could be causing more harm than good.
If you learn anything from this, hopefully it’s that you have to be in control of your own health and make the right decisions for you, based on what you believe is right and not what you read in some health magazine or see in some media spotlight on some popular TV show.
My only goal is to open your eyes and show you the other side of the Omega-3 and fish oil story that you haven’t seen, so that you can make the informed decision and do what you believe is right for you and your health.
What about the use of pure wild salmon oil for the prevention of Alzheimer’s? Is this just hype too?
With Alzheimer’s, research has shown that there are higher levels of lipid peroxidation byproducts in the brain, especially from DHA (Omega 3), such as acrolein:
Acrolein, a product of lipid peroxidation, inhibits glucose and glutamate uptake in primary neuronal cultures.
“Collectively, these data demonstrate neurotoxicity mechanisms of arolein that might be important in the pathogenesis of neuron degeneration in AD.”
What about during pregnancy? I am told that omega 3 helps brain development. What do you believe about that? Does coconut oil do enough on it’s own?
Excess omega-3 fatty acid consumption by mothers during pregnancy and lactation caused shorter life span and abnormal ABRs in old adult offspring.
In conclusion, omega-3 FA over-nutrition or imbalance during pregnancy and lactation had adverse effects on life span and sensory/neurological function in old adulthood. The adverse outcomes in the Excess offspring were likely due to a “nutritional toxicity” during fetal and/or neonatal development that programmed them for life-long health disorders. The health implication is that consuming or administering large amounts of omega-3 FA during pregnancy and lactation seems inadvisable because of adverse effects on the offspring.
Fetal learning and memory: weak associations with the early essential polyunsaturated fatty acid status.
Although these weak associations may imply some negative relationships between fetal brain functions and the early ePUFA status, we concluded that physiological differences in the availability of these fatty acids may probably not determine the differences in these primitive brain functions during the third trimester of fetal development.
Maternal supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy does not affect early visual development in the infant: a randomized controlled trial
Conclusions: DHA supplementation in women with singleton pregnancies does not enhance infant visual acuity in infants at 4 mo of age.
Effects of prenatal fish-oil and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate supplementation on cognitive development of children at 6.5 y of age
Conclusion: We observed no significant effect of supplementation on the cognitive function of children
Maternal breast milk long-chain n-3 fatty acids are associated with increased risk of atopy in breastfed infants.
CONCLUSION: Higher n-3 FA levels in the colostrum do not appear to confer protection against, but may be a risk factor for, the eventual development of atopy in high-risk breastfed infants.
Phospholipid fatty acids in cord blood: family history and development of allergy.
The relative levels of the linoleic acid metabolites C20:3, arachidonic acid (AA, C20:4) and C22:4n-6, and two alpha-linolenic acid metabolites, i.e. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6) were significantly higher in infants of allergic mothers than in non-allergic mothers (all p < 0.05). Furthermore, an altered proportional relationship between the various fatty acids in n-6 series fatty acids and between n-3 and n-6 series fatty acids was present already at birth in infants who developed allergic disease during their first 6 years of life.
I have problems with leaky gut and intestinal inflammation and was told about the benefit of oil for lowering inflammation. What would you recommend for someone with this problem if I don’t use oil?
The anti-inflammatory effects do not outweigh the antithyroid and immunosuppressive effects of the oil and the oxidative damage that they cause.
What about dha? I have hashimotos and was taking 3 dha a day. I then gained 10lbs. No other diet or exercise changes.
Ok, so I may not feel quite so bad about quitting Fish Oil now. I took it on the recommendation of my doctor, but it made me feel horrible. I’ll be looking more into this antithyroid property and presenting to my doctor. He’s actually very open-minded about new information I bring to him.
”antithyroid and immunosuppressive effects of the fish oil and the oxidative damage that they cause”?! Is it a new lnformation? Why you didn’t mention it before?
Only fish oil, or any omega3 (like calamari, krill)? And what about fresh seafood, canned sardines and tuna?
Hi.. I am reading a lot up on this. I would like to know your opinion on the fact that our brain need fats. ?
I have a pityary tumor and lots of toxic fungus etc..
I am withdrawal from cymbalta and the only thing that has helped the brain zaps are fish oil.
Now my free t3 and free t4 is to low and I are just been giving a recept for thyroid.
I want too heal naturally
Thanks for your thoughts
When I get the money to buy your books I will…
Karina from denmark
There’s no doubt that the brain needs fats, but there’s quite a bit of contrary research regarding the types of fats that are necessary and safe. Just to give you one example… Higher concentrations of Omega-3, DHA, PUFAs, lipid peroxidation byproducts, etc. are found in the brains of dementia patients:
Omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
In the prospective analysis, a higher eicosapentaenoic acid (p < 0.01) concentration was found in cognitively impaired cases compared to controls while higher docosahexaenoic acid (p < 0.07), omega-3 (p < 0.04) and total polyunsaturated fatty acid (p < 0.03) concentrations were found in dementia cases. These findings do not support the hypothesis that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids play a protective role in cognitive function and dementia.
Any comment on Dr. Stephen Ilardi and his use of omega 3’s combating depression and anxiety disorders?
Hi John, there are many who make claims regarding omega 3’s, yet the research does not support it.
Have you seen this Tom ? :O
That’s quite unfortunate.
Dr Amen says to use the omega 3 for brain function. Are you familiar with his work? I am confused. I’ve read some of his explanations & yours.
Hi Billie, there are many who continue to push Omega 3’s for a number of reasons, including DHA for brain function. I don’t agree.
What about cod liver oil?