Are Fish Oil Supplements Doing the Right Thing?

On your recent visit to the doctor, did you have a conversation about those Fish Oil supplements you’ve been taking to help with the cholesterol issues you have?  No?  Well, neither did I.  It pays to actually keep up with the latest news on this health stuff.  It is true that eating fish has health benefits. However, until recently,  it was thought that fish based supplements are also a good thing to take for this.

  • In the future,  you may want to think about who is coming to dinner with you.
  • Supplements for cholesterol issues usually  contain Omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated oils). Omega-3 fatty acids are also available by eating fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel.
  • It is suggested that people who eat these types of fish two or more times a week may have fewer issues with heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths.
  • Some of the benefits of eating fatty fish 2 or 3 times a week are: lower heart rate and blood pressure; and improved function of blood vessels, for example.

Now it turns out that those studies, which were done 15 years ago, and reported that fish oils/fish eaters, could lower the risk of heart disease,  may not be the only studies to consider. It may be some other factors/characteristics; for example, eating less meat, healthier lifestyles etc., could be contributory factors as well.

Dietary supplement industry groups have heavily criticized a new meta-analysis in JAMA Cardiology that concluded that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation had no significant impact on fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or any major vascular events.

I must admit the whole topic is quite complicated.  All sorts of factors are being considered.  For example, rising costs of wild-caught fish, and declining supplies.  Yikes!

There is good news: Farmed salmon typically has as much or more Omega-3s, as wild-caught salmon.  I did not know that.  Some of you may have thought that it is not good to eat Farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is also less expensive.  It is recommended that we eat fish at least twice a week by the American Heart Association.  Eating fish has many benefits in keeping us healthy: high in protein, vitamin D, low saturated fat and other beneficial nutrients, reduced risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia.  For those of you who are allergic to fish,  you may want to investigatet the value of eating some plant sources for Omega-3s : flax seed, walnuts, and vegetable oils.
Source: Jane E. Brody, New York Times

All in all, the evidence suggests that we should all be finding ways to include more Omega-3s into our diet.







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