Ever since I had my heart attack, going on eight years ago now, I’ve been told that I need to take a lot of fish oil. Now, fortunately, this fish oil isn’t the kind that leaves that fishy taste in your mouth all day long.
I’ve been told, both by the gynecologist with whom I live and the cardiologist in who’s hands I’ve placed my life, that fish oil is good for my heart because of all the omega-3 fatty acids in it. Now, according to a new study reported on CNN, maybe not so much.
Fish oil supplements, which contain omega-3 fatty acids believed to promote heart health, may not benefit people who have already had a heart attack or stroke, according to a new review of previously published studies.
The review, which appears this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, covers 14 clinical trials that included more than 20,000 people with a history of cardiovascular disease. After pooling and re-analyzing the trial data, the researchers found no differences in the risk of new cardiac events or heart-related death in people taking fish oil supplements versus placebo.
“There is no evidence that omega-3 supplementation is effective for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease,” says lead author Seung-Kwon Myung, M.D., a researcher of family medicine at Seoul National University, in South Korea.
Early clinical trials of the benefits of omega-three fatty acids suggested they might fight inflation, deter the narrowing and hardening of the arteries and prevent blood clotting. Those results, however, haven’t been found to continue in any of the more recent tests.
The new review, known as a meta-analysis, is the first of its kind since 2009. In contrast to that earlier review, which found that fish oil supplements reduced heart-related death risk by 13% compared to placebo, Myung and his colleagues found no association between fish oil use and the risk of sudden cardiac death, heart attack (both fatal and nonfatal), heart-related chest pain, heart failure or stroke.
It’s sure not looking good for fish oil, but the jury still is out on this supplement. It’s the great thing about medicine, dudes. We might think something is great until a study comes along that proves us wrong. At which point we all abandon that thing. Until another study comes along refuting that first study and we all smack our heads and wonder how we could have ever stopped using that thing.
Medical researchers don’t make it easy for folks to follow the best practice recommendations. Which, oddly, I see as a benefit. Keeping up with all the latest research is a certain way to keep your mind fit and working sharp, instead of wasting away into decrepitude and decline.Share on Facebook Tags: 3 Fatty Acids, A Dude's Guide to Health, Archives Of Internal Medicine, Cardiac Events, Cardiologist, Cardiovascular Disease, Cnn, Death Risk, dude, Family Medicine, Fish, Fish Oil, Fish Oil Supplements, Gynecologist, Hardening Of The Arteries, heart attack, Heart Failure, Heart Health, History Of Cardiovascular Disease, Inflation, Medicine, Meta Analysis, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Omega Three Fatty Acids, placebo, Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease, richard, Secondary Prevention, Seoul National University, South Korea, Sudden Cardiac Death