The fish oil debate has raged back and forth…
The supplements became popular after researchers discovered in the 1970s that heart disease was virtually nonexistent among Greenland Inuits, who have a high intake of fish oil.
Studies found that fish oil capsules were so effective in preventing heart attacks that the FDA approved two omega-3 prescription drugs. They are Lovasa and Vascepa. Omega-3s are fatty acids that are the active ingredient in fish oil.
In recent years, though, some studies found that over-the-counter fish oil supplements don’t work. Headlines proclaimed fish oil was a fraud.
Now, the results are in on the largest analysis ever on fish oil.
The study comes from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Researchers looked at data from more than 120,000 subjects.
They concluded that people who took daily omega-3 fish oil supplements cut their risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease by 8%.
That may not seem like much. But an 8% drop in heart disease would save nearly 50,000 American lives a year.
Dr. Yang Hu was the lead author. He said that the study “found significant protective effects” for fish oil. The researchers discovered a “dose-response” effect. In other words, the higher the dose, the lower the odds of heart disease.
So why did some previous studies find fish oil to be ineffective?
First, many of these studies were funded by Amarin Pharma. It’s a company that makes prescription fish oil meds. They have a vested interest in downplaying the value of over-the-counter fish oil.
Second, most of these studies used a relatively low dose—840 mg. The Amarin-backed research found their drug to be effective…but at doses of 4,000 mg a day. It’s likely the studies found regular fish oil didn’t work because they were under-dosing their subjects.
Take the Right Kind of Fish Oil
You don’t need a prescription fish oil to obtain heart-protective benefits. But you should make sure you get the right kind of over-the-counter fish oil supplements.
Most fish oils are made with a cheap, fast manufacturing process that yields something called an ethyl ester (EE). This kind of fish oil is less bioavailable. Labels of EE fish oil often say the product is derived from “marine oil concentrate.”
Instead, look for brands that contain the triglyceride form of fish oil. It should be noted on the label.
A high-quality fish oil will also be relatively free of any fishy tastes or smells. The oil should be relatively translucent and free of cloudiness.
You’re more likely to find quality fish oil supplements at health food stores and online than at drug stores and supermarkets.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, omega-3 supplements can be safely consumed at doses up to 5,000 mg daily.
But if you’re on a blood-thinning medication, check with your doctor before taking fish oil.
The biggest ever omega-3 study settles the argument: Taking fish oil in sufficient doses is one of the best things you can do for your heart.
Editor’s Note: If you’re concerned about heart disease, there’s something you should know: Research shows the standard mainstream medical treatments to prevent heart attacks—stents and statin drugs—don’t work. Learn what does work in the October issue of our monthly journal, Independent Healing. It’s your best source for science-based health advice. Find out how to subscribe HERE.