JAMA Fish Drama

Let your hook always be cast.  In the pool where you least expect it, will be fish. Ovid

Photo: Diliff

Not everyone has heard the latest hoopla regarding fish oil supplements. Like the folks at Carlson Labs, manufacturers of my personal favorite fish oil supplement. I called them today to see what they thought about JAMA’s recent announcement that fish oil supplements were no more effective than a placebo at preventing premature death or serious cardiovascular problems. The Carlson rep thought I had said, “Have you read the latest Drama study”.  Evidently the drama from JAMA has not effected Carlson’s sales because she thought I was nuts. She wasn’t impressed with my summary of the report. She confirmed sales are brisk. People are still taking their omegas, and unless they have had it with fish burps, a new study won’t persuade them to stop.  I’ve been taking the supplements for over 2 years, and I too see no reason to stop.  Besides, what would I do with the super-sized bottle I just bought?

After re-examining data from 20 previous clinical trials over the past 2 decades involving nearly 70,000 patients, Dr. Moses Elisaf concluded that the Omega 3 supplements won’t prevent a heart attack or stroke. Really? Whatever. It’s still good for me, right? After all, It is an anti-inflammatory. And I know that tons of health problems are related to an inflammatory process.

The Carlson rep toted the benefits of fish oil: great for joints/arthritis, dry skin, brain and eye health. Some people take it to help with their ADD, or to keep depression at bay (not enough omega 3 = less dopamine and serotonin in the brain). And, medical practitioners do prescribe it for high triglycerides levels.

Best healthy bet: Eat food that is good for you, and include at least 2 servings a week of cold water fish. No, it can’t be fried or in the form of a fast food patty – the frying cancels out the benefits and could increase your heart disease risk.  Your body needs omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). It doesn’t make it so you’re going to have to eat it.  Anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, lake trout, albacore tuna, salmon, scallops, flax seeds, walnuts, and olive oil are all good sources.

The jury is still out on what the future holds for omega 3 fatty acid supplements. More specific long-term trials and studies are warranted. For now, with my doctor’s blessing, I shall continue my Carlson norwegian salmon oil 1gm daily, and do my best to eat sardine (gag), anchovies (yuck), and herring (puke).

 

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Kathy

I am a Nurse Practitioner from Rochester, NY presently working in both the inpatient and outpatient hospital psychiatric settings.

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