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More Fish Oil News

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A meta-analysis published in this September 12, 2012 JAMA re-examined the results of 20 randomized fish oil studies associated with major cardiovascular disease events.  The results suggest that fish oil benefits may not be as significant as claimed by many.

This does not come as a surprise to the Biosyntrx science team.  Although, we are not as swayed by meta analyses science as some because the choice of published studies included is too often affected by investigator bias, or the health status of randomized study subjects.  This analysis was done on cardiovascular disease at-risk subjects. 
The analysis looked at 3,635 citations and chose 20 studies that included 68,880 patients reporting 7,044 deaths, 3,993 cardiac deaths, 1150 sudden deaths, 1837 myocardial infarction, and 1,490 strokes.  The median age range of the subjects was 68 years.  18 of the 20 studies included subjects who supplemented with with one to one and a half grams per day of Omega-3 EPA / DHA from concentrated fish oil (500-770 mg of EPA and 300-600 mg of DHA).  
The study authors concluded “Overall, omega-3 PUFA 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 

Industry pressure, along with earlier studies, convinced the FDA to approve Omega-3 fish oil as a triglyceride-lowering agent.  That claim, and possibly others, is now allowed on fish oil supplement labels, while health claims for well-proven vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are not allowed,  other than for folic acid and neural tube defects. 
Thousands of fish-oil-positive studies have yet to prompt The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science to establish a recommended daily amount (RDA), or a safe upper limit (UL), for Omega-3 EPA /DHA fish oil.

One can’t help but wonder if something other than funding cuts has prevented the Academy from publishing their Fatty Acid Analysis and establishing Omega-3 RDAs or DRIs.  

We have strongly recommended that our customers never try to balance excessive intake of Omega-6 fatty acids from overly-processed junk food with excessive fish oil consumption (please, please, eat less junk food instead). 

More of anything is not always better, particularly where essential fatty acids are concerned. 

Ellen Troyer, MT MA
Biosyntrx CEO / Chief Research Officer



Single nutrient meta analysis reports are more often than not, disappointing.  The reason being that all nutrients s work best in concert with full-spectrum supplementation.  Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the major nutrient symphony players. 

However, we do NOT recommend that you throw your fish oil back, like way too much of the lay press is recommending based on the meta analysis in question. There are hundreds of other well-designed studies that do support the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids from both fish oil supplements and dietary intake.  Our bodies cannot produce essential fatty acids - they must be part of our dietary or supplement intake and there are a number of high-quality fish oil supplements available to the public today. 

We recommend consumption of fresh cold water fish twice a week  and supplementation with concentrated fish oil on the days fish are not consumed (think sardines - one tin includes 2,000 mg of EPA / DHA).   The American Heart Association recommendation for Omega-3 fatty acids has never exceeded 3,500 mg per week of EPA / DHA.   

Heart Health Musts:  no smoking, daily exercise,  whole grains, vegetables, fruits, reasonable amounts of fats, including the range of essential fatty acids from diet or supplements,  plus a well-designed, full-spectrum multiple to provide the nutrients missing from processed and artificially ripened or GMO fruits and vegetables.  

"Even the slightest nutrient deficiency over time can accelerate the aging process and degenerative disease."  Bruce Ames, PhD. 


Association between Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk of major cardiovascular disease events.  Rizos E, Ntzani E, et al. JAMA Sept 12, 2012, 308(10): [abstract]