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A long and healthy life
The case against getting your omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils (1)

In ‘The real cause of cancer’ (Green Health Watch Magazine 33 page 8) we reported Brian Peskin’s recommendation against getting your daily omega-3 from fish oil. He advises that:

  • it is dangerously high in omega-3
  • the omega-3 it contains is principally 'derivative' 'singly essential' omega-3 (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), whereas the human body principally needs 'triply essential' omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)), from which it makes all the EPA and DHA it needs

Is Brian a maverick with a bee in his bonnet or one of those rare creatures - a seeker of truth brave enough to speak out against medical and pharmaceutical orthodoxy? Are there others who agree? Check out these study conclusions:

  • Fish oil treatment (1.65 grams per day) for two years did not protect against heart disease. The arteries of the people taking fish oil clogged up at the same speed as, and thickened slightly more than, those of the non-fish oil taking control group. (1) Treatment with fish oils for two years provided negligible addtional benefit over treatment with a placebo for people with coronary artery disease
  • Men with angina who followed the advice they were given to increase their intake of fish oils were more likely to die of a heart attack. The risk was particularly high for those also given fish oil supplements (2)
  • There is no strong evidence to date that higher intakes of either long chain or shorter chain omega-3 fatty acids increases overall lifespan or reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular events, stroke or cancer. Important harm from raised intakes of omega-3 cannot be excluded (3)
  • Supplementation with fish oil for six months worsened diabetics’ glycaemic sugar control, their glycaemic tolerance and their glycosylated haemoglobin levels (bad news) (4)

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(1) Angerer, P., et al., Cardiovascular Research 2002; 54:183-190
     von Schacky et al. Annals of Internal Medicine 1999;130:554-562
     Sacks,FM et al. Journal of the American College of Cardiologists 1995; 25(7):1492-98
(2) Burr et al. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003;57:193-200
(3) Hooper,L et al. British Medical Journal 2006;332(7544):752-60 (a review of 96 trials considered the least flawed or biased, including 52 trials exclusively of fish oil)
(4) Stacpoole et al. Metabolism 1989;38(10):946-56(5) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity. Philip C. Calder.
     The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) 4th Congress. June 2000 Congress in Tsukuba, Japan

(12906) Nick Anderson. Green Health Watch Magazine 23.8.2007

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