I thought fish oil was good for you. It has been touted as an anti-inflammatory, good for heart health, ADHD, depression, and asthma, joint health, and more. And, if I didn’t like to eat fish, fish oil comes in supplemental form-what’s not to like? However, in the past few months, I’ve read and heard that fish oil supplements can actually cause harm to the cardiovascular system and are also increasing the risk of cancer. Most of the doctors I know readily endorse fish oil supplements for their patients, and up until now, I would agree with them. At this moment, I really don’t know what to think. Eating fish seems to be a good thing, but the supplements seem to be a whole different issue. This is not all that surprising, since I’ve long believed that getting most of what you nutritionally need from whole foods is the best way. But, many people don’t like to eat fish, so fish oil pills seemed to be a logical way to get the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids from fish. Here’s the latest. Dr. Robert Rowen, editor of the Second Opinion newsletter (www.SecondOpinionNewsletter.com): “I don’t recommend fish oil for my patient’s except in unusual circumstances. I recommend the parent oils (parent oils are vegetable oil sources of omega 6, and chock full of omega 3) for omega-3’s; evening primrose oil, high linolenic safflower oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, and coconut oil. Get these as pure and organic as possible. Fish oil is not good for oxygen carriage across cell membranes, and many of the fish oil studies are not well done. They are not controlling the effects of fish oil against parent oils. Fish oils are being pushed in gram quantities that are far greater than the body can tolerate. Dr. Oddveig Myhre ND, states that “fish oils have been shown to be beneficial in many health conditions. However, there are issues with fish oils. Many people are taking fish oils that are either rancid (usually sold cheaply over the counter), or fish oils that are contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium due to the poor purification processed on them. Another is poor absorption if one has had gallbladder issues now or in the past, most likely the fish oils will not be absorbed properly. Furthermore, as we age, our ability to break down and absorb oils decreases, due to a lower activity of the enzyme responsible-lipase. Best bet for health, food sources of omega-3’s and omega-6’s, and organically raised and processed to ensure full physiological function.” In several well-done studies, fish oils (supplements) have been found to be worthless in aiding atherosclerosis, brain health, and can actually make blood sugar control worse. Who knew? I still don’t know for sure, but I am not taking fish oil supplements, and haven’t been for about a year. I eat fish several times a week, and use avocado, olive, safflower, and coconut oils. For more in-depth information, check out Edward C. Kondrot, M.D., and his book 10 Essentials to Save Your Sight, or www.healingtheeye.com.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.