Fish oil has a reputation for aiding heart health, containing the essential omega fatty acids that have shown to reduce blood pressure and help diminish risks for heart disease. But is a daily dose as powerful as the health experts lead us to believe? It's no surprise that the population tends to follow their doctor's orders, but are they telling us the truth? Our own Dr. Michael Donaldson, PhD, has completed several dozens of clinical intervention studies with the Hallelujah Diet team over the last 20 years. Last week, during our June webinar "Fish Oil: Scam, Panacea, or Something Else?" he covered the truth about fish oil, how it correlates with heart health and its impact on other diseases and conditions debilitating our population.
Fish Oil and Cardiovascular Health
While most associate fish oil with positive cardiovascular health, a recent study may prove this to be untrue. Donaldson reported that the meta-analysis of 78,000 subjects in 10 trial found that omega-3 fatty acids didn't correlate with fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or any major vascular events.
"Is the reputation of fish oil tarnished?"
"In other words, fish oil is as good as a placebo," according to Donaldson, based on these findings.
Does this mean the reputation of fish oil is tarnished? Not necessarily. Donaldson stated that the negative results were in part due to low doses of EPA and DHA, low bioavailability in oil, short trials and sick subjects taking a daily cocktail of heart medicines. All of these factors have an impact on how well fish oil works.
Another factor is looking at omega-3 levels that already exist in the body. Donaldson likes to look at the omega-3 index, which measures the amount of EPA and DHA in red blood cell membrane before taking a supplement. If measured in the desirable section of the scale, you'll have good outcomes with fish oil.
Fish Oil and Its Impact on Cognitive Function, Cancer, Inflammation and Pregnancy
When used properly, fish oil doesn't only impact heart health – it can also lead to increased stable brain functioning. Following a prospective study of Alzheimer's and dementia cases titled the "Framingham Heart Study," the researchers studied nearly 900 people without dementia. At the nine-year follow-up point, 99 new cases of dementia had developed. Of those who prioritized omega-3 fatty acids, there was a 47 percent lower risk of developing dementia.
In fact, in one randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial the daily use of 2.2 grams of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids prevented brain shrinkage and improved brain function. Clearly these omega 3 fats are critical for brain structure and function.
In his other research, Donaldson found multiple studies that found omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce risk for colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and hepatocarcinoma. DHA supplements also have an impact on those living with rheumatoid arthritis, decreasing cases of tender and swollen joints.
Additionally, Donaldson reviewed a meta-analysis of 9 DHA-pregnancy trials to understand if fish oil could impact women during the gestational period and how it may affect the child after birth. The research stated that DHA reduced risk for any pre-term birth by 17 percent and early preterm birth before 34 weeks by 58 percent, and suggested that women who took DHA during pregnancy are less likely to have postpartum depression and more likely to have full-term babies with fewer allergies.
Based on Dr. Donaldson's research and testing, fish oil does indeed come with an array of benefits. When used correctly, fish oil can benefit cardiovascular wellness, help maintain brain health, allow the body to build a strong defense system when facing cancer, reduce inflammation in the body and prove very important for women during pregnancy. It is the most pure, economical and sustainable way to obtain your daily EPA and DHA while following the Hallelujah Diet.
To use fish oil to your best ability, Donaldson recommends taking two grams of omega-3 fats per day and using the omega-3 index testing guide to ensure your body is getting the best dose based on your personal needs. Donaldson also noted that plant-based omega 3 fats do not give the same benefits as pre-formed DHA from fish oil.
Consider our Professional Strength DHA, an ultra-refined fish oil product that meets all International Fish Oil Standards program approval guidelines. This product shows no evidence of mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead or nickel and has shown to exceed the label claim for omega-3 fatty acid content. This product contains high concentrations of EPA and DHA.