The Truth About Fish Oil, Omega 3, and Heart Disease

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Omega-3 supplements, including fish oil, flax seed oil, and many others sources have been highly touted and marketed for their “potential” benefits to heart health as well as a number of other health issues. Because of this, millions of people around the world have been vigilantly consuming Omega-3’s believing that they are the key to keeping their heart healthy and saving them from heart disease. But a new study was recently released demonstrating (yet again) that Omega-3 supplements DO NOT provide any benefits when it comes to heart disease.

While this is quite a controversial topic, you deserve to know the truth.

So, before you wake up and pop your morning fish oil pills, or down the latest and greatest Omega-3 concoction on the market, thinking that your staying one step ahead with your health, take a look at the results of this latest Omega-3 study:

Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357266

Conclusion 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.

While many may be led to believe that this new study is ground-breaking news, I’m sorry to say that nothing could be further from the truth. There have been numerous studies in the past that have shown the same exact results, just like this one:

Cod liver oil consumption, smoking, and coronary heart disease mortality: three counties, Norway.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11507963

“Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, as practiced in this cohort, provided no significant benefits to CHD risk among study participants.”

Or here’s a few more just in case you’re still in a state of disbelief:

n–3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Dysglycemia

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1203859

Conclusions: Daily supplementation with 1 g of n–3 fatty acids did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for cardiovascular events.

Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements (Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid) in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1151420

Conclusion Our meta-analysis showed insufficient evidence of a secondary preventive effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements against overall cardiovascular events among patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.

n–3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Events after Myocardial Infarction

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1003603

Conclusions Low-dose supplementation with EPA–DHA or ALA did not significantly reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events among patients who had had a myocardial infarction and who were receiving state-of-the-art antihypertensive, antithrombotic, and lipid-modifying therapy.

Adding Fuel to the Fish Oil Fire

Not only have previous studies shown that Omega-3 and fish oil do not improve heart health or reduce your risk of heart disease, there have been other research studies that have shown that these Omega-3 PUFAs can actually play a role in promoting heart disease:

The association of increasing dietary concentrations of fish oil with hepatotoxic effects and a higher degree of aorta atherosclerosis in the ad lib.-fed rabbit.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9734717

“An n-3 long-chain PUFA concentration dependent increase in aorta plaque surface area was observed in the fish oil groups.”

I could go on and on with more and more research but I think you understand the point that I’m trying to make.

The Fish Oil Deception…

So, now you might be asking yourself… how the heck did all of this happen?

The honest and sad truth is that companies push poor and oftentimes skewed or illogical studies that promote the far-fetched “potential” benefits of these supplements. They do this while spending large amounts of marketing dollars to make sure you only see these supposed beneficial “studies”, and so that you never see the studies that might tell a different story.

Now, I don’t recommend the use of Wikipedia when researching for 100% factual information, but it should throw up some red flags when even Wikipedia is denouncing the health benefits of Omega-3’s by using the following statements to describe the various supposed health benefits…

“…does not appear to affect this risk…”

“Evidence does not support…”

“Although not confirmed as an approved health claim…”

“Although not supported by current scientific evidence…”

“…there is limited evidence that may be useful…”

To top it all off, this is followed by a list of known adverse effects, many of which are the same exact claimed “benefits” that the Omega-3 Industry is trying to promote, such as Omega-3’s causing an increased risk of stroke.

See it for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid

As you can see, Omega-3’s and fish oil are being marketed for all kinds of “potential” benefits for which there is no sound research to offer as legitimate proof.

What you have to understand is that the Omega-3 and Fish Oil Industry is a mega multi-billion dollar industry. And money talks a lot louder than anything, especially research that could threaten an industry’s profit margin.

In 2010 alone, over-the-counter fish oil supplements sales were more than $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. market alone.

Many people want to believe that the Natural Health Supplement Industry is really interested in your health and would never deceive you. But honestly, this industry isn’t much different than the pharmaceutical industry in that they too are more concerned about profits than your health.

Drug companies, seeing the potential money they could make, sprung into action because they too wanted a piece of the fish oil pie. This is what prompted the drug company GlaxoSmithKline to buy out and market the fish oil medication Lovaza, which just happened to rake in a modest $916 million last year.

Now the drug company, Amarin Corporation, wants in on the deal and is about to release its own fish oil “medication” called Vascepa, which is going to be heralded as an even bigger and better fish oil supplement than all.

You Can’t Afford NOT to Be In Control of Your Own Health

There are a lot of very honest and well meaning doctors, practitioners, and healthcare providers who truly want the best for you and your health. But, unfortunately, they too buy into the media and marketing hype of these products and supplements without taking the time to look at ALL of the research. And because of this, they jump on the bandwagon without ever realizing that they could be causing more harm than good.

If you learn anything from this, hopefully it’s that you have to be in control of your own health and make the right decisions for you, based on what you believe is right and not what you read in some health magazine or see in some media spotlight on some popular TV show.

My only goal is to open your eyes and show you the other side of the Omega-3 and fish oil story that you haven’t seen, so that you can make the informed decision and do what you believe is right for you and your health.

