Why do you take fishy pills?
Did your doctor tell you too? Did you read online that you should? Why do you think I’m calling them Fishy pills? In learning all about nutrition, I was told all sorts of “facts” that are now no longer true. I learned that fish oil was the magic cure for heart disease and all things! Information confusion is everywhere, it seems to be the new way of things these days. Who do we trust?
In his recent book, author Paul Greenberg of the James Beard Award-winning bestseller Four Fish, American Catch, and The Omega Principle, explains why omega-3 (fish oil) supplements may be useless for you and terrible for the environment. Yes, fish pills turn out to be a little bit fishy after all.
This also seems to be the growing consensus among other experts. A recent meta-analysis of 79 randomized controlled trials following more than 100,000 participants added to the growing corpus of non-findings. The study cataloged a litany of heart conditions for which omega-3s appear to have “little or no effect,” challenging the oldest and most important claimed the benefit of the supplement—that taking it promotes heart health.
Wait, how did we get to here?
Omega-3 supplements began to take off because in the 1970s a team of Danish scientists drew blood from a small group of Inuit people who had become known for their low rates of cardiac death and because they had far more omega-3’s present in their blood. The team concluded that Omega-3’s are therefore good for your heart.
This claim or hypothesis was never studied extensively before becoming the entire purpose of an entirely new health product that everyone needed to have to stay “healthy”.
Being good for your heart was the first claim to fall.
A Meta-Analysis in 2012 said, “Overall, omega-3 supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke, based on relative and absolute measures of association.”
The next claim to fall was that omega-3 supplements were beneficial to the brain.
When in fact they have never been shown to be beneficial at all to the brain! Recent studies show that they don’t help depression, or young children at risk for psychotic disorders, and don’t improve memory in the elderly. All claims that have been made, without actual proof.
There are certainly some benefits to eating fish, but it’s become quite obvious that somewhere between eating the fish and swallowing a capsule has lost its benefits. Omega 3’s are good for us, but for now, I’d stick to eating fish and a whole food diet.
It has been scientifically proven that fish is high in omega3’s. That you can cant’ on. The fish oil capsules, not so much.
Go ahead and save the money, skip the giant yellow pills and enjoy life without burping the taste of fish. Hooray!!
At least until a new study comes along and changes things…again.