Lead Author: I think that the era of fish oil as medication could be considered over now


#1

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/fish-oil-claims-not-supported-by-research/

The case for fish oil was bolstered by several studies from the 1990s, including an Italian study that found that heart attack survivors who were treated with a gram of fish oil daily had a drop in mortality, compared with patients taking vitamin E. These findings prompted groups like the American Heart Association to endorse fish oil about a decade ago as a way for heart patients to get more omega-3s in their diets.

“But since then, there has been a spate of studies showing no benefit,” said Dr. James Stein, the director of preventive cardiology at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Among them was a clinical trial of 12,000 people, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, that found that a gram of fish oil daily did not reduce the rate of death from heart attacks and strokes in people with evidence of atherosclerosis.

I found this interesting and thought I’d post it here even though fish oil hasn’t been used in Soylent since v1.1. What I am curious about is that since they are saying fish oil seems to have limited (or no) benefit does that mean that the omega-3s in fish oil, which are/were supposed to be the driving benefit, are less beneficial or necessary than previously assumed?


#2

I think this is key for Soylent:

We don’t recommend fish oil unless someone gets absolutely no fish in their diets

The omegas are still required, especially for 100% Soylent diets.


#3

You need to be careful about what these studies are saying…

In an at-risk population (those with high risk of heart attack because of their existing diet/lifestyle/health), the mere addition of a fish oil capsule does not cause a statistically significant improvement.

In controlled studies, however, there is an improvement, and diets higher in omega-3’s are very clearly associated with more positive outcomes.

The difference?

It’s possible that adding a fish oil capsule to a bad diet isn’t enough. It’s possible that actually improving the diet may be more important and make a bigger difference. And it’s possible that a fair number of people who take a fish oil capsule use that as an excuse not to improve the rest of their diet!

Also, this article refers specifically to the risks of heart attack and stroke - those are not the only benefits of increased omega-3 consumption. More info from LPI here.

This is also not the same as saying we don’t need essential oils… just that fish oil in addition doesn’t seem to stem the heart attacks and stroke. In formulas like Soylent, which have no fish, you definitely want to make sure to provide the essential omega-3, because it’s not a supplement (add-on) to a diet, it is the diet.


#4

[quote=“MentalNomad, post:3, topic:20419”]
Also, this article refers specifically to the risks of heart attack and stroke
[/quote]This is one of my pet peeves about health studies. Of course, dietary supplements are difficult to evaluate when it comes to whether you will develop a real health problem like cancer, strokes, heart attacks, etc.

But my definition of health (especially as I get older) has to do with day to day comfort and capability. If a supplement (or other benign treatment) can make me more alert or make my hands hurt less, or whatever. That is an improvement to my health.

I work in an organization that regulates health care and so often what I hear is “that treatment is useless because it doesn’t cure cancer”.

Eve


#5

Doesn’t someone who lives mostly on Soylent get absolutely no fish in their diet? Anyway, my Kaiser doctor specifically recommended that I take fish oil, so I will.


#6

Just goes to show (again) that what is now considered perfectly healthy/beneficial may well be shown to have detrimental effects later on down the line.

The only truly beneficial food item out there is beer. :wink:


#7

Yes, but someone mostly on Soylent is getting the essential oils that fish oil supplements are intended to provide to people on poor diets. Be sure to show your doctor the Soylent nutrition facts. You may not need the supplements.


#8

Well I’ve never consumed fish or fish oil once in my entire life, nor taken any Omega supplement until a couple years ago, and I’m almost 42. Somehow I’ve managed to not only survive, but be overall quite healthy despite not eating anything even remotely resembling a “balanced diet”. Things have of course only gotten better since Soylent came along.


#9

Yeah, I had never taken fish oil till I was 65.


#10

This point is ofcourse in addition to what others here have said about the study.

There are many things that could lead to heart-attacks. Some of which that i am aware of are through a) TMAO through carnitine,lecithin, high choline?, b) through cadmium, c) prostaglandins and interluekines from arachadonic acid, d) magnesium deficiency. Now as far as i know, fish oil (specifically EPA) takes care of only one of them…the PG’s and IL’s of arachadonic acid, not the other three. So if those people in the study had atherosclerosis and its progression because of those other factors then i doubt fish oil would have been helpful. Although i feel i am right about this, if i am wrong i fully welcome any corrections in what i said.


#11

I still think that good ol’ stress is the major culprit for so many of our modern ills.


#12

I think half of our psychological problems themselves have physical roots. I feel even insufficient sleep puts us at risk for high blood pressure and/or heart disease. I forgot to add this in my earlier comment.