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21 Responses to “The Truth About Fish Oil, Omega 3, and Heart Disease”

  1. Julie

    18. Sep, 2012

    What about the use of pure wild salmon oil for the prevention of Alzheimer’s? Is this just hype too?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      18. Sep, 2012

      With Alzheimer’s, research has shown that there are higher levels of lipid peroxidation byproducts in the brain, especially from DHA (Omega 3), such as acrolein:

      Acrolein, a product of lipid peroxidation, inhibits glucose and glutamate uptake in primary neuronal cultures.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11053772
      “Collectively, these data demonstrate neurotoxicity mechanisms of arolein that might be important in the pathogenesis of neuron degeneration in AD.”

      Reply to this comment
  2. Bruce Boone/Meredith Boone

    18. Sep, 2012

    So I take it you do Not recommend mega Red so what do I take for help with Memory. I am doing the hyperthyroidism revolution diet been on it For a month or so,also should I go off of the Estring I am on?? .
    When I stopped the Mega red in the Begining of my hypo-diet I was having trouble trying to find words to finish my thoughts
    So I went back on.
    I am loving the diet so far. My temp has come up and pluse also. At the start of the diet I quit taking synthroid and and Fosomax the Estring would be the last prescription I am on!
    Thanks so much for all the work you have done and continue to do to help educate us hypothyroid people!
    Meredith Boone

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      18. Sep, 2012

      It really boils down to an issue of energy production. When the brain can’t produce energy efficiently, it doesn’t work very well. Coconut oil would be a much better option since it is high in keto-acids which the brain can use readily as an alternative fuel source when glucose oxidation is impaired. The research has been very supportive. You can look at the work of Mary T. Newport M.D. I can’t give advice or recommendations on prescription meds so it’s best to talk to your doctor about that.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Vadim

    18. Sep, 2012

    It is awesome that you are doing all this research Tom. Thank you so much for it. Now, since you have found studies that are saying the Omega 3 is bad for you and do not help with heart health, what IS a good supplement for heart health? If you suggest people to get off Omega 3, why not suggest what to take in replacement that is actually good and works? Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      18. Sep, 2012

      I wish I could but there simply is no “magical” supplement that will keep your heart healthy. It doesn’t work that way. If you want to improve heart disease, you have to first understand it to begin with. Dr. Broda Barnes did a great job with his research showing the connection between heart disease and hypothyroidism. No one has refuted his work. Instead they just continue to ignore it.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Julianne Williams

    19. Sep, 2012

    Tom, the doctor told me that when taking tablets for ‘fatty liver’ one should also take fish oil tablets. So how does this fit with your research?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      19. Sep, 2012

      There has been some research that suggests that Fish Oil or Omega-3 can improve fatty liver, which many believe is due to high levels of Omega-6 PUFAs. However, it doesn’t make much sense trying to solve one problem only to create another one. It makes much more sense to focus on restoring proper metabolic function which all PUFAs interfere with.

      Reply to this comment
  5. richard

    22. Sep, 2012

    The last eggs I bought at the health food store bragged that their eggs had 660 of omega 3 in each egg. How do they get this extra omega into a “natural” egg, and are you suggesting that I might want to pass on these eggs in the future? Thanks for your work !

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      24. Sep, 2012

      They feed those chickens a lot of flaxseed which is high in PUFA to get the Omega-3 up. When the PUFA increases, the saturated fat decreases so it’s best to avoid those eggs.

      Reply to this comment
  6. SUSAN HANNAH

    23. Sep, 2012

    Tom, As a nurse I studied with keen interest the cellular metabolism of the body, and as a patient with thyroid disease for 50 years, and post thyroidectomy at ages 15, 16 and 26 and subsequently diagnosed with Hashimotos’s Struma, and going from Treatment with Cytomel by Naval doctors, to no treatment , then after the final surgery to 3 grains Armour thyroid , then placed on the “one size fits all” thyroid medicine and going up and down on doses every time I get a TSH level drawn, I have finally some hope of proper treatment!! I feel as if your program was designed just for me personally!!! I have only recently become a member and am studying the program, and intend to use it because so far everything you have published which I have read thus far is based on science and explains why I have had so much trouble over the years. I look forward to an improvement in my health with your plan. Thanks for sharing it, Sincerely, Sue H.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Mike

    24. Sep, 2012

    Tom, if Omega 3’s are bad for your heart how do you explain all the information that in regions where people eat a lot of wild salmon and other fish high in those acids there is very little evidence of heart disease? It’s my understanding that that’s where all this fish oil recreation started from – a study of the people in those regions (Alaskan eskimos, others?) and what they ate. Do you believe those people aren’t really heart healthy? I’m skeptical of any studies, good or bad, there’s always an agenda.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      24. Sep, 2012

      You can’t simply take one dietary difference (i.e. omega-3 from a single food) from the diet of another culture and say that this is the one holy grail of their diet that accounts for their superior health or lack of heart disease. That is a little far fetched and ridiculous. However, glorifying a single ingredient like this is great if you’re selling supplements.

