Recent Fish Oil Controversy
Please don't allow the CBC to ruin fish oil supplements for you! I've looked over all the articles and research referenced in the story below, and there are so many flaws, including:
-the study in the article below evaluates the effects of a very short period of fish oil supplementation on irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) after a specific surgical procedure. Obviously, this very specific scenario can't translate into the general value of fish oil
-many of the studies referenced don't differentiate between fish and plant sources of omega-3. It has not been proven that plant sources of omega-3 are in a form our body can utilize.
-fish oil is generally called EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) and then it is further divided into EPA and DHA content. 1000 mg of 'EFA' does not guarantee a therapeutic dose of EPA and/or DHA.
-fish oils don't (always) work rapidly. You shouldn't expect to a shorten a hospital stay by suddenly starting a fish oil supplement when you check in.
-the article references a Cochrane review which actually said 'There is not enough evidence to say that people should stop taking rich sources of omega 3 fats...' AND some of the research they were reviewing was for a margarine spread!
I could go on and on. I guess what it comes down to is that the news these days is filled with sensational stores. There must be some combination of reporters intentionally skewing the facts and/or just not understanding the science. There is no 'wonder supplement' out there, but there are many that are extremely good. I would encourage you to speak to a health care practitioner you trust when the news raises questions for you.
As a final note, we are starting to discover some wonderful non-fish sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids that hold great promise of being in a form our body can properly use.
7/15/2013 01:27:50 am
Is it time to go with Flax or Evening Prime Rose or Hemp oils because the sea is contaminated?
Dr. Dielle Raymond, ND
7/15/2013 01:43:18 am
Excellent question. Good quality fish oils are tested for serious contaminants, such as heavy metals, so I feel safe recommending them to my patients. Vegetable-based oils have not been proven to be a form of Omega-3 that we can effectively utilize. Evening Primrose Oil does seen to help with specific skin and endocrine disorders, though we're not sure precisely why. Algae is an interesting new source of Omega-3, however it is just quite high in DHA. DHA isn't bad, it just has specific functions, just like EPA. My concern with fish oils is depleting fish stocks worldwide. You might be interested to know that the best new source of Omega-3 is actually BUGS!
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Dr. Dielle Raymond, ND