Last night on the news, it was announced that South Korean published a study that concluded that fish oil (omega 3) has no effect on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. This study was a meta-analysis, which means that a number of previously conducted studies on fish oil and cardiovascular disease have been taken into account to form a collective conclusion. Without knowing the details of each of the studies and their experimental designs, it is impossible to comment on the quality of the study. However, it is important to point out that the dosage of omega 3 may not have been sufficient.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to prescribe nutraceutical agents (such as fish oil) at therapeutic dosages. The majority of North Americans are highly deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, not just because of insufficient omega 3 intake, but also because of over consumption of omega 6 fatty acids. The optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is roughly 2:1, whereas the typical North American diet contains an omega 6:3 ratio of 10:1. As a result, even more omega 3 is needed to off-set this steep imbalance.
Furthermore, not all fish oil supplements are created equal. To help prevent cardiovascular disease, in general, one needs the right kind of omega 3. Don’t stop at the total amount of omega 3 on the nutritional label. Look to see how much EPA and DHA are in the supplement. Not all individuals wanting to prevent cardiovascular disease needs the same type of omega 3 supplement. If you are someone with a lot of anxiety (known to be correlated to increased cardiovascular events), you need more DHA in your supplement, if your hs-CRP reading is high, then EPA is to be more emphasized.
Lastly, it is of utmost importance to buy your fish oil from a reputable company, otherwise, you’ll do more harm than good. Fish oils may contain heavy metal contamination if not sourced from a good quality manufacturer. This applies to fish that you consume too. Be sure to get fish that have low heavy metal contamination risk. The rule of thumb to follow is the smaller the fish, the less likelihood of it containing heavy metals. At least this helps you to minimize the amount of ingested heavy metals.
A large number of studies have been done to show that fish oil (omega 3), when taken at the right doses is not only able to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, but also significantly benefits anxiety, depression and joint pain too. To read about them, find the articles on the following links.
Blog brought to you by: Lei Gui, BSc ND, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Active Natural Health 905.425.2888