Volume11, Issue 41 May 21, 2014
Conventional medicine slowly
changing its mind on fish oil
I warned you about fish oil a few years ago. The warning came with great risk to my credibility. But now the medical establishment is verifying what I've been saying.

A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association cast a pall over the fish oil story by reviewing 20 studies dating back to 1989. They included nearly 70,000 patients. The study authors admitted that early trials of marine oils on vascular health showed "strong, significant effect." But there's credible evidence that the positive studies were poorly conducted.

The JAMA report verifies this, stating that as better, well-controlled studies came out, "the effect of marine oil became weaker and non-significant." One major report relied upon a fish oil study, which was open labeled. That means that both the investigators and the subjects knew what they were taking. Furthermore, most of their subjects already had heart disease. The new study's senior author, Dr. Moses Elisaf, appropriately and summarily hit this study. "This evidence," he said, "should not be generalized to any type of patients or apparently healthy individuals."

Dr. Robert Bonow is a Chicago cardiologist and a former head of the American Heart Association who was not involved in the study. He said he tended to agree with the authors' conclusion that taking omega-3 supplements would not help everyone. He said there was no evidence omega-3 prevented heart attacks. Furthermore, he affirmed my long position that any potential benefits of supplementation were likely small in comparison with exercising, maintaining a proper weight, and addressing general heart health.

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Immediately, after this article appeared, I received the expected barrage of verbiage from fish oil trade groups decrying the analysis. Their propaganda is that the evidence is "overwhelming" that fish oil is terrific. I challenge that. Actually, since better controlled studies started around 2007, there have been more fish oil failure studies than successes. Also realize that a failed study carries more scientific significance than a success, since a "success" could be from different causes than the investigators look for.

Also, they allege "science," the mechanism perceived for the illusory effect is "not clear" (according to the report). One proposed mechanism is that fish oil lowers triglycerides. But the JAMA study outright refuted that as a credible mechanism. Science, especially in this field, doesn't deal with "postulated" mechanisms. The mechanism of action of most heart treatments is well known. So, fish oil science (with questionable results, and no proven mechanism of action) is rather fishy, wouldn't you say?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I've written an entire book on how bad the science is for fish oil — and how great plant oils are for you. The PEO Solution is available now. And, for a short time, you can get the book at 63% off the retail price of $27.50. That's right! You can order it right now for only $9.95. So follow the link above and get your copy now. It will change the way you look at fish oil.

JAMA, 2012;308(10):1024-1033; LA Times, 9-11-12.

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