A lot of people buy fish oil supplements in the hopes of improving their health and protecting their heart from disease. Is the money wasted?
Where’s The Evidence?
A meta-analysis (a summary of studies done on a subject) published in Annals of Internal Medicine casts doubt on the assumption that fish oil capsules do you good.
The researchers looked at the results of 76 studies about unsaturated fatty acids, 17 of which examined the effect of supplementing them. That group had more than 100,000 participants.
The results are sobering:
- Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids didn’t reduce the chance of coronary health problems
- There was no evidence that monounsaturated fatty acid consumption reduced coronary risk
- Finally there also was no clear connection between a person’s total saturated fatty acid intake and heart health
Especially the last bit is interesting. Rani already pointed that out a while ago.
It’s The Extra Weight
So where does that suddenly come from? Why all the conflicting advice you got over the years? Why then does the American Heart Association tell you to limit saturated fats and go for mono- and polyunsaturated?
It’s likely because one very important factor has been overlooked again and again: people who eat a lot of saturated fats tend to be overweight and obese. And the single most important factor in heart and coronary health is weight.
When you weigh 200+ pounds, a fish oil capsule won’t solve your problem, even if its polyunsaturated fats were able to lower the risk of inflammations. It’s like asking a SWAT team to handle Genghis Khan’s Golden Horde.
Before And After Approach
But that’s where “big pharma” and “natural supplement” sellers happily unite: telling you it’s ok to approach the shape and behavior of Mount Vesuvius, erupting into movement only every 2,000 years or so. Because they have the solution that doesn’t require any unpleasant taking stock of yourself. As long as you pop in their pill, all will be well and forgiven.
The only real difference between them is the before and after approach: one group promises you won’t get the stroke as long as you buy the pill, the other sells you the pill to lower your blood pressure once you had the stroke.
Staying Fit And Healthy – For Free
Neither camp has much interest in you knowing that 90% of being and staying healthy doesn’t require popping any pill. All you got to do is keep your weight in the healthy range, do a bit of fitness and eat your food from a variety of sources.
Picture courtesy of John Liu.