Fish Oil is a Myth

myths, facts, solutions

Two of the most common supplements on the pop culture market these days are Omega-3’s and Krill Oil.  Touted as being the answer to heart disease, arthritis, and cholesterol; these fish oil supplements make up nearly 1/8 of the $15 billion American supplement industry (Consumer Report, 2009).  Americans aren’t the only ones on this band wagon.   A study in 2010 indicated that nearly one of every 4 Australians take this by gel cap every day (Harvard Review,2011).  So, the question becomes:  Are they REALLY that good?  Keep reading to understand the myths, the facts, and what to do.

Myth:  Fish oil can prevent heart disease.

Fact:  According to the analysis of 14 controlled trials in which nearly 20,500 patients with a history of heart disease were randomly assigned to take Omega-3 supplements or placebo, those taking the fatty acid pills had about the same rates of heart disease, death from heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and stroke as those on placebo (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012).

Solution:  Most everyone from nutritionists to doctors agree that a balanced diet with limited salt intake combined with regular exercise is – as always – the best way to heal a heart.  Additionally, add foods high in potassium such as yogurt and bananas can be beneficial.

Myth:  Fish oil acts as a lubricant for the joints.

Fact:  Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory agent.  Therefore, it can aid in the reduction of joint pain by reducing the swelling enough so toxin can be released (Harris, 2011).

Solution:  Including fish oil into one’s diet cannot harm the joint, but understand it does not lubricate them or prevent joint diseases.  If you are truly interested in joint health, fish oil can help.  However, so can other things:  Cherry juice has been used successfully for centuries to relieve arthritis pain.  Mangoes, brazil nuts, and asparagus provide protective anti-oxidants.

Myth:  Fish oil supplements are good for you.

Fact:  Fish oil supplements, of all kinds, contain only around 25% of the necessary compounds needed to be of any benefit to the body.  Even the highest quality fish oil supplements are comprised of fish by-products (left-over fish parts) and are usually rancid by the time they are used in production (Nelson,2014)

Solution:  Save your money.  The recommended daily intake of Omega-3 is about 500 mg and can be obtained more safely from a mindful diet.   The foods highest in Omega-3 are:  Pasture-raised animals, egg yolks, flax, walnuts, and SOME cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, and tuna) (Foster, 2009).