      Eskimo’s for example, were very heart healthy, but not because they ate salmon. In fact, that’s part of the problem. People don’t understand what a true Eskimo diet was and have been led to believe that they eat nothing but salmon and a high PUFA diet. That’s just not true. Eskimo’s ate a large variety of sea and land animals, predominantly seals. And they ate the entire animal, organs (liver, thyroid, brain, heart, all other endocrine glands, etc.)… So, their superior health and lack of heart disease came from a diet very rich in cholesterol, vitamin A, thyroid hormone, various other hormones, etc… All of which support healthy thyroid function, metabolism, and energy production. In fact, research has even shown that Eskimo’s have superior metabolic rate compared to people in the United States.

      Of course Eskimo’s are heart healthy… but not because they get their daily dose of fish oil… When you spend so much time and attention on something so small as fish oil, you forget about and miss the much bigger picture.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Lisa

    30. Sep, 2012

    I was told to take fish oil pills to lower my cholesterol. Is this also not true? Im currently taking Tripple strenght fish oil with +CO Q-10, which claims to have 900mg total omega-3 and 100mg of C0 Q-10?

    Reply to this comment
  9. debbie

    29. Nov, 2012

    Hi Tom, I am on t-3 & t4 and not able to loose weight or gain any energy. do you have any suggestions

    Reply to this comment
  10. Martin

    11. Feb, 2013

    Hi. I understand with some opinions about Omega-3, but I think that problem is with quality of omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 is very prone to oxidation by air, light and oxygen a many of studies using oxidazed omega-3 to show that it is bad for your health. I think that Omega-3 is very good for your health and heart becuse is not essential fats, but must be either from fresh fish or very carefully processed. What Do you think Tom about it? thanks

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      11. Feb, 2013

      The problem is that they oxidize very easily yes. So you are told to refrigerate the supplements, keep away from light etc. When you consume them, your body temp is 98 degrees F which is means that they simply oxidize within your body after you eat them. What about cooking salmon? Bottom line is that it’s impossible to keep these fats from oxidizing within the body regardless of whether they are stable during manufacturing, in the cold-water fish, etc.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Nichol

    22. Jul, 2013

    What about during pregnancy? I am told that omega 3 helps brain development. What do you believe about that? Does coconut oil do enough on it’s own?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom Brimeyer

      25. Jul, 2013

      Excess omega-3 fatty acid consumption by mothers during pregnancy and lactation caused shorter life span and abnormal ABRs in old adult offspring.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19818397

      In conclusion, omega-3 FA over-nutrition or imbalance during pregnancy and lactation had adverse effects on life span and sensory/neurological function in old adulthood. The adverse outcomes in the Excess offspring were likely due to a “nutritional toxicity” during fetal and/or neonatal development that programmed them for life-long health disorders. The health implication is that consuming or administering large amounts of omega-3 FA during pregnancy and lactation seems inadvisable because of adverse effects on the offspring.

      ————————

      Fetal learning and memory: weak associations with the early essential polyunsaturated fatty acid status.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19303277

      Although these weak associations may imply some negative relationships between fetal brain functions and the early ePUFA status, we concluded that physiological differences in the availability of these fatty acids may probably not determine the differences in these primitive brain functions during the third trimester of fetal development.

      ————————

      Maternal supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy does not affect early visual development in the infant: a randomized controlled trial

      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/93/6/1293

      Conclusions: DHA supplementation in women with singleton pregnancies does not enhance infant visual acuity in infants at 4 mo of age.

      ————————

      Effects of prenatal fish-oil and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate supplementation on cognitive development of children at 6.5 y of age

      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2011/08/17/ajcn.110.001107.abstract

      Conclusion: We observed no significant effect of supplementation on the cognitive function of children

      ————————

      Maternal breast milk long-chain n-3 fatty acids are associated with increased risk of atopy in breastfed infants.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14987297

      CONCLUSION: Higher n-3 FA levels in the colostrum do not appear to confer protection against, but may be a risk factor for, the eventual development of atopy in high-risk breastfed infants.

      ————————

      Phospholipid fatty acids in cord blood: family history and development of allergy.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8816203

      The relative levels of the linoleic acid metabolites C20:3, arachidonic acid (AA, C20:4) and C22:4n-6, and two alpha-linolenic acid metabolites, i.e. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6) were significantly higher in infants of allergic mothers than in non-allergic mothers (all p < 0.05). Furthermore, an altered proportional relationship between the various fatty acids in n-6 series fatty acids and between n-3 and n-6 series fatty acids was present already at birth in infants who developed allergic disease during their first 6 years of life.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Amaryallis

    19. Aug, 2013

    Hello Tom,

    I just purchased your program and am quite excited about it. I have been interested in health and nutrition for 40+ years. I’ve tried just about every ‘health kick’ known to man with varying degrees of success. Your program appears to tie together all the loose ends for me. My husband and I have begun the program. Thank you for your research and hard work.

    Kind regards,
    A Rehder

    Reply to this comment

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